Dr. Tim Sykes joined the Liberty coaching staff in January 2017 as an assistant track & field and cross country coach and was promoted to head cross country coach in January 2018.
Sykes, who coaches the Flames' men's distance runners, has overseen Azaria Kirwa's breakthrough performances during the past year. Kirwa ran the 5K at the 2017 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships and also clocked impressive times of 14:00.29 (5K) and 29:05.57 (10K) during the season. He then earned his first All-America honor with a 25th-place finish at the 2017 NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships. Sykes coached the men's cross country team to a seventh-place finish at the 2017 NCAA Division I Southeast Regional Championships, the Flames' best regional performance since 2012.
Sykes, who began his coaching career as a graduate assistant for the Ohio track & field teams in 2004, returned to the Bobcats as a volunteer assistant for cross country and track & field in 2013. In July 2015, Sykes was promoted to assistant women's cross country and track & field coach, taking over all coaching duties for the Bobcats' women's distance runners. He served in that role before coming to Liberty.
In between his stints at Ohio, Sykes spent eight years coaching in the Commonwealth, culminating with the 2012 season, when he served as VMI's head cross country and assistant track & field coach.
Prior to that, Sykes was a volunteer assistant at VMI (2004-07), a volunteer assistant at Virginia Tech (2007-10) and an assistant cross country and track & field coach at VMI (2010-12).
A native of Amanda, Ohio, Sykes competed in cross country and track & field at Rio Grande from 1999-2003. He then completed his final year of eligibility at Ohio (2003-04).
Sykes, a USA Track & Field Level I Coach, has also been active in education. He was the coordinator of UVA-Wise's health and physical education program during the 2012-13 academic year. Sykes has also taught a variety of college courses at Ohio, VMI and UVA-Wise.
Sykes has earned three degrees, beginning with a bachelor's in multi-age physical education licensure from Rio Grande in 2003. The following year, he completed a master's in recreation, sport sciences & pedagogy: coaching education at Ohio.
In 2011, Sykes graduated from Virginia Tech with a Ph.D. in education, curriculum and instruction: health promotion & sports performance. His dissertation was entitled, "The Effect of Training Protocols on Satisfaction and Performance of Collegiate Distance Runners."