Creighton Prep Varsity Cross Country Coach Fr. Robert Tillman, SJ Announces Retirement
OMAHA, Neb. – (Nov. 14, 2023) – Creighton Preparatory School’s cross country varsity head coach Fr. Robert Tillman, SJ has announced his retirement from the sport. He is ending his 27 year career with top accolades, having brought Prep’s cross country team to a state championship win this past season exactly 50 years after his first state win with the team in 1973. He was selected as the 2023 Metropolitan Conference Boys Cross Country Coach of the Year and is also scheduled to receive the Level IV Jerry Stine Family Milestone Award in July 2024 - the highest award that a coach can receive in the sport.
Dan Tietjen will be taking over the role as varsity head coach while continuing as track & field head coach.
“I have had the opportunity to meet some great young men and their parents while coaching cross country at Prep,” said Fr. Tillman. “I saw runners develop lifelong relationships from friendships that developed during cross country. I also learned the importance of building community.”
Fr. Tillman was an assistant coach to Fr. Ted Kalamaja, SJ ‘53 in 1970 and then took over as varsity head coach in 1971 while Fr. Kalamaja went on sabbatical for a year. He continued in that role for two seasons after Fr. Kalamaja’s return and led the team to conference championships in 1972 and 1973, qualifying for state each year. In 1973, Creighton Prep won its first state cross country championship.
Fr. Tillman assumed the varsity cross country head coaching position again in 2001 after Prep varsity coach Terri Loewens stepped down. He has held the position for the past 23 years.
“A coach is only as successful as his runners, and I have had some great runners,” said Fr. Tillman. “I see them continuing the great tradition of Prep cross country. I look forward to watching them develop and grow and build friendships, which I see already happening.”
Cross Country Coach Fr. Robert Tillman, SJ Career Record
26 years as Varsity Cross Country Coach
1 year as Assistant Varsity Cross Country Coach
- 3 state championships
- 1 state runner-up
- 6 state 3rd place finishes
- 22 teams qualified for state
- 9 district championships
- 11 district runner-ups
- 4 Metropolitan Conference championships
- 6 Metropolitan Conference runner-ups
- 2014 - named Nebraska Boys Cross Country Coach of the Year by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association
- 2022 - received the Nebraska Coaches Association Service Award for 25 years of coaching cross country
- 2023 - selected as the Metropolitan Conference Boys Cross Country Coach of the Year by the conference coaches
- Fr. Tillman has accumulated points to receive the Level IV Jerry Stine Family Milestone Award in July 2024