Chris Mitchell, Interim Director / Varsity Hunt Seat Coach

Chris Mitchell joined Albion College as hunt seat coach in September 2022 after serving as head coach of the Randolph College WildCats in Lynchburg, VA for seven years and, prior to that, a 13-year tenure at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y. Mitchell was named Interim Director of the Held Equestrian Center in November 2023.

Mitchell’s time at Randolph saw three National Qualifiers, including one National Champion and while at Cornell, he led many members to the regional and zone championships. His teams claimed 27 collegiate horse show team crowns, including four Ivy League titles. Mitchell led his team to a brand new level during the fall of 2011, guiding the group to six invitational titles in eight meets, already matching a school record for victories in a season (six show titles in 2003-04). Mitchell’s teams won a pair of shows (Skidmore, Hartwick) en route to a regional reserve champion showing in 2009-10. His 2010-11 team won its first-ever regular season regional championship after claiming four team blue ribbons during the season.

Prior to Cornell, Mitchell was previously an instructor and trainer at the Sleepy Hollow Country Club in Scarborough, N.Y., and was the barn manager and trainer for Lion Hill Farm in Easton, CT. During that time, he also served as an equestrian instructor for Sacred Heart University and was an assistant coach and instructor at Pace University. He coached one of his riders to a national championship in walk-trot equitation at the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association competition and had other riders place among the top 10 nationally in the novice flat, novice fences, intermediate fences and open levels.

Mitchell was a member of the NCAA steering committee for equestrian and is also a member of the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF), United States Hunter Jumper Association (USHJA), and a board member of the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA). Most recently, he served as Director of Jumper Programs for the U.S. Hunter Jumper Association.

He is a graduate of Longwood University in Farmville, VA, with a degree in business administration and marketing.

Carolyn Killewald '04, Business Manager

A headshot of a professor smiling at the camera.Carolyn Killewald is a 2004 graduate of Albion College and holds a B.A. in English. She was previously employed as a magazine editor for a trade association in Jackson, MI before being hired at the Held Equestrian Center in August, 2008. Killewald’s role at the Held Center includes managing budgets for the facility and varsity teams, planning events and projects, marketing, recruitment, accounts receivables, purchasing, and serving as a liaison between the Center, students, community members, and faculty/staff of Albion College. Killewald has spent many years at the Held Center growing a successful jumper schooling show series, and she manages the planning and execution of these events.

A lifetime equestrian, Killewald competed in the U.S. Pony Club and eventually placed her focus on dressage. She has competition experience in eventing and USDF recognized dressage shows and regional championships. When not in the office, she can often be found pitching in with barn chores, working with her own horse or cheering on her daughter, who also rides at the Held Center. Killewald currently resides in Concord, MI with her family.

Adam D’Agostino, Varsity Western Coach

A headshot of a professor in a cowboy hat.Adam V. D’Agostino, who has coached three American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) High Point Riders to Top Five finishes at the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA) National Championship, joined the Albion College Equestrian coaching staff in July, 2018. Since his arrival, the Western Equestrian Team has earned the 2019 Zone 6, Region 4 High Point Team, with several riders advancing to the Semi-Finals level. D’Agostino also serves at the IHSA Nationals as a Steward and a member of the Western Horse Selection Committee.

Previously, D’Agostino was an Associate Lecturer in Equine Business Management and Business Management and Head Western Coach of the Equestrian Team at Cazenovia (N.Y.) College. D’Agostino coached the 2017 National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) Individual Open Reining National Champion, who also placed third in the AQHA High Point Rider competition and advanced the Western Team to AQHA Trophy competition at the 2017 IHSA Nationals. Under D’Agostino’s direction, Cazenovia has advanced riders to the NRHA Derby Collegiate Cup and the AQHA World Show Collegiate Challenge.

A graduate of the University of Findlay, D’Agostino got his start in coaching as an intern with the Western Team that captured the 2010 IHSA National Championship. He also coached the junior varsity Western team for two seasons at Findlay.

As a collegiate rider, D’Agostino was a member of the Western teams that finished as the Reserve National Champion in 2008 and the National Champion in 2009. For Findlay, he was the National Champion in AQHA Trophy Team Advanced Western Horsemanship in 2008 and 2009.

A member of several equestrian organizations, including the AQHA Professional Horsemen’s Association and Markel American Paint Horse Association (APHA) Professional Horsemen’s Association, D’Agostino owns Empire Performance Horses, a business specializing in all-around performance horses for show competition. He has trained a number of national-level champions and year-end award winners. His career has given him the opportunity to work for distinguished AQHA Professional Horsemen Nancy Sue Ryan, Scott Jones and David Miller, as well as FEI Driving trainer, Darren Menkins.  Adam also judges Open and 4-H shows and provides clinics on a multitude of topics in the Western industry.

Katie Didier '15, Stable Manager

A professor wearing a zip up jacket.Katie Didier joined the Held Center staff in September 2017 as a groom and moved into her role as stable manager in January 2020. She is an integral part of the care and maintenance of all the horses that call the Held Center home. Katie holds a B.A. in Anthropology from Albion (class of 2015) and was a member of the varsity hunt seat team, competing both on the flat and over fences. She was also the secretary of the Equestrian Club as a student.

Katie grew up riding and showing hunters in her hometown of Fort Wayne, IN. When she is not busy with her duties at the barn, Katie enjoys competing in hunter/jumper shows and attending clinics. Katie also maintains a private horse named Dexter at the Held Center. A retiree of the hunt seat lesson herd, Dexter was Katie’s favorite mount during her time as a student and she is happily enjoying him in his golden years!

Mary Kate Lippert, Assistant Stable Manager

(Photo and Bio coming SOON!)

Brandon Fuller, Grounds Manager

A headshot of a man in a black shirt.Brandon Fuller first began working in 2008 at the Held Equestrian Center working as a member of the part-time barn crew. In 2010, Fuller was promoted to the full-time position of assistant stable/grounds manager at the Center. He is responsible for maintaining the grounds and equipment at the facility, coordinating the hay baling operation, mowing and snow removal, and doing much of the general maintenance on the property. His experience working with and around horses is especially useful during much of his day-to-day work, and he often pitches in with barn chores and helps to drag and maintain the arenas.