Wisconsin track coach Ed Nuttycombe announces retirement - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Wisconsin track coach Ed Nuttycombe announces retirement



MADISON -- After 30 years, 26 Big Ten Conference championships and countless contributions to his sport, Ed Nuttycombe is retiring from his position as head coach of the Wisconsin men's track and field program.
Nuttycombe announced his retirement Friday, following the completion of his 30th season as the Badgers' head coach.
"I just feel the time is right," Nuttycombe said. "There is probably never a ‘good time' to walk away from something that has meant so much to you for so long, but I'm excited about what the future holds for me and my family."
"Ed's career is unparalleled," UW Director of Athletics Barry Alvarez said. "The success is obvious when you look at the numbers, but the way he succeeded with integrity and touched so many people across his program and his sport is what speaks volumes about the job he did as a head coach.
"To be able to adapt to all the changes in society and in student-athletes over the last 30 years while maintaining such a high level of success is truly remarkable."
"I've been fortunate to have the opportunity to work with Ed as a colleague and as an administrator during my career," Alvarez added. "I hate to see him go, but I wish the best for Ed, Diane and their family in retirement."
Nuttycombe will remain with the Badgers through the summer, with his official retirement date yet to be determined. He plans on keeping his residence in Madison with his wife, Diane, and continuing to be involved with the track program in his retirement.
"I certainly want to remain part of the program at some level, and I'll have that discussion with whoever succeeds me," he said. "These guys haven't seen the last of me."
UW's next coach would be fortunate to have Nuttycombe's expertise to lean on. He leaves the head coach's post with a record unequaled in the history of UW and the Big Ten.
No coach in conference history -- in any sport -- has won as many Big Ten titles as the 26 Nuttycombe's teams collected, including the 2012 outdoor and 2013 indoor crowns.
Add in cross country -- a program for which he was responsible but didn't directly coach -- and UW collected 52 Big Ten championships under Nuttycombe's watch. That's 15 more than the rest of the league combined (37) since he took over the Badgers program in 1984.
Indiana and Minnesota are tied for the next highest totals in that span -- with nine each.
Since 2000, Wisconsin has won a total of 30 Big Ten titles between cross country and track, with the rest of the conference combining for 10.
On 10 occasions under Nuttycombe's direction, the Badgers swept the cross country and indoor and outdoor track titles in the same season to earn the Big Ten "Triple Crown."
After Nuttycombe took over the Badgers' running programs, UW claimed four NCAA championships in cross country, most recently in 2011.
The crowning achievement of Nuttycombe's decorated career, however, was winning the team title -- the first ever for a Big Ten program -- at the 2007 NCAA Indoor Championships. The national championship represented one of the Badgers' four NCAA podium finishes under Nuttycombe, which included a third-place finish indoors in 2013.
For his part in UW's success, Nuttycombe earned Big Ten Coach of the Year honors an unprecedented 22 times. He also was named Great Lakes Regional Coach of the Year by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association 11 times since 1995, including for the 2013 indoor season.
After leading the Badgers to the 2007 NCAA title, Nuttycombe was named USTFCCCA National Coach of the Year.
However, for Nuttycombe, it was always about the athletes wearing "Wisconsin" across their chests.
Ten Badgers combined to claim a total of 11 individual NCAA championships under Nuttycombe, including the five national titles claimed by Chris Solinsky from 2005-07. UW had three champions outdoors in 1997 alone, with Reggie Torian in the 110 hurdles, Pascal Dobert in the 3000 steeplechase and James Dunkleberger in the decathlon.
Solinsky's school-record 11 All-America citations were among the remarkable total of 187 All-America awards collected by UW athletes during his tenure.
Nuttycombe's program produced five Olympians, including three that competed on the sport's ultimate stage at the 2012 Games in London: Mohammed Ahmed, Evan Jager and Matt Tegenkamp.
In addition to running the Badgers' program, Nuttycombe was specifically responsible for coaching a number of event areas over the course of his career.
A specialty was always the hurdles, and he coached Torian to a collegiate-record time of 7.47 seconds in the indoor 60 hurdles that still stands today. Most recently, while coaching UW's combined-event athletes, he guided Japheth Cato to three straight Big Ten titles and consecutive NCAA runner-up finishes in the indoor heptathlon. Cato owns the top six heptathlon marks in Big Ten history, and three of the 11 best scores ever by a collegian.
