USTFCCCA Coaches Hall of Fame Class of 2014 Announced
By Kyle Terwillegar, USTFCCCA
August 6, 2014
NEW ORLEANS – The U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) announced Wednesday the six coaches who will be inducted into the USTFCCCA Coaches Hall of Fame as the Class of 2014.
Chris Daymont, Tom Donnelly, Joey Haines, Lance Harter, Ed Nuttycombe and the late Johnny Thomas will be enshrined in the Hall of Fame for their significant impacts not only on the countless student-athletes who competed under their tutelage but also on the sports of track & field and cross country as a whole.
These six will be honored at the 2014 USTFCCCA Hall of Fame induction ceremony on Monday, December 15, at the USTFCCCA Convention in Phoenix, Ariz.
Started in 1995, the USTFCCCA Coaches Hall of Fame exists to recognize coaches who have brought great distinction to themselves, to their institutions and to the sports of cross country & track & field. Each of the honorees exemplifies the qualities of dedication to the sport, leadership and passion for their profession that serve as an inspiration to coaches everywhere in the sport.
The full USTFCCCA Coaches Hall of Fame and information on all of its past inductees can be found here.
Since forming the St. Olaf women’s cross country team in 1976 with just five student-athletes, head coach Chris Daymont has been the constant that connects a tradition of more than 1,000 women who have come through the program since.
Not only one of the nation’s most prominent female coaches but one of the most successful regardless of gender, Daymont remains at the helm of what she has developed into one of the MIAC’s winningest successful programs after 33 years going on 34.
Her squads have been to the NCAA Championships 19 times, finishing as high as fourth in 1999 among 12 total top-10 team finishes. In guiding the Oles to those national successes, she has mentored 33 student-athletes to 81 total All-America honors.
St. Olaf’s national success under Daymont has been built on the foundation of excellence at the conference level. During her tenure, the Oles have claimed nine MIAC cross country team titles, including five consecutive wins 1998 through 2002 and three straight titles from 1993 to 1995.
Her squad also won the program’s first MIAC title in 1986, her first year back after a hiatus from St. Olaf spent at Bloomsburg and Macalester lasting from 1981 through 1986.
She also served as the head women’s track & field coach through 2010 when she announced her retirement from the winter and spring seasons. Twenty-nine of her student-athletes combined for a total of 70 All-America certificates with two individual national champions. Her teams finished runners-up at the indoor MIAC Championships seven times and at the outdoor MIAC Championships five more.
Beyond St. Olaf, she facilitated the Minnesota State High School Championships’ move to St. Olaf’s campus, has served as the meet director for several championship events (1982 AIAW track & field championships; 2002 and 2007 NCAA cross country championships) and has been a pioneer in water training as a distance and middle-distance clinician around the region.
She was inducted into St. Olaf’s Athletics Hall of Fame in 2013 alongside her daughter Megan, who ran for her both in cross country and track & field.
Daymont is an associate professor in the exercise science department at St. Olaf, specializing in exercise physiology.
While Tom Donnelly of Haverford has said the impact a coach makes on a student-athlete is "maybe one percent," the long-running thread of successes his Haverford men’s track & field and cross country squads have achieved during his 40-year-and-counting career as the head coach of the Fords says otherwise.
Since taking over at the small liberal arts school of little more than 1,000 students in 1974, Donnelly has become one of the most influential distance coaches in the country. Even though numerous world-class athletes have trained under his tutelage over the years – including sub-3:50 milers Marcus O’Sullivan and Sydney Maree – Donnelly has remained loyal to the program he built in Haverford.
That program-building culminated in 2010 with his cross country team winning the school’s first-ever national team title, led by individual national champion Anders Hulleberg and five All-Americans. The team title is part of a streak of 29 consecutive team appearances at the NCAA Championships, and a overall total of 33 team appearances.
Hulleberg was the second national cross country champion Donnelly coached, along with Seamus McElligott in 1990, and his All-Americans were among 32 different men who have earned the honor in cross country during his tenure.
He has been equally as successful on the track as on the trails, with 66 men having earned outdoor All-America honors and 59 earning the award indoors – including 15 outdoor event champions and 10 indoor champions.
His teams have dominated at the conference level both indoors and out. Since the Centennial Conference was formed in 1994, Donnelly’s Fords have claimed 18 of 21 outdoor track & field team titles and 17 of 21 indoor team crowns.
Those victories were powered by the largest number of event champions in conference history. His men have combined for 106 event wins at the Centennial Conference Outdoor Championships, and 130 indoors.
