Jon Clemins

Collegiate Archery Finds Its Trajectory at Rio

As an archery coach, Jonathan Clemins has traveled to nearly every continent for archery-related tournaments and events. When he visited the University of Rio Grande's campus for the first time, he knew his career as a college coach had finally hit the bull's eye.

"I can't think of a campus any more perfect for collegiate archery than the University of Rio Grande," he said. "I don't think there's a campus anywhere in the United States that can offer students the convenience and the access of walking out of their dorm room and being within a five-minute walk of one of any of the three archery ranges that we're going to have here on campus."

Clemins joined the university to build a competitive collegiate archery program from scratch. He will also maintain his current duties as the Team USA National Head Coach for the Paralympic Archery Team. Clemins can’t wait to get a team in place, and he's not alone.

"We are so excited to introduce collegiate archery to Southeast Ohio," said Jeff Lanham, Athletic Director. "Archery is a very popular sport among our youth, and now they can continue to enjoy their passion at the University of Rio Grande. We are very fortunate to have Coach Clemins as our head archery coach. His knowledge and contacts in the archery world are second to none."

Like most kids who grow up in rural Appalachia, Coach Clemins learned archery through hunting.

"I started in the backyard with my dad and grandpa learning how to bow hunt," he said. "Target archery wasn't a thing in my family. I never knew it was a sport. By high school, I became obsessed with shooting my bow. I got to the point where I liked shooting my bow and getting better than sitting in a tree stand hunting."

After high school, Clemins pursued a bachelor's degree in forensic science and a master's in criminal justice. During his ten years in law enforcement, he coached archery at Marshall University, Cabell-Midland High School and the University of Pikeville. During that time, Clemins coached a paralympic gold medalist, three world champions, 18 national champions, 51 national podium finishes and four Team USA international athletes.

Despite his success, Clemins is most enthusiastic about getting his new team on the field.

"It's not hard to sell the campus to recruits," he said. "The campus speaks for itself. I'm really excited to see what we look like in the fall.

The University of Rio Grande's archery team will compete as part of USA Archery. Since all college archery falls under one umbrella, every school competes under the same category. That means Rio can compete nationally with colleges and universities of all sizes, including UCLA and Texas A&M.

If you have yet to experience collegiate archery, Coach Clemins says you're in for a treat.

"I've been all around the world coaching archery, and I've never had more fun than at a collegiate archery event," he said. "The atmosphere, with all the teams cheering, is an incredible experience. It will be the most fun anyone ever has shooting a bow."