Mustangs Hope To Build On Record-Breaking Indoor Season
Since beginning his tenure in 1988, head coach Dave Wollman has built one of the very best NCAA track and field programs in the country. During the decade between 1995-2005, no other program in the country posted the across-the-board success that SMU did - NCAA top-5 finishes in both men's and women's track and field along with representatives in the NCAA Cross Country Championships. Under Wollman's guidance, the Mustangs have won eight top-four NCAA championship trophies and returned to the top 20 in 2008, taking 19th at the NCAA Outdoor Championships.
Since his arrival on the Hilltop, SMU student-athletes have earned nearly 200 All-America awards, and in the last eight years, his student-athletes have been honored as All-Americans 89 times. Wollman has also coached 34 NCAA Champions during his tenure - a number that very few coaches in NCAA history have attained. His athletes have broken seven NCAA collegiate records.
Wollman's reputation as a coach has attracted many premier performers to the SMU campus. Back in 1988, Wollman inherited a Mustang track and field program that had very few returning letter winners. He immediately brought in an outstanding coaching staff, recruited several extremely talented athletes and built a closeness among team members. Wollman has been the architect of the SMU women's team, which was just a year old when he arrived in 1988.
As storied as Mustang track and field has been in the past, the exciting challenge of breaking new ground for SMU women's track and field lies ahead for Wollman.
"The potential for the future is directly related to the level of passion of our student-athletes," Wollman said. "There's a famous quote: `There are two kinds of people - people who want to fit in, and people who want to stand out.' We're looking for the student-athlete who has the courage, the focus and the passion needed to separate themselves from the pack. "We now have elite athletes in numerous events, and look to continue the excellence and tradition that attracts top-level talent from all over the world. Athletes choose to come to SMU because of the combination of quality coaching and quality academics that it offers. I honestly believe that SMU is one of the greatest opportunities for a young person from anywhere in the world."
Wollman's status as an elite coach was reinforced at the 2000, 2004 and 2008 Olympic Games. He has coached multiple athletes at the Games, including Bronze Medalist Aleksander Tammert, finalists Libor Charfreitag and Hannes Hopley and Michael Robertson.
In addition, Wollman earned the title of "Master Coach" by the U.S. Track & Field Coaches Association - the highest level that a coach can achieve and an honor based on success. He was tabbed to serve as coach of the U.S. team at a competition in the off-season.
"I am extremely proud of every student-athlete, present and past," Wollman said. "We continue to have exceptional talent at SMU, but the most amazing ingredient in the makeup of these young people is their personal qualities. Their parents should be proud."
Wollman's peers have taken notice of his coaching expertise, as he has been selected to speak at a variety of clinics all over the world and was selected to serve as an assistant coach for the 1995 Junior Pan Am Games in Santiago, Chile. He was enshrined into the prestigious Mt. SAC Relays Hall of Fame in 2004 - an honor bestowed upon the only best coaches in the United States. In 2005, Wollman was honored in his home state when he was selected to the Indiana Track and Field Hall of Fame.
Wollman came to SMU after six years as an assistant at Stanford, where he coached two Olympians, four NCAA champions and 44 All-Americans.
Prior to Stanford, Wollman was an assistant at Purdue from 1981-82 and a teacher and coach at Concord High School in Elkhart, Ind., from 1979-81.
Wollman received a bachelor's degree in physical education and business education from Indiana Central University in Indianapolis in 1979, and was later inducted into the school's Hall of Fame. He won the NCAA Division II shot put championship in 1977 and was runner-up the next two seasons. He also was a four-year starter at defensive end for the football team.
At Stanford, Wollman was very active in community relations. He and his wife, Shelley, were co-founders and directors of the Champs Foundation, the San Francisco 49ers' football camp for underprivileged children in the Bay area. Shelley was a member of the 49ers' public relations staff for six years before moving to Dallas.
Born in Highland Park, Mich., Wollman graduated from Wawasee High School in Syracuse, Ind.