Director of Track and Field Dan Stimson
- In his 24th year as Director of Track and Field at William and Mary, Dan Stimson oversees a program that has demonstrated success both in the classroom and on the track, and has served as an exemplary model for what collegiate athletics should be all about. In recognition of his years of service, the College honored Coach Stimson in 2007 by naming the new throwing facility in his honor, the Stimson Throwing Events Area. Made possible through a generous donation from Mr. And Mrs. Joe Showker, the facility includes an Olympic throwing cage with circles for both the hammer and discus, two shot put circles, and javelin runway.
The men’s and women’s programs have combined for 21 Colonial Athletic Association titles out of 28 possible since the 2002-03 school year, and have garnered numerous CAA Athlete and Rookie of the Year awards. In 2008-09, the teams won three of four conference titles for the second year in a row, and in May, sent six athletes to the NCAA Outdoor Championships, the most since 1975. The men’s cross country team also extended a streak of its own, making the NCAA Championships for the 12th consecutive season and winning its ninth regional title. To date, Stimson’s programs have produced 59 All-Americans and one Olympian while winning 45 CAA team titles, nearly half of the conference championships awarded in his 24 years.
Stimson, who works primarily with the throwers, jumpers, and multi-eventers, has mentored many W&M athletes to national prominence in his tenure. Due to the absence of the javelin or the hammer throw at the high school level in Virginia and other nearby states, Stimson has earned a reputation for his ability to develop young talent.
His coaching credits include W&M hammer throw record-holder Mike Howell, who started with the hammer in his rookie season at W&M, and progressed through the ranks until his senior year, when he posted the eighth-best mark by an American collegian (206’1”). Decathlon record-holder Todd Doughty (7,240 points) benefited from his time with Stimson as well, working his way from a walk-on to one of the top 20 decathletes in the country over the course of his career at W&M.
On the women’s side, Stimson coached All-America high jumper Lisa Rayner to an 11th-place finish at the NCAA Championships and a school-record mark of 5’11.25” in 1994. Wendy Warren, the school record-holder in the javelin (153’6”), was discovered in a physical education class and went on to earn All-East honors and place sixth at the ECAC Championships. Stimson coached pole vaulter Charlotte LaRoche to second place in the ECAC Championships and a then-record of 13’1” in her freshman season. He then guided steady improvement throughout her career, culminating in 2004 with her second conference title and double All-East honors. Stimson has had numerous All-East performers in all of the field events.
A recent example of Stimson’s coaching ability can be seen in 2004 graduate Chris Parsons. As a freshman, Parsons made a powerful debut, winning CAA titles in both the shot put and the javelin, enabling him to be selected for the United States Junior National Team. He followed up his impressive freshman season with a sophomore campaign that featured top CAA finishes in the discus (fourth), javelin (third), hammer (second) and a second straight first-place showing in the shot put. Parsons went on to garner All-East honors in the hammer at the IC4A meet. In 2003 Parsons was named CAA Scholar-Athlete of the year, after earning a pair of all-conference honors by finishing second in both the shot and the hammer at the CAA Championships. Parsons capped his career in style, winning the 2004 CAA title in the shot and hammer and breaking the NCAA Regional mark in both events.
Freshmen Natalie Baird and Brandon Héroux continued Stimson’s string of success at developing young talent in 2009, with both athletes being named Rookie of the Year in the CAA. Baird set the W&M freshman record in all five events she contested last season, and broke the 27-year-old school record in the discus at her second meet. She earned all-conference honors in both the discus and the shot put, and was named All-East after finishing sixth in the discus. This past summer, Baird competed at the USAT&F Junior National Championships in both the discus and the hammer, achieving another sixth-place finish in the discus.
Héroux proved one of the best javelin throwers in the nation when he demolished the school, freshman, and conference records with a throw of 227-5 to win the CAA title. That effort ranked among the nation’s top-20 last year, and third amongst all American Juniors (19 and under). After taking seventh at the NCAA East Regional, he was the first at-large athlete selected to the NCAA Championships, setting W&M records for best finish (19th) and best throw at the national meet (208-7).
