Director of Track and Field & Cross Country
Two-time national coach of the year Lucky Huber has been a Coyote nearly his entire life. He grew up less than 20 minutes away in Elk Point, graduated from USD in 1990, worked 17 years in the Academic Advising Center and, in 2008, was named Director of Track and Field and Cross Country. As such, Huber has set the tone for a department that has sprinted into a new era.
Under Huber’s influence, the Coyotes have accomplished three program goals since 2008. For eight consecutive years, both the Coyote men and women have earned USTFCCCA All-Academic Team honors to accomplish goal one. Another goal has been to win conference titles and the department’s six programs have won 15 conference titles since 2008. Finishing in the top-10 nationally is goal three. The Coyote women accomplished that feat in 2014.
Huber has been the women’s track and field coach since 1994. The Coyotes have 17 conference titles since then including nine indoor and eight outdoor. South Dakota captured its first Summit League title at the 2018 outdoor meet, earning Huber Summit League Coach of the Year accolades. The team also has 15 national top-10 finishes at either indoor or outdoor championships. Those include a second-place indoor finish in 1998, a fifth-place outdoor finish in 1999, and a 10th-place indoor finish at the Division I championship meet in 2014.
South Dakota boasts 13 national champions, including four two-time winners, during the Huber era. Those 13 athletes represent nine different events. Bethany (Buell) Firsick won South Dakota’s first Division I NCAA Championship when she cleared 14 feet, 7 1/2 inches to win the pole vault at the 2013 outdoor championship meet in Eugene, Ore. Chris Nilsen followed suit with a pair of NCAA Division I pole vault titles, breaking the NCAA Championships meet record in 2018 with a vault of 19-1 1/2.
The spectrum of athletes Huber has coached varies across events and gender. Huber coached three-time Olympian and 2008 Olympic Bronze Medalist Derek Miles in the pole vault, two-time NCAA Champion Emma Erickson in the 800 meters, two-time NCAA Champion Steve Gordon in the triple jump, national heptathlon champion Brianne Edwards and NCAA Division I All-American high jumpers Megan Glisar and Zack Anderson. Huber has also created a recruiting pipeline in Jamaica, coaching All-Americans Teivaskie Lewin in the hurdles and Shanice Cannigan in the pentathlon. Huber also worked with Gawain Williams, who became the first Summit League athlete to win four titles in the 100 meters.
Huber’s experience as an academic advisor has paid off big time for the Coyotes. Of South Dakota’s 32 NCAA postgraduate scholarship recipients, 20 are track and field athletes who had Huber on staff. The Coyote track and field programs also boast 14 Academic All-Americans in Huber's tenure. Then there’s Alexa Duling, an All-American 400-meter hurdler who in 2013 earned a Walter Byers Postgraduate Scholarship, the most prestigious scholarship awarded by the NCAA with a renewable value of $24,000.
Most recently, Huber took the lead in designing USD’s first outdoor track facility since 1979. The facility opened ahead of the 2016 Summit League Outdoor Championship Meet held in Vermillion. The Lillibridge Track Complex features a nine-lane, 400-meter, NCAA-certified BSS 2000 track surface and competition areas for field events all viewable from the 1,000-seat grandstands. Opposite of the grandstand is a 120-meter incline and decline training lane.
Huber is married to the former Stacy Kracht of Mitchell, S.D. They have two daughters, Mackenzie and Josie. Stacy is a member of the Coyotes Sports Hall of Fame and formerly a four-year starter on the Coyotes’ women’s basketball team (1987-91).
