USTFCCCA Mourns The Passing Of Dan Stimson
It is with a heavy heart that William & Mary announces the recent passing of Hall of Fame coach Dan Stimson. Stimson, who first came to W&M in the summer of 1986, served as the Tribe’s first Director of Track & Field for 25 years until 2011, before spending an additional three years as the assistant coach for throwing events and another three as a volunteer assistant. Stimson passed away from natural causes at MCV in Richmond, surrounded by family and friends.
"Dan Stimson’s success as a track & field coach was stunning," noted William & Mary President Taylor Reveley. "The good he did for his athletes as students and W&M alumni was also extraordinary. And he himself displayed great courage and grace in the face of adversity. Dan will be sorely missed at William & Mary."
"It’s difficult to put into words what Coach Stimson meant to so many," said current Director of Track & Field and Cross Country, and former student-athlete under Stimson at W&M, Alex Heacock ’09. "He had the biggest heart of anyone I’ve ever met, and had such a kind, joyful, and unbreakable spirit that was evident to everyone he encountered. I am a better person and coach because he was in my life, and that’s a common theme for the hundreds of student-athletes he coached throughout the years. Dan’s legacy won’t be defined by the many championships his teams won, but by the everlasting impact he’s made in the lives of countless people."
During his 25-year tenure as Director of Track & Field, Stimson’s teams combined for 49 Colonial Athletic Association titles. If the Tribe’s cross country and track and field teams were considered a school by themselves, Stimson’s teams would have ranked in a tie for third overall behind only James Madison (64) and the rest of W&M’s teams (53). His athletes also achieved remarkable individual success, with 64 All-American performances and one Olympic appearance. The Tribe also totaled 90 CAA athlete awards (MVPs, Athletes of the Year, and Rookies of the Year) during his Directorship. In 2003-04, W&M became the first (and to date only) school in CAA history to win all four conference titles in a single school year, a feat it would repeat in 2012-13.
Academic success was not neglected either, with W&M student-athletes putting together an enviable resume for any athletics team at any school. The Tribe won a total of 47 team academic awards from the national coaches’ associations, and in the first 10 years of the CAA Scholar-Athlete of the Year program, Stimson’s athletes won 22 of 40 sport awards and two Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year awards (chosen from across all sports). Three of W&M’s six total Rhodes Scholars had ties to the Tribe track team – J.R. Deshazo ’89, Andrew Zawacki ’94, and Eileen Cardillo ’99 – as well as a Marshall Scholarship won by Danielle Sepulveda ’93 and 10 Academic All-America awards. Stimson’s athletes also earned 36 elections to Phi Beta Kappa, and 17 won either the Martha Barksdale or Bruce Davidson Awards, given to the top female (Barksdale) and male (Davidson) student-athletes in each rising senior class at W&M.
"Dan Stimson was an extraordinary technical Track & Field coach with a warm, engaging, humble, and caring personality who was committed to the success of his student-athletes in competitions and the classroom," said former W&M Athletics Director Terry Driscoll, who worked with Stimson for 22 years. "He epitomized the coaching values of William & Mary Athletics. As the Director of the Tribe men’s and women’s track and field teams he led both programs to national recognition, athletically and academically, with outstanding team and individual performances while always maximizing the development of his student-athletes and his assistant coaches. He was courageous facing very difficult physical challenges, and always positive with his wonderful sense of humor. Dan was loved and respected by everyone who knew him. We will miss him greatly."
Another hallmark of the national recognition that Stimson brought to W&M was as a developer of great coaches. While he was recognized himself on several occasions, including CAA Coach of the Year honors in both men’s cross country (1996) and track and field (1992), Stimson would often remove himself from consideration for awards, insisting that his event coaches be recognized instead. They were at that, winning 42 CAA Coach of the Year awards as well as three W&M Alumni Association Coach of the Year honors. Stimson was also recognized as the Alumni Association Coach of the Year in 2002-03, after leading the Tribe to three of the four CAA titles available between cross-country and track and field in that athletics year.
