Sean Denard is an American track and field coach currently working at California State University Northridge. He has coached 2 NCAA National Champions and 45 NCAA All-Americans in the throws; two of his most notable athletes include Olympian Justin Rodhe and Sean Donnelly.
Denard grew up in Naperville, Illinois where he competed in track and field and football. As a senior he competed in the state meet in both the shot put and the discus and won a state championship as a member of the football team, earning all league honors in both sports.
Next he moved to Alliance, Ohio where he studied at Mount Union College and was a member of the football and track teams. Denard was a member of the 2008 NCAA Championship Football Team and earned All-American honors in the Discus. Denard won 5 individual OAC titles in the throws during his time at Mount Union and set the All-Ohio record in the shot put his senior year while earning the award for Most Outstanding Athlete of the OAC.
After graduating from Mount Union Denard became a football coach at his alma mater, Naperville North High School where he coached several future power 5 linemen. During this time he also began working at North Central College as their throws coach and studying to earn his Masters Degree. Denard's master project, the Athlete Mentorship Program, would later become adopted by the athletic department and is still active today in developing relationships between student athletes.
During his time at North Central College Denard would coach 5 NCAA All-Americans in the throws, aid the men's and women's programs to Back-to-Back indoor and outdoor conference championships and help the men to 3 top 5 NCAA program finishes including a 3rd place finale in 2014 which came down to the final event when North Central, his alma mater (and eventual NCAA Championship Team) Mount Union and Wisconsin La Crosse were all tied going into the 4x400m relay.
An avid fan of the sport, Denard also collaborated to create the throws media resource Throwholics. The first throwing social media of its kind, Throwholics would provide fans with global coverage of the throws and combined to have a followership of nearly a quarter million accounts across all platforms.
Following his time at North Central Denard was hired at Grand Valley State University to coach the throws; while here he worked with 2 NCAA Champions and 40 NCAA All-Americans in the throws. No other coach in the NCAA was as successful as Denard during this time period. Denard's first NCAA Champion at GVSU, Darien Thornton, would surpass the hammer throw meet record by more than 2 feet and finish his career as a 10 time All-American. Denard's second National Champion, Bobbie Goodwin, a former walk-on won the NCAA title in the weight throw with a 3 foot PR to help the team to NCAA Runner-Up Performances. Denard's throwers would go on to score over 100 points the NCAA Championships and help his teams to 18 GLIAC Team titles as well as 15 top 5 finishes and 5 NCAA Program of the Year Awards.
While at GVSU Denard established the Laker Elite as a training group for professional athletes to prepare for the 2016 and 2020 Olympics. Professional throwers who trained at GVSU for at least 1 season included Olympians Alex Rose and Tia Brooks, USA Champions Dani Bunch and Tim Glover, USA Runner-Up Brittany Smith and NCAA Champions Sean Donnelly, Darien Thornton and Nick Baatz, among others.
USATF Indoor Discus National Championships
Denard Also teamed with USATF during his time in Grand Rapids to form the USA Indoor Discus National Championships. The world renowned meet brought in Americas best throwers to compete every December just prior to Christmas. Hundreds of high school throwers would attend the clinic in the morning and even more would gather that night to watch the competition. This clinic reunited Denard with Rodhe, Donnelly and Dane Miller every Christmas for half a decade.
The Competition featured many great USA throwers as they rose to World Class Status including Olympians Andrew Evans and Alex Rose, World Championship Competitors Sam Mattis, Reggie Jagers, Brian Williams, John Bowman, African Champion Cici Onyekwere, NACAC Champion Becky Famurewa, and other top women including Rachel Dincoff and Alex Morgan.
Denard left GVSU to begin working at Cal State Northridge in the summer of 2019; the once great powerhouse for throws based out of Los Angeles has been decimated by bad luck the past several seasons and with Denard at the helm they aim to rebuild the storied tradition. This April Daniel Stahl will be training at CSUN in preparation for the 2020 Olympics and a world record attempt in the discus with his coach Vesteinn Hafsteinsson
Coaching Influences Denard has been able to work with several Hall of Fame Coaches from several different sports including:
IHSA Hall of Fame Head Football Coach Larry McKeon
AFCA Hall of Fame College Football Coach Larry Kehres
USTFCCCA Hall of Fame College Track Coach John Homon
USTFCCCA Coach of the Century | Al Carius
USTFCCCA Hall of Fame College Track Coach | Frank Gramarosso
Future USTFCCCA Hall of Fame Coach Jerry Baltes
LSU Throws Coach Greg Watson
In all these coaches have combined to win 50 team NCAA Titles and have coached thousands of NCAA All-Americans.
Other Coaching Influences Jud Logan, Ray Robinson, Dane Miller, John Dagata, Erik Whitsitt, John Frazier, Peter Miller, David Dumble, Dan Lange, and Dr. Bondarchuk.
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