- Director of Track and Field and Cross Country since 2008
- Head Women’s Track and Field Coach since 1994
- Spent 17 years working as USD’s Director of Academic Advising
- B.S. in elementary education from USD in 1990
- M.A. in education from USD in 1992
- Two-time National Coach of the Year (2008, 2004)
- Seven-time Regional Coach of the Year (1997, 1998, 2004, 2005, 2006 2007, 2008)
- 17-time Conference Coach of the Year (1997 [2x], 1998 [2x], 1999 [indoor], 2004 [2x], 2005 [2x], 2006 [2x], 2008 [2x], 2009 [indoor], 2010 [indoor], 2011 [indoor], 2018 [outdoor])
- 17 Conference Championships (as coach of the women’s teams)
- 15 top-10 national finishes*
- 13 National Champions (who won 17 titles)
- 17 National Runner-Up Finishes
- 37 All-Americans (who combined for 119 All-America honors)
- 16 All-American Relay Teams
* Indoor Team Finishes (7 top 10): 2nd in 1998; 6th in 1999; 7th in 2001; 9th in 2003; 7th in 2004; 10th in 2006; 6th in 2008; 10th in 2014
* Outdoor Team Finishes (8 top 10): 5th in 1998; 7th in 1999; 6th in 2000; 6th in 2001; 7th in 2003; 10th in 2004; 6th in 2008
Derek Miles | Associate Director of Track and Field/Jumps
Coyote alum, three-time Olympian and 2008 Olympic bronze medalist Derek Miles enters his 16th season with South Dakota track and field in 2018-19. Miles is the associate director of track and field, working with the pole vault, jumps and sprints.
Miles has turned the South Dakota vault program into one of the premiere programs in the nation. He has coached 18 All-Americans at the Division I level, including three national champions in Bethany Buell (2013) and Chris Nilsen (2017, 2018). Miles also had a pair of athletes, Nilsen and Emily Grove, qualify to represent the United States at the 2017 IAAF World Championships.
Under Miles' direction, Nilsen vaulted his way onto the NCAA record books. The sophomore broke the 19-foot barrier at five meets in 2018 and was named the USTFCCCA Midwest Indoor and Outdoor Field Athlete of the Year. Nilsen paid tribute to his coach at the Howard Wood Dakota Relays when he jumped 5.86m, or 19-2 3/4, a centimeter above Miles' lifetime best. The jump ranks Nilsen fourth in NCAA all-conditions history, while he holds two marks on the NCAA's outdoor top-10 list. He also broke a 22-year-old NCAA Championships meet record after clearing 19-1 1/2.
The men's pole vault squad was ranked No. 1 in the nation at the conclusion of the 2018 season by the USTFCCCA. South Dakota's four vaulters boasted an average height of 17-11.
South Dakota has qualified 35 pole vault entries to the NCAA West Preliminary since the program moved to Division I in 2011. The Coyotes sent five or more vaulters to the preliminary meet four out of the last five years, including a program high of seven in 2017.
At the 2018 Summit League Championships, the men's and women's pole vault crew combined for 53 points outdoors and 43 points indoors. Helen Falda swept the Summit League indoor and outdoor pole vault titles while Ethan Bray and Nilsen split the Summit's indoor and outdoor titles on the men's side. Falda and Nilsen were named the 2018 Summit League Indoor Field Athletes of the Year. Nilsen also garnered the 2018 Summit League Outdoor Field Athlete of the Year award.
USD's all-time charts have been dominated by Miles' athletes in the pole vault. All 10 marks on the women's indoor and outdoor lists were jumped in the last six years. The men's side includes eight of the top-10 marks since 2011, with the exceptions being 2006 NCAA Division II Champion Sam Pribyl and Miles' own collegiate marks.
Miles, a native of Citrus Heights, Calif., was a five-time All-American in the pole vault at USD. He also qualified for the D-II National Championships in the long jump, triple jump and decathlon during his collegiate career.
Post-collegiately Miles was one of the best professional pole vaulters in the world for over a decade. A three-time Olympian (finishing 3rd in Beijing 2008, 7th in Athens 2004 and qualified for London in 2012) Miles has represented the United States on six world championship teams and been a 3-time U.S. National Champion. Over his lengthy career, he has been ranked number 1 in the US four times and top five in the world six times by Track and Field News Magazine. He also organized the Miles Pole Vault Summit which brought 10 of the top vaulters in the world, including four U.S. Olympians and 2 Olympic medalists to Vermillion in 2007. Miles retired with a personal best of 19-2 1/4 (5.85m).
On April 17, 2017, Miles was presented with his reallocated Olympic bronze medal. The International Olympic Committee stripped a handful of athletes, including initial pole vault bronze medalist Denys Yurchenko of the Ukraine, of their medals after banned substances were found during retests of samples from the games. Miles, who initially took fourth in the competition, moved up to medal position.
