Only five schools in NCAA Division III men’s track & field history have national team titles from both the NCAA Indoor Championships and the NCAA Outdoor Championships on display in their respective trophy cases. It’s an exclusive list: UW-La Crosse, Lincoln (Pa.), North Central (Ill.), UW-Oshkosh, and Frostburg State University.
But only one of those schools owns the distinction of pulling off the very first indoor and outdoor team championship sweep in DIII history: Frostburg State, coached by Bob Lewis.
In 1986 — at the mid-point of his 31-year tenure leading the men’s track & field program and both the men’s and women’s cross country squads at the small Maryland university — Lewis led his men to the NCAA Division III indoor team title in the championship’s second year of existence and followed that up in the spring with the outdoor team crown.
He nearly pulled off the double again the following year, finishing less than 10 points behind team champion UW-La Crosse for third indoors and winning a second consecutive national outdoor title.
To this day only six men’s teams have ever won back-to-back NCAA Division III outdoor team titles.
Lewis’s career at Frostburg State was defined by a consistent presence at the national level. After Frostburg State became a member of NCAA Division III in 1979, his teams scored at the NCAA III Outdoor Championships in every year but two through his last season of coaching in 2001. Including those three national titles, this era in his career saw his men finish inside the top-10 nationally nine times during the outdoor seasons, four times during the indoor campaigns, and twice in cross country. His outdoor teams were particularly successful, with a four-year run of top-five finishes beginning in 1985 with a fifth-place showing and wrapping up with a fourth-place effort in 1988, sandwiching the two national crowns.
In 2001 Lewis led Frostburg State to a top-10 finish in his fourth different decade of coaching as his Bobcats finished tied for third with UW-Stevens Point at the NCAA III Outdoor Championships.
Overall, 68 of his track & field athletes combined for 113 All-America honors, including 16 national outdoor event titles and five more national indoor event crowns. His athletes set six NCAA III national-championship-meet records. Among the athletes he coached on his 112 varsity teams throughout his career was racewalker Carl Schueler, who won the 1978 NAIA indoor two-mile walk title and went on to become a member of four consecutive United States Olympic teams (1980 through 1992). Schueler established an American record for the 50km walk and placed sixth in that event in the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles.
Frostburg State’s success at the NCAA III national level was built on the success of regular-season prominence. His men’s and women’s teams won 29 conference titles in cross country, and his track & fields teams added another 29 titles, as well as a pair of ECAC indoor titles. He was inducted into the Frostburg State University Bobcat Hall of Fame in 2010.
Lewis graduated from Capital University in 1966, received a M.A. in physical education from Ohio State University in 1968, and earned a Ph.D. in physical education from Ohio State in 1973. He is currently a professor in the Department of Kinesiology and the coordinator of the athletic-coaching program at Frostburg State.