NEW ORLEANS – The U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) is privileged to announce the seven coaches who will be inducted into the USTFCCCA Coaches Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2021!
Peter Farrell, Thomas “T.E.” Jones, Don Larson, Dr. Nancy Meyer, John Moon, Dennis Shaver and John Weaver will all be enshrined in the USTFCCCA Coaches Hall of Fame, for not only their historic and incredible accomplishments as cross country and/or track & field coaches, but also the long-lasting impact their contributions have had – and will continue to have – on the sports they coached.
QUICK LINK: USTFCCCA Coaches Hall of Fame History
These seven coaches will be honored at the 2021 USTFCCCA Coaches Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on Wednesday, December 15, at the USTFCCCA Convention in Orlando, Florida. This is the largest group to be inducted in the past 13 years, as the Class of 2008 was also seven members.
Started in 1995, the USTFCCCA Coaches Hall of Fame exists to recognize coaches who have brought great distinction to themselves, to their institutions and to the sports of cross country and track & field. Each of the honorees exemplifies the qualities of dedication to the sport, leadership and passion for their profession and serves as an inspiration to coaches everywhere.
The ascension from assistant to head coach can sometimes be rocky, but it went without a hitch at LSU in the summer of 2004.
That’s because the Tigers had an ace already on staff in Dennis Shaver. His challenge was as big as they get – continue the juggernaut program built by Hall of Fame coach Pat Henry.
Shaver’s incredible success has been so palpable that he earned his own induction into the USTFCCCA Coaches Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2021.
It didn’t take a rocket scientist to see Shaver was the perfect fit at LSU. He was the behind-the-scenes engineer who guided the women’s sprint/hurdle group to perennial success in the nine previous years as an assistant coach with the Tigers. His athletes won 18 individual and seven relay titles at the NCAA Indoor or Outdoor championships during this period.
Shaver’s now 40-year coaching career started innocently after playing quarterback and cornerback/safety at UT Arlington, from where he earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in physical education and education, respectively. His first coaching job was as an assistant in football and track & field at Hutchinson CC, about 40 miles south of his hometown of Salina, Kansas. After one year he was promoted to head coach of track & field while remaining an assistant in football.
His sporting gears shifted exclusively to track & field when he took the head coaching position at Barton CC in Great Bend, Kansas. There he continued the strong men’s team and built a powerhouse women’s program that won eight NJCAA titles – three indoor, three outdoor and two cross country, including the first national triple crown in junior college history in 1990-91, as the Cougars swept the cross country, indoor and outdoor titles.
From there, Shaver joined Harvey Glance at Auburn following the retirement of Hall of Famer Mel Rosen. After four years on the Plains, Shaver jumped at the chance to join Henry’s staff in Baton Rouge, where his nine seasons as an assistant became the springboard to the level of head coach.
The long list of athletes coached by Shaver includes the program’s two winners of The Bowerman, Kimberlyn Duncan (2012) and Sha’Carri Richardson (2019). Richardson is one of 10 men or women Shaver guided to the NCAA title in the 100 meters alone, including the versatile Xavier “X-Man” Carter. LSU’s sprint depth has regularly impressed as the Tigers have won 26 NCAA titles in relay events under Shaver.
Shaver has led the Tigers to a pair of national team titles. The women captured the first, back in 2008, when they beat Arizona State by just four points. Then, in 2021, Shaver’s men romped to a decisive NCAA victory behind six event titles – only the Jesse Owens-led Ohio State team of 1936 has won more in a single NCAA meet with seven.
More than 30 of Shaver’s athletes have continued to the Olympic stage, with 10 earning medals – including three at the Tokyo Games.
Shaver’s list of honors includes four National Coach of the Year awards from the USTFCCCA as well as once being named as the national Assistant Coach of the Year. He has been named Regional Coach of the Year nine times and the SEC Coach of the Year eight times. He served as President of the USTFCCCA from 2017-19.
Shaver and his wife Connie have two children – son Dale and daughter Lindsay.