He was inducted into the Henry Heider Memorial Coyote Sports Hall of Fame in the fall of 2006 and the USATFCCCA DII Hall of Fame in May of 2013. Miles was inducted to the Drake Relays Hall of Fame in 2018.
Miles earned a bachelor's degree in history in 1996 and a master's degree in athletic administration in 1998 from USD. He met his wife, Tori (Devericks), while in school. Tori was also a track and field All-American for the Coyotes.
Miles and his wife, Tori, reside in Tea, S.D., with their son, Ariston.
- Olympic Bronze Medalist in the pole vault at the 2008 Olympic Games
- Three-time Olympian in the pole vault (2004, 2008, 2012)
- Three NCAA Champions (Bethany Buell, 2013 outdoors; Chris Nilsen, 2017 indoors and 2018 outdoors)
- 18 All-America honors in the pole vault since the move to NCAA Division I
- 35 NCAA West Preliminary qualifiers
- 10 Summit League Field Athlete of the Year honors
- 22 Summit League Champions
- 54 All-Summit League honors in the pole vault
Dan Fitzsimmons | Head Cross Country / Distance
Four-time Summit League women's cross country coach of the year Dan Fitzsimmons took over as the head coach of the South Dakota cross country teams on July 9, 2008. He also serves as an assistant coach for the Coyote men's and women's track and field teams, working with the distance runners. Fitzsimmons enters his 11th season with the Coyotes in 2018-19.
South Dakota has captured four-straight Summit League women's cross country titles from 2014-17 as Fitzsimmons garnered coach of the year honors.
At the 2017 Summit League Cross Country Championships, the Coyote pack swept places four through 10 to win by a 27-point margin. South Dakota went on to place fifth at the NCAA Midwest Regional, the program's highest finish since the move to NCAA Division I. Fitzsimmons' teams boasted 11 all-Summit League runners at the cross country meet with a program-high four men joining the seven women on the podium.
South Dakota's distance squad carried its success over to the track in 2018. Junior Eldon Warner took home the 2018 Summit League Indoor Track Championship MVP award after placing in the top-three of all four races during the weekend. Junior Megan Billington swept the long distances by taking gold in the indoor 5,000 meters, outdoor 5,000 meters and outdoor 10,000 meters. Warner won the 800 meters both indoors and out, and senior Lindsay Joyce captured the 1,500 meters at the outdoor meet. At the 2018 Summit League Championships, Fitzsimmons' distance crew combined for 103 points indoors and 122 points outdoors in the men's and women's overall team point totals. The distance women contributed 86 of USD's 263 points en route to capturing the 2018 Summit League Outdoor Track and Field Championship.
Under the guidance of Fitzsimmons, the Coyote cross country programs have seen a lot of success in transitioning to the Division I level. The Coyote women won Summit League titles in 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017, there have been three runner-up team finishes (women's team in 2012, men's team in 2012 and 2013), four individual Summit League runner-ups (Jeff Mettler in 2012, Mubarik Musa in 2013, and Amber Eichkorn in 2014 and 2015), four league newcomers of the year (Amber Eichkorn and Mubarik Musa in 2012, Bethany Kozak in 2014, Julia Noah in 2016), and 45 all-Summit League honorees. During three seasons in the Great West Conference, the Coyotes recorded two runner-up team finishes (women's team in 2008 and 2009), one individual champion (Ramsey Fitzsimmons in 2008), one Great West runner-up (Kelsey Maloney in 2008), one conference freshman of the year (Jeff Mettler in 2010) and 11 all-Great West Conference selections.
Eichkorn became the first Coyote to qualify for the NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships in 2014 and made a repeat appearance in 2015. She also advanced to the 2015 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in the 10,000 meters.
Since Fitzsimmons began as an assistant coach on the track team during the 2008-09 season, the distance squad has helped the track program to 11 conference championships and 21 runner-up finishes. The distance program has earned 46 conference individual titles. During the seasons spent in the Great West, the Coyotes had three GWC Most Valuable Performers in Ramsey Fitzsimmons (2009, 2010) and Rob Gregoire (2010). In the Summit League, Jeff Mettler was named Track Championship MVP three times (indoor 2013, indoor 2014, outdoor 2014), Mach Dojiok earned the honor outdoors in 2015, Amber Eichkorn swept the Track Championship MVP awards in 2017 (indoor 2017, outdoor 2017) and Eldon Warner earned the honor indoors in 2018.
