Since early in the cross country season when former Oswego State track coach Bobby Wilson abruptly resigned, the track and field and cross country teams have been functioning under the direction of assistant coach Stephanie Grimm. But now, the team has found a new coach to guide them, and he comes with the promise of bringing the team something they haven’t had in a long time: stability. That coach is David Thompson.
Thompson, a former track and field participant himself, has many years of experience with the sport. He was the captain of his college team at North Central University. Thompson was a Division III All-American 11 times, and has competed with some of the best runners and jumpers in the country for a spot on the Olympic team.
Thompson also has 10 years experience coaching collegiately. His first head coaching job was at Ashford University, coaching three national qualifiers, and coaching his team to set over 20 school records during his tenure.
Thompson moved to Dubuque in 2009 and picked up right where he left off. In his time with the University, he coached over a dozen national qualifiers, and multiple All-Americans, including the school’s first ever woman All-American in the triple jump.
Thompson knows that one of the most important things toward building a competitive team at the collegiate level is stability.
“There needs to be a consistent voice and philosophy with the coaching staff in order to recruit student-athletes to the University,” he said.
He also knows that success won’t come immediately, but with time and a set of coaches who are devoted to making this team better, they can do some great things.
Thompson also knows that the responsibility doesn’t just fall on him, but it also falls on the students he is coaching.
“To me…I want kids in the program who are passionate about the sport,” he said. “Kids who realize they are going to be the future leaders of tomorrow so they carry themselves as such in the classroom.”
On top of stability, Thompson knows that good recruiting is a key part of building a successful team, and he thinks that coaching here in Oswego might be the perfect spot for him to reach out to multiple areas.
“I’m excited about the potential of recruiting the Buffalo, Rochester and Canadian areas and the possibilities that lie in the New York metropolitan area,” he said.
A lot of the prior problems that have come with the Lakers have been because of inconsistency in the coaching staff. Constant upheaval in coaching will cause any college student, or even professional player, to be confused and probably dissuaded. So a big question for Thompson coming into this job is whether he will go the distance in his attempt to bring this team back to where it once was. Luckily for those students who are on the team, it looks like Thompson will be here for the long haul.
“I love the support of Athletic Administration,” Thompson said. “That’s really all any coach wants is the support of school and athletic administration to be able to build their program.”
A coach as talented and with a track record as good as Thompson is great to have, but some may be skeptical that he might move to a higher division if given the opportunity, as did Wilson, when he moved to Central Michigan in the middle of the cross country season. Anyone worried about Thompson making such a drastic move can rest assured that he has no such intentions.
“I have had the opportunity to move up to D-I or D-II jobs my passion lies in the D-III philosophy and student-athlete and I do not see myself wanting to move to bigger universities.”
Thompson is bringing an aspect to the Oswego State team that hasn’t been had in a long time: consistency. He and coach Grimm are 100 percent committed to success, and that sort of attitude should rub off on the members of the track and field and cross country teams. If Thompson is true to his word, the Lakers should have a great coach, and many years of success and opportunity to look forward to.