Stacy resigns as track coach

by Laura Dillavou

The men’s and women’s track teams will see yet another new coach for the 2005-2006 school year.

The change comes after former coach Wayne Stacy announced his resignation from the program after putting in just two years as head coach. This will mark the fourth turnover in the track program in just five years.

Athletic Director John Sirianni said the decision to resign was a personal choice for Stacy and would best benefit himself and the team.

“From my perspective, [Stacy] was between a rock and a hard place,” Sirianni said. “The athletes may not have seen it that way, but he did the very best he could given the circumstances.”

Runners and throwers have dealt with many changes in the past few years. For some, Stacy’s efforts and skills were put to good use.

“He worked with the throwers quite a bit and was successful, I’d say,” junior Kelsey Hagerty said. “Four went to the national track meet, so in that respect, he was good for our team.”

Given many recent changes in the track and field and cross-country programs, the low numbers of the programs have reflected frustrating years for both the administration and athletes.

“Our other programs – the coaches have been here for 10, 15, 20 years,” Sirianni said. “With high turnover in a program, there is no tradition, no home base, no respect.”

Hagerty, who only worked with Stacy for one year, said the announcement didn’t come as a complete surprise to her.

“I could foresee it coming,” she said. “His timing was interesting, but overall, I wasn’t surprised when he said he wasn’t coming back.”

Kevin Ferguson, former assistant track coach, was also prepared for the announcement.

“He had his personal reasons for leaving, so when he resigned, it was not a surprise.”

Picking up the pieces, Sirianni said the main concern with hiring a new track coach was personal investment and longevity for the program.

“The track and field squad has been way too small for way too many years,” Sirianni said. “We want someone who is going to invest themselves in this community and in the program – someone who can build the program and numbers up.”

This time around, Sirianni feels he has just the right combination. The newest coach to join Simpson’s athletic program is David Cleveland, who has assumed the position of head coach for both the men’s and women’s track programs for the 2005-2006 school year.

Cleveland was the head track coach at Cedar Falls High School from 1994 to 2005. Beyond coaching teams to numerous top finishes for the school, Cleveland was also named Missouri Valley Conference Coach of the Year four times (1998, 1999, 2000, 2002) and named Iowa Association of Track Coaches Regional Coach of the Year in 1998 and 1999.

“We are very optimistic about the new coach,” Ferguson said. “He seems very motivated and comes from a successful program. He will be a good fit at Simpson.”

According to Sirianni, Cleveland’s strengths lie in his success record and knowledge of Iowa track and field. In addition, Cleveland’s father also attended Simpson where he was a three-time conference high jump champion.

“He has the Simpson connection and is going to fit in just fine,” Sirianni said. “He has good relations all over the state and that will help with recruiting and building up our program. We are very excited about Dave Cleveland.”

Cleveland, who is still residing in Cedar Falls, was not available for comment. Stacy was also unavailable for comment.