While Nuttycombe never coached the Badgers' cross country team, his track record with hiring coaches to lead the program was impeccable. Each of the three coaches Nuttycombe tabbed to mentor the Badgers' distance runners -- Martin Smith (1985, 1988), Jerry Schumacher (2005) and Mick Byrne (2011) -- won national titles at UW.
Nuttycombe's track record in the classroom was equally as impressive. His athletes collected 19 Capital One Academic All-America honors and a total of 291 Academic All-Big Ten awards.
A 1977 graduate of Virginia Tech, Nuttycombe came to Wisconsin as an assistant coach in 1980 under head coach Dan McClimon. Following McClimon's tragic passing in April 1983, Nuttycombe was appointed the Badgers' interim coach on his 31st birthday. He officially took over as head coach prior to the 1984 season.
Nuttycombe inherited a strong program and, over the next 30 years, built it into something even stronger.
"Looking back, I'm proud of so many things we've accomplished over the years," Nuttycombe said, "but it's especially fulfilling to be able to say that we built a complete program, from cross country and distance runners to sprinters and throwers and decathletes.
"I've had the great fortune to be well-supported by our administration, work with some of the best coaches in the sport and coach some tremendous athletes," he added. "It's the people that have come through this program that have made it great to be a Badger."
Nuttycombe By The Numbers
• 2007 NCAA Indoor Champions - Only Big Ten team to win indoor national title
• 11 NCAA Individual Championships
• 187 All-America Honors
• 26 Big Ten Championships - Winningest coach in Big Ten history
• 10 Big Ten "Triple Crowns"
• 165 Individual Big Ten Championships
• 19 Academic All-America Honors
• 291 Academic All-Big Ten Selections
• 22-Time Big Ten Coach of the Year
• 11-Time Regional Coach of the Year
Reflections on Nuttycombe's Career
Barry Alvarez - UW Director of Athletics
"Ed's career is unparalleled. The success is obvious when you look at the numbers, but the way he succeeded with integrity and touched so many people across his program and his sport is what speaks volumes about the job he did as a head coach. To be able to adapt to all the changes in society and in student-athletes over the last 30 years while maintaining such a high level of success is truly remarkable. I've been fortunate to have the opportunity to work with Ed as a colleague and as an administrator during my career. I hate to see him go, but I wish the best for Ed, Diane and their family in retirement."
Jim Stintzi - Head Coach, Wisconsin Women's Track & Field and Cross Country
"There's not much more to say than point to the fact that nobody in the history of the Big Ten has been as successful as Ed Nuttycombe. He built a championship program by being a great head coach and a great technical coach for the athletes he worked with directly. He's had a positive impact on so many people over the course of 30 years and has been a tremendous person to work alongside. Professionally, we'll miss Nutty, but personally, I'm happy for him and Diane and their family."
Mick Byrne - Head Coach, Wisconsin Men's Cross Country
"I came here five years ago because of Ed Nuttycombe. I knew from the moment I set foot on campus during my first visit that this was a special place, and Ed is a major reason why. I thought we could continue to build a winning program and have fun along the way, and that's exactly what happened. We've won together and had a lot of fun together. Ed's name is synonymous with winning and integrity and everything that goes along with being a Badger. Although we're going to miss him, I'm happy for Ed and Diane and their family."
Mark Guthrie - Assistant Coach, Wisconsin Men's Track & Field
"Coach Nuttycombe's contribution to Wisconsin track and field was his longevity, which provided stability for the student-athlete. He was comfortable in himself, which allowed him to hire accomplished staff members and allowed them to coach their event areas to the best of their expertise. At the Big Ten and national level, his insightfulness to see both sides of an issue allowed him to speak with credibility and brought calm to sensitive issues. His record is unprecedented in the Big Ten and will be the measuring stick used by all who follow him. After knowing Ed for many years, it has truly been a pleasure to work for him these past seven seasons. I wish him and Diane the best in retirement."
Bo Ryan - Head Coach, Wisconsin Men's Basketball
"Our relationship goes way back. Ed and I first crossed paths in 1980 when we were both assistants and the track office was right next to the basketball office. I have just been amazed with his progress as a coach and a teacher. It's been fun to watch his development and his knowledge as he passes it on to his athletes. He's a great role model for his student-athletes, and his hard work and dedication was shown by each and every one of his athletes. When people think of University of Wisconsin and athletics, the name Ed Nuttycombe is always towards the top of the list."
