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The University of Illinois Springfield Athletics Department announced today a change in leadership of its cross country and track and field program. Emmons King has been promoted as the Interim Head Coach for the 2022-23 school year, and former head coach Tyler Pence will assist the program as the assistant coach.
"I want to thank Coach Pence for putting his trust in me and teaching me everything I know," said King. "He has been an amazing mentor and an even better friend. I am very excited to keep promoting our great team culture and winning environment." 
King has been a member of the UIS program since 20018. He was a runner for the Prairie Stars for three seasons, and served as the assistant coach for the 2021-22 campaign.
In his first season on the coaching staff, King helped UIS to a successful campaign, including a second-place finish for the men's program at the GLVC Cross Country Championships. During the men's cross country campaign, four runners earned all-GLVC honors, including GLVC Runner of the Year Blake Jones and GLVC Freshman of the Year Chris Cherry. Jones and Wyatt McIntyre also earned all-region and advanced to the NCAA Division II National Championships. On the women's side, King trained Taryn Christy, who was all-GLVC, all-region, and also advanced to the national race.
King also helped the Prairie Stars have five all-conference performers during the 2022 track seasons, including runner-up finishes in the men's indoor distance medley relay and the men's outdoor 10,000m. The track program set 10 school records during the indoor and outdoor seasons.
Off the course, both the UIS men's and women's cross country and track and field programs earned the GLVC Team Academic All-Conference award. A total of 25 student-athletes were honored with the GLVC Individual Academic All-Conference honor.
While at UIS, King competed in 10 cross country meets and 15 track events over his three seasons. In track, he had six top-five finishes, and qualified for two GLVC Championship track meets. Since joining the cross country program in 2018, he has helped the team finish third or better in every conference meet.
Pence recently completed his third year as the UIS head coach, in which time he built one of the top distance program in the NCAA Midwest Region. He helped the program earn 16 all-GLVC honors in cross country, and nine in track and field. He coached six individual GLVC Championships, three GLVC Runner of the Year honors, and 10 national qualifiers.
Pence has recently started the Springfield Fire Department Fire Academy, but will still work with the UIS cross country and track and field program. He will be in his seventh year with the Prairie Stars in 2022-23.

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