More Stimson-guided athletes litter the W&M and CAA record books. In 2005, Ayanna Jones claimed her second shot put title at the CAA Championships, the fifth-consecutive year a Tribe woman had won the event. She would go on to shatter the 23-year-old school record in the event, putting the shot 48’ 6” in the ECAC Championships. 2006 graduate Andy Smith became one of only two athletes in school history to claim four CAA crowns in one event (joining Tyler Steel, winner of the hammer throw from 1997-2000) after winning the javelin for the fourth time at the 2006 conference meet.
Perhaps no event in recent years shows the effect of Stimson’s tutelage more than the women’s heptathlon, where five athletes in the Green and Gold have won the last seven CAA titles, and eight of the nine ever contested, along with two ECAC crowns. Alarice Cesareo earned a pair of titles in 2001 and 2003, and Phi Beta Kappa-graduate Sarah McHale won in 2004. In 2005, Bonnie Meekins won her first title with a then-record score of 4,763 points, before giving way to classmate Brenna Blevins in 2006, who scored 4,806 points.
In 2007, Meekins came back again with another meet record, 5,192 points. Similarly, Blevins won the 2006 ECAC crown with a then-school record total of 5,229, the highest point total not invited to the NCAA Championships that year. Meekins provided the breakthrough the following spring, powering to a score of 5,457 to claim the Eastern title, and a trip to the NCAA meet, where she would place 16th. In 2008, freshman Katie Guevel won the CAA title with a Zable Stadium record 5,158 points, and defended her crown in 2009 with another NCAA provisional-qualifying mark. Guevel set 15 school records and 15 freshman records during her first stellar year at the College.
In 2009, the women’s throwing team swept the shot put at the CAA Championships with the top three showings as Ashley Williams won her first conference title. Williams also qualified to the ECAC Championships in the hammer throw last spring, just missing All-East honors after placing ninth with a career-best throw of 173 feet. Carly Morse, second in the CAA shot put, earned All-East honors indoors with her sixth-place put at the ECAC meet. On the men’s side, high jumper Cam Shriver brought the CAA title to William and Mary for the first time since 1991, and became the first Tribe athlete with both an indoor (2008 IC4A) and outdoor conference title to his credit since 1977. Shriver went on to the NCAA East Regional, where he made himself eligible for the NCAA Championships with his 11th-place finish, and was named CAA Scholar-Athlete of the Year as well as to the CoSIDA/ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District first team.
Stimson began his career at perennial national powerhouse Tennessee, where he helped Volunteer athletes finish in the nation’s top-10 on seven occasions and collect 12 Southeastern Conference titles. His coaching career started at Tennessee as a graduate assistant, helping the Vols win the 1972 NCAA cross country championship. From Knoxville, he moved to J.E.B. Stuart High School in Falls Church, Virginia for one year, then on to Miami University (Ohio) for nine years and back to Tennessee for four more years as the top assistant before coming to Williamsburg.
A native of Falconer, New York, Stimson graduated with honors from Ohio University in 1971 and holds a master’s degree from Miami (Ohio). As an undergraduate, he was the All-Ohio and Central Collegiate shot put champion, as well as a two-time MAC shot put champion. He concluded his athletic career by competing in both the NCAA and AAU national championships in the shot put.
Dan and his wife Rosemary, also a Falconer native, have two children. Their son, Clare, is a local college student. Daughter Krista Crider graduated from W&M in 1996 with a B.S. in biology and earned her master’s degree at the College in 1998. She earned a Ph.D. in the field of genetics and molecular biology at Emory University, and works for the Centers for Disease Control. Krista is a former W&M record holder in the hammer throw, and is the proud mother of two future Tribe record-holders in three-year-old Samuel Daniel Crider, and Kara Elizabeth Crider, born in the spring of 2009.