Dan Fitzsimmons | Head Cross Country / Distance
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.
South Dakota captured back to back Summit League cross country titles in 2014 and 2015 on the women's side. Amber Eichkorn also became the first Coyote to qualify for the NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships in 2014 and made a repeat performance in 2015.
Seniors Katie Wetzstein and Kelsey Barrett then qualified for the 2016 NCAA West Preliminaries in the 1,500 meters and 10,000 meters, respectively. Eichkorn became the first distance runner to reach the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in 2015, advancing to the finals in the 10,000 meters.
Under the guidance of Fitzsimmons, the Coyotes have seen a lot of success in transitioning to the Division I level. The Coyote women won Summit League titles in 2014 and 2015, 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), three league newcomers of the year (Amber Eichkorn and Mubarik Musa in 2012, Bethany Kozak in 2014), and 28 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.
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 10 conference championships and 18 runner-up finishes. The distance program has earned 38 conference individual conference 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) and Mach Dojiok earned the honor outdoors in 2015.
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.
Dan and Cecilia are the parents of Sean, Shannon, Connor and Brenna. Sean, Shannon and Connor are Coyote track and field alums. Brenna currently attends school at the University of South Dakota.
Derek Miles | Associate Director of Track & Field / Jumps
Coyote alum and three-time Olympian Derek Miles begins his 14th season as an assistant coach for South Dakota in 2016-17. He coaches 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 11 All-Americans at the Division I level, including 2013 National Champion Bethany Buell. Miles' athletes have dominated USD's all-time charts, with at least seven of his athletes making the top 10 list for men's and women's indoor and outdoor seasons. Miles' collegiate marks remain ranked in the top-10 as well.
At the 2016 Summit League Championships, the pole vault crew combined for 39 points indoors and 41 points outdoors of the overall men's and women's team finish. Five-time All-American Emily Grove swept the indoor and outdoor pole vault titles, while Jake David captured the Coyotes' fourth-straight outdoor title on the men's side.
Miles, a native of Four Oaks, 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 4th 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 US 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 1/2.
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 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.
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 second year with the team in 2016-17.
Kruger qualified for 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 (age 4) and Marina (age 2).
Danielle Thu | Director of Operations
Bio. Coming Soon!
Matt Hoyt | Volunteer Assistant / Distance
Coyote Sports Hall of Famer Matt Hoyt 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 is a native of Burlington, Wyo.
Teivaskie Lewin | Graduate Assistant / Sprints / Hurdles
Bio. Coming Soon!
Neeia Cooperwood | Volunteer Assistant / Sprints / Jumps
Bio. Coming Soon!