Japheth Cato - 2013 Team Captain, 3-time Big Ten Champion, 2-Time All-American (2010-Present)
"I'm happy for Nutty, but I'm also sad that I won't get to spend my last year next to him. He's been my Wisconsin father. We've spent basically every day together for four years. Knowing how much he loves the sport has influenced how passionate I am. As a mentor, he's taught me to keep going no matter what, keep pushing through and don't let anything stop you. As a father figure, he's been there for me through the good times and the bad. I'm extremely thankful for the chance to have had the opportunity to spend four years with him."
Maverick Darling - 2013 Team Captain, 2-Time Big Ten Champion, 2-Time All-American (2010-Present)
"Words can't say what Nutty has meant to the program. He's been the face of the Badgers for 30 years and it's incredible that he's made the program so competitive year-in and year-out when it comes to competing for Big Ten championships and being a national-caliber team. As a guy that aspires to be a coach one day, he's someone you can look at and say that he does it right way, has a positive influence on his athletes and makes it fun while also making it known what the goals and objectives are. I'm sad to see him go, but he's left this program as one of the best in the country. It's amazing to see what he's done for us."
Chris Solinsky, 5-Time NCAA Champion, 11-Time All-American (2004-07)
"When I think of Wisconsin track and field, I think of Ed Nuttycombe. He encompasses the program. He's always had a great way of connecting with everyone on the team, whether it was distance runners, sprinters or field event guys. He knew everyone personally and was able to bring everyone together as a team. I think he's going to be very missed. For me to be a part of that (2007 NCAA championship) team, not only to be the first Big Ten team to win an NCAA title, but Nutty has given so much to this program it was great to be able to give something back to him and be part of such a special team."
Matt Tegenkamp - 2-Time Olympian (2002-05)
"I know there was already a storied tradition at Wisconsin but he certainly lived up to that billing and took Wisconsin to another level in the Big Ten Conference. Throughout the season, whether it was cross country or track, you always knew when it was championship season. With his calm and collected coaching manner, you knew it was simply time to get it done. Track and field has a lot of moving parts, but he made the Badger squad one cohesive championship unit. The Badgers were always in good hands with Nutty at the helm. He's had a great career and he's definitely earned the right to ride off into the sunset."
Greg Gill, 2-Time Big Ten Champion (1995-98)
"I am very fortunate to have known Coach Nuttycombe over the years. He is not only a coach and a friend but also a visionary. He was willing to take chances on many athletes, myself included, when others might have passed. He brought together other talented coaches who also shared his confidence. Through those efforts, Coach Nutty was able to turn Wisconsin track into a nationally-recognized program. I wish him nothing but the best in his retirement. He has certainly earned it."
Joe Detmer, 2-Time Big Ten Champion, 3-Time All-American (2004-07)
"Nutty has been a staple of Wisconsin track for three decades and he has been instrumental in making the program the success it has been.  That's even more impressive when you consider the integrity with which he did his work. Nutty has a knack for coaching because of the way he balanced things. His technical knowledge is broad and well-rounded, allowing him to coach virtually anything.  He's had such a far-reaching impact in all aspects of my life, that it would be a discredit to him to acknowledge him only for my successes on the track.  I'm just really thankful for the time I was able to be an athlete on his team."
Tim Hacker, 1985 NCAA Cross Country Champion (1982-86)
"Before Coach Nuttycombe, there were no Big Ten triple crowns. He made it easy to be a Badger track fan! His enthusiasm for track is infectious, and he makes me want to spike up just thinking about it. I can't imagine a Badger track meet without him patrolling the backstretch in his trademark hat. It will be a big hat to fill."
Al Toon, Member of Nuttycombe's First Big Ten Championship Team in 1984 (1982-84)
"I played for Ed's dad (Charles Nuttycombe) in high school and it's a great family. I ran track with some of his brothers and sisters. His dad was instrumental in providing some life direction for me in high school and, with the connection with Ed, coming to UW was kind of familiar for me and made it an easier transition. He's obviously had an extremely successful tenure at the university. The university is very proud of what he's been able to accomplish in his time here and I'm proud to say that I was a small part of it."
Tony Simmons, 2-Time Big Ten Champion, All-American (1994-98)
"Coach Nutty is the best track coach I have had. He believed in speedy football/track athletes to make his program better and he was correct. He made me into an NCAA All-American in track, and for that, I want to personally thank him. I want to wish Coach Nuttycombe onto a future of relaxation and excitement. And thanks for the triple crowns, I will never forget those times. Thanks, Coach!"


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