Two-time coach of the year DeHaven teaches and inspires

Dustin Veurink

Dustin VeurinkSportswriter

After a great career of his own, the SDSU legend has helped grow the track and cross country programs since Division I transition.

Cross country head coach Rod DeHaven was named Summit League Coach of the Year for the second straight year, but his journey to this point is what makes him popular.

DeHaven grew up in Huron, S.D., and started running when he was 12 years old. After being successful in cross country and track in high school, DeHaven picked SDSU over Nebraska, because he thought it was a better fit.

At SDSU, DeHaven had an amazing career. He was an All-American and NCC Individual Champion all four years. DeHaven has track records that still stand today.

He moved to Madison, Wis., after graduating and continued his passion of running.

In 2000, DeHaven won the Olympic Trials and earned a spot at the Olympics Games in Sydney, Australia. DeHaven was the only American competing in the Olympic marathon. DeHaven finished 69th out of 81 runners with a time of 2 hours, 30 minutes and 46 seconds.

“My experience in Australia was fabulous,” DeHaven said. “Walking through the Olympic Village seeing so many different countries represented that my dream had become a reality.”

DeHaven was hired as SDSU’s cross country coach in 2004.

“The main reason I wanted to coach here is to make sure that the track and field/cross country program remained competitive and relevant as we moved from a division II to a Division I school,” DeHaven said.

The track & field and cross country teams have certainly been competitive since DeHaven was hired as head coach.

In 2005, the men’s cross country team won the NCAA Division I Independent Championships. In 2006, the women’s cross country team won the NCAA Division I Independent Championships. The women won the Summit League title in 2008 and the men have won it the last two years.

Cross country junior Michael Krsnak talks about why he chose SDSU.

“Rod is probably one of the top reasons I came to SDSU if not the reason, because he is not the typical Division I coach,” Michael Krsnak said.

Krsnak shared a moment from the meet at regionals.

“At the NCAA Midwest Regional Championship, I saw Rod kicking and screaming at me, first because I was being stupid,” Krsnak said. “Then because he was so excited I was having a good race,”

The student athletes love DeHaven and he loves his job.

“I have really enjoyed working with the student athletes, they do so many things that make me proud to be alum, both outside the field of competition as well as inside it,” DeHaven said.

The track and field indoor season starts Dec. 4 in Fargo, N.D.

DeHaven really likes the men’s track team this year.

“This might be the best men’s track team ever at SDSU,” DeHaven said.

#1.1814398:1851823845.png:dehavenweb.png:The SDSU men?s cross country team poses after winning their second consecutive Summit League title.:Submitted Photo