Honor, Loyalty Define USTFCCCA Hall of Fame Class of 2008

By Keith Nunez, USTFCCCA

August 11, 2008   

NEW ORLEANS – Eight coaching greats, whose combined coaching experience spans over three centuries, will be inducted into the USTFCCCA Hall of Fame, the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association announced on Monday.

The Class of 2008 consists of Charles Craig (California State University-Bakerfield), Kim Duyst (California State University-Stanislaus), Mark Guthrie (University Wisconsin-La Crosse), Dean Hayes (Middle Tennessee State University), Dave Murray (University of Arizona), Gary Pepin (University of Nebraska), Peter Tegen (Stanford University), and Alex Wilson (University of Notre Dame).

The Hall of Fame induction ceremony will be held Dec. 17 at the USTFCCCA annual convention in Phoenix, Ariz.

“On behalf of the USTFCCCA, it gives me great pleasure to welcome the 2008 inductees into the USTFCCCA Hall of Fame,” said Sam Seemes, CEO of the USTFCCCA. “We are once again privileged to have eight outstanding coaches join our previous Hall of Fame inductees.”

The eight coaches in this year’s class all have two things in common; commitment and loyalty to their program. The total number of years coached for the Class of 2008 is 305, which is an astounding number, spent tutoring and mentoring young student-athletes.

“These men and women in the ’08 class not only represent success but commitment as well, as they have contributed 305 total years of service to ensuring their student-athletes would succeed,” added Seemes.

In 1972, a young and eager Charles Craig accepted a job at Cal State Bakersfield as an Educational Opportunity Program Director. One year later, Craig decided to start a track and field program with university students and local recruits, and the rest, as they say, is history. Craig set the bar high for future Roadrunner coaches after a 31-year stint at the school. He coached a total of 195 All-Americans, 18 NCAA national champions, and two Olympic qualifiers while at CSU-Bakersfield.

Kim Duyst took over a struggling program in 1986 that lacked competitive drive, and most importantly respect. During Duyst’s tenure with the program, nearly every school record was broken and both cross country teams were ranked nationally. Her commitment to the program earned her a spot in the Cal State Stanislaus Hall of Fame. Over 70 student-athletes would go on to earn All-American honors.

Guthrie was a successful coach on the Division III level before moving on to Division I power Wisconsin-Madison in 2007. He won 22 Division III national championships while at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and one Division I national championship as an assistant with Wisconsin-Madison. Guthrie is an eight-time Division III National Coach of the Year and an 11-time Division III Regional Coach of the Year.

Hayes, who has nearly a half-century of coaching experience, began his career in 1959 and has become a staple in the Murfreesboro, Tenn. community. He is entering his 43rd year of service as the Middle Tennessee State head coach. Hayes is credited with opening MTSU track & field to minorities and with recruiting the school’s first international student-athletes.

Arizona’s Dave Murray spent 35 years as a coach for the Wildcats working his way up the chain of command after being hired as a graduate assistant in 1967. He was named the Head Men’s Cross Country Coach in 1968. He later spent eight years as the Head Men’s Cross Country and Track & Field coach at UA when he was promoted to the Director of Men’s and Women’s Cross Country and Track & Field in 1990. He retired from the university in 2002 but continues to coach. One of his present athletes Abdi Abdirahman, the 10,000-meter winner at the U.S. Olympic Trials, looks to medal at the 2008 Summer Olympic Games this week in Beijing, China.

Wisconsin Badger and Stanford Cardinal coach Peter Tegen is one of the most respected and honored coaches in cross country and track and field. His teams have won five NCAA Division I Women’s Cross Country Championships (1984-85 at Wisconsin, 2005-07 at Stanford), and the Division I Women’s Cross Country Coach of the Year award is named in his honor. The coach of 44 years (33 of them at the collegiate level) retired from full-time coaching at the end of the 2008 track and field season.

Alex Wilson followed a highly successful athletic career with an accomplished career as head coach of the Notre Dame men’s track and field and cross country teams for 22 years. Wilson led the Fighting Irish to 11 top-10 national finishes, including the 1957 NCAA Cross Country team title. Remembered yearly through an indoor track and field invitational that bears his name, Wilson established a strong record of success for future Notre Dame coaches.

The winningest track & field coach in Big Eight/Big 12 history, Gary Pepin enters his 29th year of service at the University of Nebraska. Pepin led the Husker women to the first two NCAA Division I Indoor Track and Field team titles in 1983 and 1984, and his record of success has continued into the 21st century. Since 2000, he has had 11 top-10 team finishes at national championships. In all, Pepin’s student-athletes have won 18 individual national titles, and his teams have compiled 16 Big 12 indoor and outdoor team championships.

All USTFCCCA members are eligible to nominate coaching peers for the Hall of Fame. A committee comprised of USTFCCCA members votes on which nominees will be enshrined each year.