Prior to coming to South Dakota, Fitzsimmons built the Yankton cross country and track and field programs into state and regional powers.
In 1997, Fitzsimmons was named head coach of the Yankton High School cross country team and then in 2002 he was named the track and field head coach. He began working with the cross country team in 1989 and the track and field team in 1990 as an assistant coach. Fitzsimmons also was the head coach of the Yankton gymnastics team since 1986.
In his time with the cross country team, Fitzsimmons led five teams that were ranked in the top 20 in the nation. He guided four teams to the South Dakota AA combined boys and girls state championship. He also coached eight South Dakota AA championship teams, three-straight boys championships (2005-07) and five-straight girls titles (2003-07). Fitzsimmons was named South Dakota Cross Country Coach of the Year in 2003 (girls), 2004 (girls), 2005 (boys) and 2006 (boys and girls). The South Dakota NHSACA Gatorade Circle of Champions named him coach of the year for four-straight years (2004-07). He was also the South Dakota Sportswriters Prep Girls Coach of the Year in 2003, 2004 and 2005.
Fitzsimmons was also successful with the Yankton track and field team. He guided the team to five state championships and six relay team championships while also coaching 20 individual champions. Two of his athletes were named South Dakota Gatorade Track and Field Performers of the Year. Fitzsimmons was named the South Dakota NHSACA Gatorade Circle of Champions Track and Field Coach of the Year in 2003 and 2005.
During his four-year career at South Dakota, Fitzsimmons was a three-time NCC place winner in the 3,000m steeplechase, setting the USD record in the 3,000m steeplechase which stood from 1985 to 2000. He graduated in 1986 with a bachelor's degree in physical education and earned a master's degree from USD in exercise science in 1999. His wife, Cecilia, was a seven-time NCC track and field champion and former record holder in the long and triple jump. She was inducted into the USD Hall of Fame in 2000.
Fitzsimmons and his wife, Cecilia, have four children, Sean, Shannon, Connor and Brenna, and three grandchildren, Aurora, Callum and Kieran. Sean, Shannon and Connor are Coyote track and field alumni.
- Four-time Summit League Women's Cross Country Coach of the Year (2014, 2015, 2016, 2017)
- Head coach of four Conference Cross Country Championships
- Assistant coach of 11 Conference Track and Field Championships
- Seven Summit League Track Championship MVPs
- 45 All-Summit League honorees in cross country
- 46 Summit League Champions on the track
- 103 All-Summit League honors on the track
- 46 Academic All-Summit League honors
A.G. Kruger | Assistant Coach / Throws
Three-time Olympian A.G. Kruger III took over responsibilities as South Dakota's throws coach on Aug. 21, 2015. He enters his fourth year with the team in 2018-19.
Kruger has continued the development of the Coyote throws program. The Coyotes have tallied 39 improved or new marks on USD's top-10 list under Kruger's guidance the past three seasons. Four school records were broken in 2018 alone with two by Lara Boman (hammer throw, weight throw), one by Ben Hammer (discus) and one by Ethan Fenchel (weight throw).
Under Kruger, three athletes have qualified for the NCAA Championships with Danielle Waldner going on to earn second-team All-America honors in the shot put in 2017. This past season, Boman advanced in the hammer throw while Hammer qualified in the discus. Kruger's tallied 13 entries to the NCAA West Preliminary in the throwing events in three years.
In addition, the Coyotes have won five Summit League titles and garnered 19 all-Summit League honors across the throwing events under Kruger. South Dakota captured it's first Summit League women's team title in 2018.
In his own competitive career, Kruger represented the United States at the 2004 Athens, 2008 Beijing, and 2012 London Olympic Games in the hammer throw. He competed on a total of five World Championship teams and qualified for 15 U.S. National Championships.
Kruger came to South Dakota after spending 13 years training, coaching and teaching at Ashland University in Ashland, Ohio. He holds Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) certification, Functional Movement Screening (FMS) certification and is a member of the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA).
