Assistant coach Hegland guides Syracuse runners to success

first_img Published on February 6, 2014 at 12:38 am From a small town to a well-known city. From a Division II school to the big stage. From running to coaching. In only eight years, Syracuse track and field assistant coach Dave Hegland has quickly become an integral part of a nationally contending program.Hegland has helped develop conference champions, All-Americans and even a national champion. However, the young and humble 32-year-old coach doesn’t need the spotlight, nor does he want it.Hegland refuses to take credit for his runners’ success. Rather, he denounces any notion of a major influence on their performances.“The main thing is to just have great athletes,” Hegland said. “I just try to get out of their way and not screw them up.”Although Hegland may not like acknowledging his own coaching brilliance, his runners can’t give him enough praise. Those sprinters and hurdlers will take to the track again this weekend, some at the New Balance Collegiate Invitational in New York City and others at the Valentine Invitational at Boston University.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“He can still find the little problems you’ll still be having and tweak your technique a little bit more,” said senior hurdler Donald Pollitt. “He gets down to just the finer detail, your form. And just those little things I think, separate him from a lot of other coaches.”Senior sprinter Jaquan Holland has worked with Hegland for more than two years now after transferring from Union College. Holland believes there isn’t even a comparison between Hegland and the previous coaches he’s had. “What makes him different from other coaches is when he’s looking for different methods and trying to learn different things,” Holland said. “He looks at basketball coaches, football coaches, soccer coaches.“He takes different methods from them and then will apply it to track.”Growing up in Jamestown, N.D., Hegland was able to learn the importance of studying and preparing from his mother, who was a teacher, and his father, a teacher and a high school track and field head coach.“I was surrounded by a lot of good educators when I was young,” Hegland said. “I think that was a pretty lucky thing for me.”Hegland took his father’s advice and ran track in high school, and eventually in college at South Dakota State University. Hegland earned Division II All-America accolades twice and still holds the school record in the 60- and 110-meter hurdles.Pollitt believes Hegland’s experience as a collegiate hurdler helps the young coach with his development of his runners. Last year, Pollitt received All-America accolades and was named Male Track & Field Athlete of the Year at the 2013 ‘Cuse Awards.“He’s not like a lot of coaches just because of what he can bring to the table,” Pollitt said.Hegland, however, would disagree with his runner’s statement.“These guys are at a much higher level than I was ever at,” Hegland said. “After a certain point you’re really learning from them.”Current SU runners aren’t the only ones praising Hegland. Even those who have left still rave over the job he’s done.Former SU sprinter and hurdler Jarret Eaton was an All-American, broke multiple school records and became Syracuse’s lone track and field national champion under Hegland’s guidance. Eaton is currently training for the 60-meter hurdles in the 2016 Summer Olympics. Eaton credits Hegland for the success he has had both during and after his time running at Syracuse.“Coach Dave directly impacted me as a runner and has helped develop me into the hurdler I am today,” Eaton wrote in an email. “The maturity I have, knowledge of the hurdles, knowledge of nutrition and sleep, my technique and patience have all been the result of being under Coach Dave.”Hegland has mentored a total of 13 student-athletes to individual conference championships, six sprinter-hurdlers to NCAA championships, has seen multiple runners break countless school records and coached Eaton to a national championship.Track and field head coach Chris Fox, who has worked with Hegland for more than seven years now, described him simply. “One of the best sprints and hurdles coaches in the country.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

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