2012 Iowa Conference champions
PELLA—New Central College men’s and women’s track and field coach Joe Dunham is taking over duties as head men’s and women’s cross country coach as well. Stephen Fyfe, who is serving as interim head coach this season, is being promoted to associate head men’s and women’s cross country coach, and will continue to lead daily team workouts. Jay Rhoten will continue to serve as assistant coach.
Fyfe, an associate professor of computer science, will also remain as an assistant men’s and women’s track and field coach, coordinating distance event training.
“We’ve taken a serious look at our staffing model to address how we can best provide continuity in our cross country program for our student-athletes and also get an effective recruiting program in place,” said athletics director Al Dorenkamp. “We’ve had good discussions with our staff about how to structure that and think we have a great opportunity with Coach Dunham and Coach Fyfe.”
Dunham replaces David Paulsen, who resigned as cross country coach prior to the season. From 2004-07 Dunham served as head men’s and women’s cross country coach at St. Norbert College (Wis.) and was men’s and women’s track and field coach as well. A three-time cross country all-America honoree, Dunham competed at Denison Univ. (Ohio) and Keene State College (N.H.).
During Dunham’s tenure at St. Norbert, the Green Knights broke 41 school records and had numerous NCAA Division III meet qualifiers while capturing an individual national title in the 800 meters. His squads consistently placed near the top of the Midwest Conference.
Earlier Dunham spent two years as an assistant at Trinity College (Conn.), helping the women’s cross country squad place second in the 2003 NCAA Division III meet. He earned a master’s degree at Trinity.
“Joe is new to Central but I have been impressed with his passion for both our cross country and track and field programs,” Dorenkamp said. “He’s got experience in both sports and has already been able to dedicate time in the fall to help out in cross country, particularly in recruiting.”
"I look forward to joining Coach Fyfe and Coach Rhoten as part of the cross country coaching staff,” Dunham said. “They have provided great leadership this season and our runners have stepped up to the challenge.
"A lot of great runners have come through this program, and I look forward to continuing that tradition as we move forward."
Fyfe, a 1987 Central graduate, is in his 10th season on the Dutch cross country staff. He was a three-time cross country letterwinner and earned four letters in track and field at Central. He continues to compete in road races on the masters level and has completed 13 marathons. Fyfe earned masters and doctoral degrees at Iowa State University.
Fyfe is serving as Central’s interim head cross country coach for the second time in three seasons after filling in for most of the 2006 campaign as well.
“We appreciate Stephen’s willingness to step in and lead our program and the interest he takes in our student-athletes,” Dorenkamp said. “Our runners have a lot of confidence in him and in his ability to provide the training they need to be successful.”
Fyfe is enthused about working with Dunham in providing steady leadership for the program.
“From the time Joe arrived here, we’ve talked a lot and our philosophies are extremely similar,” Fyfe said. “I see us working very well together.
“After the last few years we feel like we’ve hit a point where we need to have some stability. That’s all that we’re missing. Hopefully now the program can really take off.”
Fyfe said his experience as interim coach made him receptive to taking on a larger role.
“The kids we have in the program are good kids and I really enjoy working with them,” he said. “They’ve created an environment athletes like coming into. Several of them have said that the biggest reason they’re here at Central is because of their interaction with our student-athletes.”
With a popular on-campus cross country course along with a new Balsam polyurethane outdoor track at Ron and Joyce Schipper Stadium and a new Mondo indoor track surface set to be installed in H.S. Kuyper Fieldhouse in December, Central’s running facilities rank among the best in Division III. But Fyfe said there are other things that will draw runners to Central as well.
“I think they’ll be attracted to the environment we have with our current athletes,” he said. “I think they’ll see them as a group of people they want to be with and run with.
“And I hope in Joe (Dunham) and I, they see people they can trust their training to and know that they will get better here.”
Dorenkamp also announced that a new assistant coaching position is being created for men’s and women’s track and field. A search will begin soon.