In 2014, Kruger broke American records in the 35-pound weight throw and 56-pound ultra weight throw. He also holds the 35-39 age group World record for the throws pentathlon, a combined event consisting of the hammer throw, shot put, discus throw, javelin throw and weight throw.
Kruger, a native of Sheldon, Iowa, is no stranger to the DakotaDome. He set the DakotaDome weight throw record with a mark of 77 feet, 7 ½ inches in 2006.
A 2001 graduate of Morningside College in Sioux City, Iowa, Kruger earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics education. He was a NCAA Division II national champion in the hammer throw as a senior. He was also named the 2001 NCAA DII National Outdoor Male Track and Field Athlete of the Year.
Kruger was inducted into Morningside’s Hall of Fame in 2008 and the NCAA DII Hall of Fame in 2010.
Kruger and his wife, Laura, have two children, Geo and Marina.
- Three-time Olympian in the hammer throw (2004, 2008, 2012)
- Assistant coach for the 2018 Summit League Women's Outdoor Track and Field Championship team
- Three NCAA Championships qualifiers, including 2017 All-American Danielle Waldner (shot put)
- Five Summit League Champions
- 19 All-Summit League honors
- One Academic All-American (Lara Boman, 2018)
- Three Academic All-Summit League honors
Teivaskie Lewin | Assistant Coach/Sprints/Hurdles
South Dakota's first men's NCAA Division I All-American, Teivaskie Lewin was named assistant track and field coach in the fall of 2017. He enters his third year on staff in 2018-19 after previously spending a year as a graduate assistant coach for the Coyotes. Lewin works primarily with the Coyote hurdlers and sprinters.
Under Lewin, the Coyote hurdle and sprint crew has continued to blossom. Lewin's group combined for 59 points indoors and 131 points outdoors in the men's and women's overall team point totals. The women scored 50 points in the 100 hurdles and 400 hurdles to help the Coyotes capture the 2018 Summit League Outdoor Track and Field Championship.
Lewin's athletes have combined for 13 Summit League titles and 31 all-Summit League honors in two years. Shanice Cannigan swept the 60 hurdles, 100 hurdles and 400 hurdles in 2018. On the men's side, Jay Cooper won the 400 hurdles, Gawain Williams won the 100 meters and Joe Reagan captured the 200 meters at the outdoor meet in 2018.
Lewin was a two-time Summit League Track Athlete of the Year and captured the Summit League Track Championship MVP award in 2015. He broke the South Dakota program and state record in the 60-meter hurdles during the indoor season by clocking 7.77 seconds in the NCAA Preliminaries to move on to the finals. Lewin finished eighth in the 60-meter hurdles at the 2015 NCAA Championships. Lewin also qualified for the 2016 NCAA Outdoor Championships in the 110-meter hurdles. Lewin was a seven-time Summit League champion during his Coyote career.
A native of Montego Bay, Jamaica, Lewin completed in bachelor's degree in communications in 2016. He graduated from USD with his master's degree in interdisciplinary studies in 2018.
- NCAA All-American in the 60-meter hurdles in 2015
- Two-time Summit League Track Athlete of the Year
- Assistant coach for the 2018 Summit League Women's Outdoor Track and Field Championship team
- 13 Summit League Champions
- 31 All-Summit League honors
- Six Academic All-Summit League honors
Shanice Hall | Graduate Assistant/Sprints/Jumps
Shanice Hall joined the Coyote track and field program as a graduate assistant ahead of the 2019 season. Hall will work with the Coyote sprinters and jumpers.
A graduate of Louisiana State University, Hall competed in the high jump for the Tiger track and field team. She was a three-time qualifier for the NCAA East Preliminary in the high jump and scored at four SEC Championship meets. Hall owns a personal best of 6-0 ¾ in the high jump. She was also a two-time selection to the SEC Academic Honor Roll.
Hall received her bachelor's degree from LSU in communication studies in 2016. She will be pursuing her master's degree in interdisciplinary studies while at South Dakota.
Danielle Thu | Director of Operations
Danielle Thu joined the Coyote track and field staff as the director of operations ahead of the 2015-16 season. She also works with USD's cross country program. Thu enters her fourth year on staff in 2018-19.