Stimson’s coaches included Walt Drenth (men’s cross country from 1990-96), who went on to head coaching jobs at Arizona State and Michigan State, where he was named the National Coach of the Year in 2014. Another former men’s cross country coach, Andrew Gerard (1997-2003), went on to lead programs at Stanford and George Mason, and was himself named to National Coach of the Year honors. Gerard’s replacement at W&M was Alex Gibby ’97, who led the Tribe harriers to a pair of top-10 finishes at the NCAA Championships from 2003-10, including fifth in his final season before moving on to Michigan. Gibby is currently the associate head coach at Harvard. On the women’s side, Stimson’s coaches included Pat Van Rossum, who coached the Tribe women’s cross country team for nearly 20 years, as well as Kathy Newberry ’00 (2005-10), who was also a standout athlete for W&M and post-collegiately for Team USA, earning induction to the W&M Hall of Fame alongside her husband Gibby in 2017. Most recently, Stimson’s story came full circle with the hiring of Alex Heacock ’09 as the Director of Track & Field and Cross Country in 2016.
"Dan was a great coach, but much more importantly, he was a greater person," said Randy Hawthorne ’67, the unofficial W&M track historian and longtime friend of both the program and the Stimsons. "He was very proud of the athletic performances of his athletes, and could recite conference titles won and how many All-Americans produced. But he was even more proud of the academic successes and career paths of his athletes. Dan could tell you many made Rhodes Scholar, Phi Beta Kappa, and Academic All-American. He kept up with most of his track alums and knew how many became doctors and lawyers, teachers and coaches. Dan was very proud of the fact that he instilled the love of coaching in his athletes, and that so many went on to be coaches themselves."
In recognition of his coaching achievements, after his retirement after the 2014 season, Stimson was been inducted into a number of Halls of Fame, including the William & Mary Athletics Hall of Fame in 2014. In 2015, he was inducted into his hometown Chautauqua County Sports Hall of Fame, and that winter he was also named to the Miami University Cradle of Coaches Hall of Fame. In 2011, Stimson was named an Honorary Alumnus of William & Mary, and in 2007, friends of the track program named the Tribe’s newly constructed throwing facility in his honor, as the Stimson Throwing Events Area.
Stimson’s coaching career began at the University of Tennessee in 1971-72 where he was the throwing coach for standout Vol student-athletes Bill Skinner and Danny Martin (among others). A post-grad, Skinner ranked third in the world that year in the javelin. Martin was a freshman for the Volunteers who had thrown 218 feet in the javelin in high school. In just one year with Stimson’s coaching, Martin improved his range to 231 feet. The next nine years came at Miami (Ohio), where Stimson had his first NCAA qualifier in Rich Elkins. Elkins had thrown the javelin a modest 195 feet in high school, which he improved to 249 feet by the end of his collegiate career. After most of a decade with the Redhawks, Stimson went back to Tennessee, this time as the head assistant coach. Four of his throwers earned All-American honors, including three multiple-awardees.
A native of Falconer, New York, Stimson graduated with honors from Ohio University in 1971 and earned a master’s degree from Miami (Ohio). As an undergraduate, he was the All-Ohio and Central Collegiate shot put champion, as well as a two-time MAC shot put champion. He concluded his athletic career by competing in both the NCAA and AAU national championships in the shot put.
Dan is survived by his wife of 46 years, Rosemary, an art educator; two children, and two grand-children. Their son, Clare, graduated from Old Dominion in 2010 and is a realtor and Eco-Tour guide. Their daughter, Krista Crider, graduated from W&M in 1996 with a B.S. in biology and earned her master’s degree at the College in 1998. She earned a Ph.D. in the field of genetics and molecular biology at Emory University, and works for the Centers for Disease Control. Krista is a former W&M record holder in the hammer throw, and is the proud mother of two future Tribe record-holders in Samuel Daniel Crider, and Kara Elizabeth Crider.
Services and Arrangements
The memorial service will be held on Sunday, Nov. 5., at 2 p.m. at the Williamsburg United Methodist Church at 500 Jamestown Road with a reception to follow at St. Stephen Lutheran. For more information about the services or receptions, please call St. Stephen Lutheran Church at 757-229-6688.
Dan’s family will also be available at a Visitation/Reception from 4-6 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 4, in the Fellowship Hall at the St. Stephen Lutheran Church (612 Jamestown Road, Williamsburg, Va., 23185).
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that contributions be made to any of the following: the Daniel Stimson Memorial Scholarship at William & Mary, the Pauley Heart Center at VCU, or St. Stephen Lutheran Church of Williamsburg.