Sept. 6, 2011
CONWAY - The Coastal Carolina Department of Athletics is mourning the death of Terah Kipchiris, a Hall of Fame cross country and track & field performer while with the Chanticleers from 2002-05. Kipchiris was involved in a serious auto accident on July 9, 2011, in Kansas City, Kan., and had been in a coma, listed in critical condition, until his passing last Wednesday (Aug. 31) night.
The Coastal Carolina Department of Athletics, along with the men's and women's cross country/track & field teams, will hold a memorial service for Kipchiris on Sept. 17 at Coastal Carolina University's Lackey Chapel. The service will be after the men's and women's seventh annual Coastal Carolina Cross Country Invitational/Big South Preview, held at Quail Creek Golf Course. After a moment of silence in Kipchiris' honor, the men's race will begin at 8:30 am and the women will follow at 9:15 am. The memorial service will then begin at 11:30 am in the Lackey Chapel.
Kipchiris,31, was inducted into the CCU Sasser Athletics Hall of Fame on Nov. 12, 2010, as he was the first Coastal Carolina male cross country/track athlete to qualify for the NCAA's, competing twice in the NCAA Cross Country Championships and once in the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships in the steeplechase.
Kipchiris had been living in Kansas City, Kan., and working as a clinical psychologist case-manager of mentally challenged children.
"I am very saddened by the news of Terah's passing," said Jeff Jacobs, CCU head men's cross country/track & field coach. "I was very fortunate to be able to work with Terah for his senior year here, which culminated in his qualification for the NCAA National Championship in the 3,000m steeplechase. I have told the stories of his great achievements many times to the athletes on our teams and I will continue to use his example of effort and success to overcome tremendous odds both in running and in life. Terah's fighting spirit will forever live with the men's cross country and track & field programs at Coastal Carolina University."
He was the 2002 and '03 Big South Cross Country Champion, earning all-conference honors three times (2002, '03 and '04) and NCAA All-Southeast Region twice (2002 and '03).
During the outdoor track season, Kipchiris won the Big South steeplechase in 2004 and '05 as well as setting the league record in the event with a time of 8:48.42. He additionally was the Big South Champion in the 5,000 and 10,000 meters in 2004, setting the school standard in both events with times of 14:22.10 and 29:38.62, respectively.
"Obviously, all whose paths crossed with Terah are saddened by this news," said Andrew Allden, former CCU head men's cross country/track & field coach and person who recruited Kipchiris. "Everyone who had the privilege to know Terah knows what a fun-loving person he was and how much of a joy he was to be around. He would crack up with team with his jokes and laughter, but also knew when to be serious and was well-respected by all his teammates. As a college athlete, he was exceptional. As a person, what made him so special was how he took such special interest in people's running to help get them better and how he cared about their lives and well-being."
In addition to his athletics honors, Kipchiris was a United States Cross Country Coaches Association All-Academic Team selection in 2003, while earning Big South Cross Country All-Academic Team honors twice (2003 and '04). Kipchiris graduated from Coastal Carolina with a 3.7 GPA in psychology.
"Terah always represented Coastal Carolina with excellence," said Alan Connie, CCU head women's cross country/track & field coach. "He excelled in the classroom and put our men's distance program on the map both regionally and nationally with his outstanding performances. Terah had a smile that lit up a room and always made people feel happy to be in his company. That was no more evident than last fall at his Hall of Fame induction. He will be sorely missed by all whose lives he touched."