J.T. Thiesen is in his first season as an assistant coach at Azusa Pacific, working primarily with Cougar athletes in the horizontal jumps.
Prior to his current assignment, Thiesen had coached at Fresno Pacific starting in 1998, where he coached the sprints, hurdles, jumps, and multi events. Athletes under his tutelage broke 32 of the 42 indoor and outdoor school records in their events, and he coached nine individual national champions and 64 NAIA All-Americans. Thiesen helped guide triple jumper Ethan DeJongh, the 2011 NAIA Outdoor Track and Field Nationals Most Outstanding Performer, to qualify for the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials in the triple jump.
In 2013 alone, Thiesen coached athletes at Fresno Pacific to 14 National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA) All-American finishes, including five NCCAA national champions. Another notable athlete Thiesen coached was 2013 Capital One Academic All-American of the Year Milika Tuivanuavou, who also earned Pacific West Conference Field Athlete of the year and PacWest Track and Field Scholar-Athlete of the Year in 2013. Tuivanuavou also joined fellow Fijian and Fresno Pacific teammate Eugene Vollmer in breaking Fiji's national record in men's and women's triple jump. Thiesen continues to work with the Fijian duo, who recently competed in Russia at the World University Games, their second University Games qualification representing their nation.
Thiesen graduated cum laude from Fresno Pacific in 1996 with a liberal studies major and math minor, and he competed on the men's basketball and track and field teams. In his final year as an undergrad, he became the first male academic All-American in Fresno Pacific track and field history. He earned his teaching credential the following year and taught middle school math, science and computers for seven years before joining Fresno Pacific as a full time coach in 2004.
His previous roles within the athletics department at Fresno Pacific included athletic development, academic success, events director, athletics ministry, and instruction in the kinesiology department. Thiesen served as a summer tour director for Athletes in Action from 2006-11, and he and his wife have led groups of collegiate athletes and coaches using track and field as a platform for ministry to other countries.
Thiesen has served on the national team coaching staff for Fiji, and in 2009 he was the head coach for the Fiji national team at the Commonwealth Games in India.
Thiesen currently resides in Reedley. He enjoys fishing, long boarding, and playing table tennis with his wife of 14 years, Shannae.