Jackrabbit Spotlight with Rod DeHaven
Rod DeHaven was named the head cross country coach and director of track and field in the fall of 2004 where he trains the distance runners for the men’s and women’s teams at South Dakota State University. During his time at the helm of the track and field program, the Jackrabbits have enjoyed an overall success not experienced since the 1980s and early 90s. During DeHaven’s tenure, school records have been established in 42 different events.
The men and the women have both ran well so far this season. What are your thoughts heading into the conference tournament?The women's team has really been coming along nicely. They ran well at Bradley and there is still room for improvement which is exciting heading into the conference championships. Although we were picked to finish sixth in the league, I think the team believes that they will finish higher than that and if we can duplicate our effort from Bradley at the conference meet I think we should be in the mix with the third and fourth place teams. On the men's side we have had looked pretty good at times and then other times our lack of quality depth has make us look highly average. If we can get our top five running well I would be happy and then what ever happens at conference and the regional meet will take care of itself.
Is there anything that sticks out about the season so far?
On the women's side it has been great to see
Danielle Burke get the chance to enjoy cross-country. After missing all or
parts of 4 cross-country seasons she is showing the potential that we knew she
is always had in her. It has also been exciting to see the improvement of
Danielle McCann. On the men's side freshman Trent Lusignan has been very
good. We knew he would be good, but usually true freshman struggle with
training and racing. Despite some nagging problems Trent has been really
consistent and a valuable part of the team.
What was it like running in the World Championships?
The world championships in cross-country and track and field were great experiences. The world cross-country championships I participated in 1991, I felt was the most competitive race I was ever a part of. The Africans were of course dominant, but the rest of the world hadn't conceded to them so you saw a wide array of distance runners from all over the world converge in one race.
Is coaching any easier because you were so successful running as an individual?
My experience from a long racing career allows me
to draw on a lot of experiences. I had plenty of bad
races, injuries and various calamities that occurred that I can relate to the
student athletes which is a reminder of the patience and determination needed
to be successful. But a large part of coaching is developing young people to
believe in themselves and be passionate about what they are doing. If you
can accomplish that, many things are possible.
What is your favorite memory from running as an individual?
There are many things to draw upon; I would rank being a part of the national championship team in 1985 at the very top. It was a great group of guys that worked extremely hard and followed the dream that we could win despite being drubbed mid season by our rival. Winning the Olympic Trials was also a neat experience because I was able to share it with my family and many friends who came to Pittsburgh.
The Jackrabbit Spotlight will pick an SDSU student-athlete or coach to interview each week. Interviews will be posted on GoJacks.com each Monday.