Friday, July 14, 2017

Coaching legend Dave Nielsen comes out of retirement to become new jumps/multis coach at Eastern...

CHENEY—Eastern Washington University announced that Dave Nielsen (above/photo courtesy Idaho State University), formerly the head track and field coach at Idaho State University for 31 seasons, is coming out of retirement to become the Eagles’ new jumps and multi-events coach.

In a press release, Eastern Washington men’s coach Stan Kerr said, “Dave will bring a resourceful and diverse history of track and field to our EWU program. He is an innovator, coached a gold medalist in the 2000 Sydney Games and will be inheriting a talented group of athletes who will enjoy getting to know him and vice versa."

During his tenure at Idaho State, Nielsen coached Amber Welty to an NCAA national title in the high jump in 1988, and later went on to make the 1992 US Olympic team, making her Idaho State’s first track and field Olympian.

Internationally, Nielsen is best known as the mentor to Stacy Dragila, the former world record holder and winner of the first women’s Olympic pole vault competition at the Sydney Olympics in 2000.

Eagle women’s head coach Marcia Mecklenburg said, “One of the things I really like about Coach Nielsen is that he was a pioneer in the development of the women's pole vault, hammer and weight throw. His women athletes were vaulting and throwing before the USATF and NCAA added those events to track and field."

Nielsen was named the Nike Coach of the Year for Track and Field back in 2000. He was also named the Big Sky Conference Coach of the Year in 1998, 1997, 2005, 2006, and 2007. Back in January 2014, he was also inducted to the National Pole Vault Hall of Fame.

NOTE:  The sports information office of Eastern Washington and Idaho State University contributed to this report.

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