In her three seasons at USD, the Coyotes have captured four Summit League Championships and posted six Summit League runner-up finishes. South Dakota won Summit League titles in both women's cross country and women's outdoor track and field in 2017-18.
Thu's duties include budgeting, planning team travel, equipment management and assisting with on-campus recruiting visits, all while following NCAA regulations and university policy. She holds certifications from the USTFCCCA Program Management, the USTFCCCA Strength and Conditioning Program and is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS).
A 2011 graduate of the University of California at San Diego, Thu was an NCAA Division II champion in the hammer throw in 2009. She launched the hammer a distance of 198-8 to defeat the field by 13 feet and set a UC San Diego program record. Thu was named the 2009 NCAA Division II West Regional Field Athlete of the Year.
After graduation, Thu spent four years as an assistant coach and assistant director of operations at UC San Diego. She worked primarily with the throws at UCSD.
Thu received her master's degree from South Dakota in 2017.
Dave Gottsleban | Volunteer Assistant/Distance
Long-time Coyote head coach Dave Gottsleben took on his new role as a volunteer assistant after his retirement in the summer of 2017. Gottsleben boasted a fruitful 33-year career at South Dakota.
Gottsleben was twice named the NCAA Division II Coach of the Year by the U.S. Track and Field/Cross Country Coaches Association. He has won more conference championships than any coach in USD history with 20 between men's cross country and men's indoor and outdoor track and field.
Under Gottsleben, the Coyote men accumulated 125 All-America awards with seven NCAA titles and 13 NCAA runner-up performances. USD's lone NCAA Division II team title also came under Gottsleben at the 1997 NCAA Cross Country Championships.
Gottsleben's teams captured 20 conference championships between the North Central Conference, the Great West Conference and the Summit League. The Coyotes were one of the most consistent teams in the NCC with six NCC titles, 15 runner-up performances and a pair of third-place efforts in the last 24 NCC meets.
Gottsleben has been inducted to the South Dakota Sports Hall of Fame (2015), Howard Wood Dakota Relays Hall of Fame (2016), the Drake Relays Hall of Fame (2017) and Sioux City Relays Hall of Fame (2001). He also received the NCAA Division II Men's and Women's Track and Field Coaches Association Award in 1994 for his distinguished service to Division II track and field.
Gottsleben and his wife, Helen, reside in Yankton. He has one daughter, Kendra.
Matt Hoyt | Volunteer Assistant/Distance
Coyote Sports Hall of Famer Matt Hoyt, a native of Burlington, Wyo., took on his role as an assistant coach for the track and field and cross country programs ahead of the 2002-03 season as a graduate assistant. He is currently a volunteer assistant coach and also serves as a physical therapist at Sioux Valley-Vermillion Hospital.
One of the best cross country and track and field performers in USD history, Hoyt was a 2000 NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship recipient. An eight-time All-American, he was named the NCAA Division II Track and Field Athlete of the Year in 2000 and the NCAA Division II Cross Country Athlete of the Year in 1998. At the 2000 track and field nationals, Hoyt had one of the most brilliant and gutsy performances ever in South Dakota school history.
Hoyt finished in the top five of three of the most grueling events in track and field (second, 10,000m; third, 5,000m; and fourth, 3000m steeplechase).
He also finished second in the 10,000-meter run at the NCAA Division II Meet in 1998 and was a member of the 1997 national champion cross country squad at USD. He was the NCC and North Central Region cross country champion in both 1997 and 1998, the only time that has been accomplished in school history.
Hoyt's sixth-place finish at the national cross country meet in 1998 is the second-best finish ever by a South Dakota runner. He is also the only student-athlete in school history to be an All-American in cross country, indoor and outdoor track in the same calendar year.
The NCC Athlete of the Year in 2000, Hoyt held six distance records at South Dakota, before 2014 Coyote graduate Jeff Mettler broke three of them. He was inducted into the Coyote Sports Hall of Fame in 2010, which was his first year of eligibility.
Hoyt and his wife, Katie, have two daughters, Kassie and Cameron.
Emily Grove | Volunteer Assistant/Pole Vault