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Top Coaches in South Dakota DakotaDome History
Coyote Athletics has enjoyed a long history of success. In its 30 years as the home of the Coyotes, the DakotaDome has produced over 650 All-Americans. While many aspects are involved in athletic success, surely one of the most important is the coaching staff. USD has been fortunate to have been the home of some of the finest coaches in the nation. While many of USD’s coaches have had great successes, the following have been selected as the best coaches in their respective sport in USD history. Combined, these six coaches have won 28 team conference titles and produced 240 All-Americans.
Football - Dave Triplett (1979-88)
In his ten years as head coach of the Coyote football team, Dave Triplett amassed a combined 70-45 record (.609). From 1982-89, Triplett coached Coyote teams to seven consecutive winning seasons, the only time this feat has been accomplished in USD history. In North Central Conference play, Triplett’s teams compiled a combined record of 50-28-3 (.635), which is the best conference record of any USD coach. In 1985-86, the Coyotes made school history by earning back-to-back appearances in the NCAA Division II playoffs, capping the 1986 season with a runner-up finish in the national championship game. In 1985, Triplett was named Kodak College Division One Regional Coach of the Year. During his tenure, Triplett coached 30 All-NCC selections and four All-Americans. Scott Jones, an All-NCC selection who played quarterback for the Coyotes from 1983-86, said that “Coach Triplett was a very intelligent coach. He always taught the mental part of the game and mental toughness. He believed in the student-athlete and the student coming first. It wasn’t just about football; he really cared about you as a person.”
Swimming and Diving - Ron Allen (1991-05)
In his 14 seasons as head coach of USD’s men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams, Ron Allen coached 58 NCC champions and 79 NCAA Division II All-Americans. Allen also coached two national champions in 2000. During his tenure, Allen led the USD men’s team to nine top-ten finishes at the NCAA Division II National Championships, including three top-five finishes and a third-place ranking in 1999. The USD women’s squad consistently ranked in the top-20 in the nation during Allen’s time, including an eighth-place finish in 1999, which ties the highest finish by any Coyote women’s team at a national meet. Allen also led the men’s team to NCC titles in 1997 and 1999, both times overtaking North Dakota, who won the NCC championships every other year from 1986-08. The women’s team consistently placed in the top-five at the NCC Championships, including third in 1998. Six-time All-American John Murman, who swam for USD from 2002-06, said that much of Allen’s success came from his strict practice regimens. “If something wasn’t perfect we’d practice it until we got it right. We would stay after practice and that’s how we perfected our relay starts and exchanges,” Murman said. Allen was named NCC Men’s Coach of the Year four times and Women’s Coach of the Year twice.
Volleyball - Brian Lamppa (2003-07)
Brian Lamppa led the Coyote Volleyball team for 5 seasons and finished his term at USD with an overall record of 75-69 (.520). In his first three seasons, Lamppa led the Coyotes to a 46-38 record (.547), which is the best three-year total in school history. In 2004, Lamppa guided the Coyotes to a second-place finish in the NCC with a 9-3 league record, which was the highest finish ever by any USD team. The team’s performance earned Lamppa the honor of NCC Coach of the Year. The 2004 Coyotes also earned their first-ever berth to the NCAA Division II National Tournament. They won their first-round game before falling to eventual regional champions Concordia-St. Paul. During his tenure, Lamppa coached 11 All-NCC selections, including one Co-MVP and a two-time Defensive Player of the Year. Two-time All-NCC selection Kristen Miller, who played from 2001-05, said that Lamppa’s best quality as a coach was the way he bonded with the team. “He wasn’t just there as a coach but he was someone we could rely on to always be there for us whenever we needed him, whenever it was something we needed on the court or in the classroom,” Miller said.
Track and Field - Dave Gottsleben (1985-present)
Coach Dave Gottsleben has been at the helm of the Coyote men’s track and field team for 26 years. Over the course of his career, he has coached 150 All-America selections and six national champions. Gottsleben has earned 18 conference or regional Coach of the Year honors and has twice been named USTFCCCA National Coach of the Year. At national meets, Gottsleben has led his teams to eight top-ten finishes, including two third place finishes (1997 indoor, 2000 outdoor). While competing in the NCC under Gottsleben, the Coyote men won 14 conference titles. That success has continued as USD transitions to Division I status, as the Coyotes have won two of the past four Great West Championship meets. 10-time All-American Lionel McPhaull, who was a sprinter for USD from 1994-1997, said that Coach Gottsleben has a great ability to sell the USD tradition to incoming student-athletes. “[Coach Gottsleben] has been leading young men down a path of success in their athletic careers for many years. He is a motivator. He would always let you know that you had the ability to make it through tough intervals at workouts,” McPhaull said.
Women’s Basketball - Chad Lavin (1982-86, 1998-08)
In 14 seasons at USD, Chad Lavin compiled an overall record of 273-138 (.664), including five NCC titles and 11 top five NCC finishes. At USD, Lavin earned seven conference or regional Coach of the Year honors, and in 2008 was named the Russell Athletic/WBCA NCAA Division II Coach of the Year. He coached 28 All-NCC selections, four All-America honors, and a two-time National Player of the Year. Under Lavin, the Coyotes made seven NCAA Division II national tournament appearances, including a trip to the national title game in 2008. In Lavin’s final season at USD (2007-08), he guided the Coyotes to the greatest season in USD women’s basketball history. The 2007-08 Coyotes had an overall record of 33-2, including a 12-0 NCC mark, which made them only the sixth team in league history to remain undefeated in conference play. The Coyotes ended the season as national runners-up in USD’s first appearance in the NCAA Division II National Championship final. “Most people might think that Coach Lavin’s greatest accomplishment was taking [the 2008 team] to the national championships, but knowing him, I think he’d rather be remembered for the relationships he formed as a coach,” said two-time All-NCC selection Ashley Robinette, who was a Coyote from 2004-08. “He always cared about the girls more than he cared about the game. He made you want to work hard for him and always listened to what you had to say.”
Men’s Basketball - Dave Boots (1988-present)
Dave Boots, in his 22nd season as the head coach of USD’s men’s basketball team, is not only an outstanding coach at USD, but has also become one of the greatest coaches in the nation. In his 20 seasons as a NCAA Division II coach, he ranks among the top of the national all-time career wins list. Since arriving at USD in 1988, Boots has led the Coyotes to 22 consecutive winning seasons, the longest record of success in South Dakota basketball history, with a total record of 465-182 (.718). Even as the Coyotes have begun their transition into Division I play, the 20 win mark has been reached each of the past two seasons. Boots has led the Coyotes to seven conference titles, two North Central Region championships, and 10 NCAA Division II national tournament appearances, including five straight from 2003-08. He has coached over 40 all-conference selections and three All-Americans. Two-time All-American Tommie King, who played for the Coyotes from 2002-2004, said he enjoyed working with Boots because of his laid back personality. “Coach Boots was good to me as both a player and a student. He really knows how to help players develop and show their talents,” King said. Boots has earned 14 regional or conference Coach of the Year honors at USD.
By University of South Dakota Sports Information