Before beginning his legendary Haverford coaching career, he contributed to the track & field and cross country legacy of another historic Pennsylvania institution in Villanova. He was a member of a Wildcats program from 1966 through 1969 that won three-straight NCAA cross country team titles and another in track & field.
Southeast Missouri, Austin Peay, Lipscomb
Whether it be the NAIA, Division II, or Division I, no matter where his programs competed for titles during his 38-year head coaching career, one aspect remained constant for Joey Haines: he produced winning student-athletes and winning teams.
He retired from coaching in 2008 to conclude a 26-year tenure at Southeast Missouri. Prior to arriving at SEMO he previously served as the head coach for both men and women at Austin Peay from 1978-82 and his alma mater Lipscomb from 1971-78 – where his coaching career began as an assistant in 1969-70.
The time in between was filled with nearly four decades of teams and student-athletes that achieved at the highest levels. Haines’ Southeast Missouri squads of the mid-eighties through the early nineties – when the school still competed at the Division II level – were particularly successful. At the conference level, his men’s and women’s teams combined for 24 MIAA titles during the indoor and outdoor seasons.
Haines led his men’s team to the 1985 NCAA Division II indoor team title in the meet’s inaugural season, and would finish runner-up in 1991 in SEMO’s final year in Division II. All-told, his men’s team recorded five top-four indoor finishes and a pair of national runner-up showings at the NCAA Division II Outdoor Champions while claiming 17 individual titles between the two seasons.
Additionally, he coached an NAIA champion in Jim Bloomingburg in 1976 at 440 yards during his time at Lipscomb.
His women’s teams were equally successful on the national level with three finishes among the top four teams indoors and a fourth-place finish outdoors in 1991, powered by 10 national champions along the way.
Though Southeast Missouri stepped up from Division II to Division I and the Ohio Valley Conference in the early nineties, Haines’ teams kept achieving. His men’s teams have won six OVC titles between indoor and outdoor since 1995 with more than 100 conference champions – including a national indoor champion at 500 meters in 1994 – while his women’s program has racked up 14 OVC team crowns with another 100-plus conference champs.
Of those more than 200 combined conference titles, 17 have come in the javelin, the event in which Haines specialized while a student-athlete competing at Lipscomb in the sixties.
Beyond his collegiate accomplishments – which have earned him numerous honors including National Men’s Coach of the Year in 1987 among many others – he was named the U.S. Olympic Festival sprints coach in 1994 and was inducted into the Missouri Track & Cross Country Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2002.
Arkansas, Cal Poly
A legendary figure in the distance running community for his conquest of Division II cross country before building Arkansas into the present-day perennial SEC contender it is today, Lance Harter has achieved success matched by few others during his forty-year-and-counting career.
Before embarking on his current 24-year tenure as the leader of the Razorback women’s cross country and track & field programs – annually among the nation’s best in both sports – Harter amassed a Division II legacy at Cal Poly of historic proportions. His teams earned 13 national titles between cross country and track & field, which still stands as the fifth most ever by a Division II coach in any sport.
Shortly after taking over in San Obispo in 1979, Harter transformed the Mustang women’s program into a juggernaut. His women finished tied for 10th at the 1979 AIAW Cross Country Championships amongst all collegiate women’s teams before claiming the small colleges AIAW track & field title the next school year in 1981 – a sign of many things to come.
The following school year began the era of women’s NCAA sports for the first time ever, and it was an era dominated by Harter’s Mustangs. Following a runner-up finish in the inaugural 1981 edition, his ladies won eight consecutive national titles from 1982 through 1989 with individual wins in four of those seasons. That streak has been matched only once in Division II women’s cross country history by Adams State.
The success carried over to the spring, where his Cal Poly women won five NCAA Division II outdoor track & field team titles, including the first three editions of the championships in 1982 through 1984 – four national crowns in a row when counting the AIAW title – and two more in his final two seasons in San Obispo in 1989 and 1990. Interspersed between were three runner-up finishes from 1985-87.
His women won 30 individual event national championships during that span – including an all-time DII-best seven by Teena Colebrook (800 and 1500 meters) – and swept the CCAA conference cross country and track & field titles from 1981-82 through 1989-90.
In 1990 he made the move to Division I Arkansas, which very shortly thereafter made its own transition from the Southwest Conference to the Southeastern Conference. Immediately his teams won the SEC Cross Country Championships in each of their five seasons from 1991-95 and have hardly let up since. His squad would rattle off another streak of five straight from 1998-2002, three more in a row from 2006-08, and most recently another in 2013 for a total of 14 – winning more than half the SEC meets since his arrival.
