Gottsleben named SD’s men’s coach of the year

Gottsleben named SD's men's coach of the year In 2000, Dave Gottsleben was able to bring The University of South Dakota something it hadn't had since 1966, a North Central Conference outdoor track championship.

His Coyote team also finished third at the national meet in Raleigh, NC. For those achievements, Gottsleben was named College Men's Coach of the Year by the South Dakota Sportswriters Association.

"It's more of a staff award than for me personally," said Gottsleben. "We have a great staff here; I had very little to do with it."

That staff consists of Lucky Huber, Scott Munsen, Derek Miles, Terri Scott and Lenni Billberg, all of whom are USD graduates.

"Their commitment to the team is incredible," added Gottsleben. "I think they're the best staff in Division II."

The Coyotes had a streak of NCC indoor titles from 1996-1998, but the outdoor title proved elusive as North Dakota State University had dominated, winning the last 14.

"The key is depth in the outdoor meet," said Gottsleben. "At the outdoor meet, you have to have everything going from the weights to the distances."

Another reason the Coyotes finally pushed their way past NDSU was the experience that the team fielded in 2000.

"We were fortunate to have 10 seniors who were committed and were good influences on the freshmen," said Gottsleben. "You have to have athletes who perform their best in a big meet."

Gottsleben and his staff recruit athletes who have ability that can be developed.

"Our program is based on development and our athletes get better because of the technical training they receive from the coaches," said Gottsleben. "Between men's and women's indoor and outdoor track plus cross country, we've won 17 NCC championships; it's the success of the program that gets the athletes here."

Not lost on Gottsleben is the success that his team had in the national meet. The highest finish for a NCC team previously was fourth place.

"The true accomplishment is that that group of Midwestern kids came together for one day and did what no other NCC team had ever done," said Gottsleben. "They are great kids with great determination, it was utterly amazing.

"I think this is the greatest track team in the history of South Dakota," added Gottsleben. "There is no group in South Dakota outdoor track that has done what they have done."

Gottsleben, who has been at the USD helm for 17 years, has been honored seven times by the North Central Conference as coach of the year as well as been honored as the regional coach of the year four times. In 1997, Gottsleben was named the national coach of the year.

"We've got a great situation here," said Gottsleben. "This is as unique a track and field team that you will find in the Midwest. The team deserves more recognition than the coach."

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