Paul Sargent was appointed Franklin College’s men’s and women’s cross country coach in 1994. He later was named head coach of both the Grizzlies men’s and women’s track and field teams in 1998.
During his tenure, Sargent guided Franklin's first national champion in Anna Murdock '15 in the 800-meter run during the 2015 NCAA Division III Outdoor Track and Field National Championships. Murdock was a semifinalist for the 2015 NCAA Woman of the Year Award for her successful athletic, academic, and community service work. She was the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference's Most Valuable Player in cross country, indoor track, and outdoor track during the 2015-16 season.
Sargent led Franklin to its first HCAC women’s track and field championship in 2010 and sweeping the 2008 cross country team titles. Thosee team titles earned him HCAC Coach of the Year honors for both the men’s and women’s crowns. Three Grizzly male runners and four Franklin female competitors automatically qualified for All-HCAC honors by finishing among the top 12 individuals in the competition.
Sargent guided the women's track and field team to the 2015 HCAC Indoor Track and Field Championships. He earned HCAC Coach of the Year accolades following the championship meet. Sargent led Murdock to All-America honors in the 800-meter run during the indoor track season. The women's track and field team took top honors at the 2015 Indiana Division III Outdoor Championships and later added a runner-up finish at the HCAC Outdoor Track and Field Championships. Murdock concluded her collegiate career by winning the school's first national title by winning the 800-meter title.
Murdock earned Female HCAC Most Valuable Player Awards in Outdoor Track and Field (2013, 2014, 2015), Indoor Track and Field (2015), and Cross Country (2015). She was named the Female Indiana Division III MVP (2014 and 2015). Murdock also was a two-time All-American (2015 indoor, 2015 outdoor).
In 2015, Franklin hosted the HCAC Cross Country Championships at the Blue River Memorial Park in Shelbyville with Sargent's leadership.
He previously was voted the league’s top coach for guiding his men’s team to a second-place finish in the 2006 HCAC Championships, which was at that time the best ever finish in the history of men’s cross country at Franklin.
Sargent followed that success in the 2007 season with a second-place finish by both his men’s and women’s teams in the conference meets. Another Franklin record also was set in the 2007 season, this time on the women’s side (for lowest team score) with three runners finishing with all-league honors at the HCAC championships.
Also during his coaching career, Sargent coached All-America athlete Robyn Burns ’06 to two consecutive berths in the NCAA Division III national women’s cross country championship event and to the NCAA III track and field nationals. Burns also earned the HCAC’s Most Valuable Runner honor in 2003 along with All-HCAC honors in cross country for four consecutive years.
In the spring of 2006, Sargent led the men’s track and field team to a second-place finish in the 2006 HCAC Championships, the best ever finish in the history of men’s track and field at FC.
Moreover, Sargent coached standout athlete, Brandon Welti ’09, who earned the HCAC Most Valuable Track Athlete honor and was named to the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association’s 2008 Division III All-Academic Track and Field team, the first Grizzly men’s track athlete to be honored as such. He also guided Heather Waterman ’11, who was the HCAC Most Valuable Track Athlete in 2009, 2010 and 2011; earned the HCAC Most Valuable Runner trophy in cross country in 2009 and 2010; was voted to the All-District V Second Team in the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America program and was voted to the Capital One CoSIDA Academic All-America Second Team in 2011.
During the 2010-11 academic year, the Franklin women’s cross country team was one of the 167 U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Division III Scholar Teams of the Year, marking the eighth consecutive year the Grizzlies program achieved the honor. One of six HCAC members to boast of a Scholar Team, Franklin posted a team grade-point average of 3.21.
In addition, FC was one of 111 schools to make the list of USTFCCCA Scholar Teams for women’s track and field in ’10-11, sporting a team GPA of 3.14 and earning a national spot for the sixth straight year.
Sargent is a 1991 graduate of Franklin College, where he served as director of intramural sports for one year. A two-year letterman in cross country, Sargent graduated with a degree in sociology and religion. He and his wife, Nicci, and two children reside in Franklin.