His cross country teams have finished runner-up nationally four times, including three years in a row from 1991 through 1993, and his women have combined for 25 All-America honors. He also has 17 regional titles to his credit.
On the track, his women have won eight SEC Championships between the indoor and outdoor seasons – most recently in 2014 – fueled by 122 event champions. Nationally, his indoor teams finished as high as third with three more fourth-place podium finishes, and another fourth-place team showing outdoors.
In addition to numerous national and regional coaching awards accumulated through the years, Harter has been inducted into the Arkansas Hall of Honor, the Mt. SAC Relays Hall of Fame and the Cal Poly Hall of Fame. Internationally, he has served as an assistant coach for Team USA at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona and the head coach of the United States’ 1999 World Championships team.
In a conference as steeped in track & field history and tradition as the Big Ten, to hold the distinction of being the winningest coach in league history is something special. Special is also an apt way to describe Ed Nuttycombe’s 30-year tenure at the helm of Wisconsin’s men’s track & field program.
From the moment he accepted his first head coaching job in 1984 through the day he stepped down in 2013, he spent all 30 years building a Wisconsin program that would dominate the Big Ten track & field landscape.
Of the 60 total Big Ten track & field team titles awarded during his three decades at the helm in Madison, 26 went to the Badgers – 13 indoors and 13 outdoors – for a total greater than each of the next three teams combined.
His Badgers in 2007 accomplished what no other Big Ten team in history had ever done when it won an NCAA Division I Indoor team championship, the first in the history of Wisconsin track & field. It was preceded by a third-place team finish in 2005 and followed by another third-place showing in Nuttycombe’s final season in 2013.
Twelve men won indoor and/or outdoor track & field national titles during Nuttycombe’s tenure, and his men finished as high as fourth outdoors to tie the program’s all-time best NCAA finish from the 1930s. All told, his athletes went on to earn 187 All-America honors.
His squad won the outdoor Big Ten team title in his second year in 1986, but nearly a decade would pass before Nuttycombe’s Badgers truly hit their stride with three-in-a-row both from 1995-97 and 2001-03, four in a row from 2004-07 and final one in 2012.
His indoor squads followed a similar pattern with league crowns in 1986, 1995-97, 2000-01, six in a row from 2003-08 and one in his 2013 indoor finale.
Along the way he guided 165 student-athletes to event championships at the Big Ten meet, with 10 Big Ten Athletes of the Year, 13 Athletes of the Championships and four Freshmen of the Year.
Prior to taking over in Madison, Nuttycombe graduated from Virginia Tech in 1977 as a four-year letterwinner in the pole vault and decathlon. He served at Northern Illinois as an assistant while earning his master’s degree until 1980. He then became an assistant at Wisconsin – beginning a journey at Wisconsin that would ultimately lead to this induction.
Few individuals have dedicated their lives to not only developing track & field and cross country, but using the sports in their hometowns to develop outstanding young men and women, so totally as did the late long-time Southern University coach Johnny Thomas.
A lifetime resident of Baton Rouge, La., Thomas devoted much of his adult life, until he lost his battle with cancer in June of 2008, to coaching high-achieving teams and student-athletes at Southern for 20 years, while also opening the world of track & field up to youth and high school student-athletes throughout the region.
All the way until his death he remained the head coach of the track & field and cross country programs at Southern, the school at which he competed as a standout sprinter in the early 1960s and from which he graduated with his bachelor’s and master’s degrees – a testament to the "never-give-up" attitude he instilled in each of his student-athletes throughout the years.
Those student-athletes – many of whom were walk-ons who developed and flourished under Thomas’ tutelage – followed his example to 45 Southwest Athletic Conference titles between men’s and women’s track & field and cross country over the course of two decades.
In 1991 he led the Jaguar men to the program’s first outdoor league title in 20 years in 1991, kicking off a 13-year span that saw Southern win 11 outdoor team titles and eight indoor crowns. His women achieved similar success after breaking through for their first-ever SWAC title in 1994 and winning eight outdoor and nine indoor crowns through 2004.
His Jaguars achieved success on the national stage, as well. In addition to nine men and three women scoring at the NCAA Outdoor Championships during his tenure, he coached 2003 NCAA Division I indoor long jump champion Brian Johnson. Johnson later went on to represent Team USA at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Prior to taking over at Southern in 1987, he served as a volunteer coach for three years. He also coached Southern University Lab Laboratory girls to three consecutive high school state championships, and formed Baton Rouge’s Track Club for Girls and later the Baton Rouge Express Track Club for ages 7-18.