A constant in USD track and field for the past 33 years announced his departure from the program over the summer.
Dave Gottsleben, who coached both men’s cross country and track and field, announced his retirement in July.
Senior sprinter Joe Reagan said he was shocked when he heard the news.
“Obviously I wish he was with us for one more year, but I’m thankful for what he did for us,” Reagan said. “He truly cared and went above and beyond for his athletes.”
Gottsleben, known by many as “Gotts,” has racked up team achievements in his time at USD.
Between men’s cross country and men’s track and field, he’s coached teams to 20 conference championships, and helped 52 athletes and 12 relay teams achieve All-American status.
Along with the success of his teams, Gottsleben was voted Division II Coach of the Year twice, Regional Coach of the Year eight times and Conference Coach of the Year 17 times.
He was also inducted into the South Dakota Sports Hall of Fame in 2015, Howard Wood Dakota Relays Hall of Fame in 2016 and the Sioux City Relays Hall of Fame in 2001.
“I have been fortunate enough to not only have Dave as my coach, my mentor and my colleague, but as my good friend for the past 30 years,” said Dan Fitzsimmons, the head cross country coach. “He is truly one of the most decorated coaches in USD history.”
Despite his retirement, Gottsleben said he plans to still help out.
“USD athletics, and especially (the cross country) program really means a lot to me, so I expect to be around the team helping coach Fitzsimmons whenever I possibly can,” he said.
Gottsleben, who lives in Yankton, said his retirement plan includes traveling and working on his golf game.
A replacement coach still has yet to be named. Gottsleben said he believes a coach will be promoted from within the current staff.
The future structure of the coaching staff has yet to be determined, said Lucky Huber, director of track and field and cross country.
“We still haven’t decided whether we want a girl’s and a men’s coach yet, or if we want to just have individual event coaches,” Huber said. “Once we figure that out, we look to have everything in place hopefully around January.”
David Herbster, USD’s athletic director, said Gottsleben has impacted many students and faculty members in athletics.
“He has brought Coyote track and field to a national level of relevance and has shaped the lives and careers of thousands of student-athletes,” he said. “(Gottsleben) will be missed as a coach, mentor and teacher, but his legacy will live on.”