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What’s the difference between a good athletic program and a powerhouse?

About 40 more kids on the roster, if you ask Doane's Head Track Coach Ed Fye.

Because after all the national championships and All-Americans, after the national record holders and NAIA Hall of Famers - the thing that sets the Doane program apart in Fye’s eyes is the 120 names on his roster -- about 40-to-60-more than any other conference team.

That tells him kids want to compete at Doane and be a part of an incredible tradition.

That’s good - because they truly are competing for Doane.

Doane’s track and field athletes don’t compete for men’s and women’s teams. There is only one team.

And they really don’t talk much about what kind of athlete you are. They talk about what kind of teammate you are.

It starts in practice with something called the “commitment line” - a line across the front of Fuhrer Field House. Each athlete sets individual and team goals and makes a commitment to track and field, to teammates and academics.

When they cross that line, they bring their best effort with them.

Effort - they hear time and again -- is the only thing about track they can control.

They are not a flashy team.

Although the program attracts some international athletes, 80 percent are “Rural Routers”-- athletes from small towns and farms.

They are not all stars when they arrive, but they will be before they graduate.

They pull a little respect on with their jerseys.

Doane is a giant of the Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC) and the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics.

In 2009, Doane won both the men’s and women’s indoor GPAC Championships, the only college to ever win both men’s and women’s indoor team championships in the same year. Doane also won the GPAC outdoor championships, the only school to win both indoor and outdoor championships in the same year in the history of the conference.

At the national level, both the men’s and women’s teams placed in the Top 10 at the indoor championship meet for the fifth consecutive year.

Three Doane athletes were inducted into the NAIA Track and Field Hall of Fame in 2007. Doane coaches are leaders in NAIA organizations.

All because of tradition.

If you don’t think tradition and team philosophies make a difference, then you haven’t been at one of those meets where 80 Doane athletes are lined up on the last leg of the mile relay cheering their teammates on.

Or when the entire team gets in the bleachers in the winter to cheer for other programs like men’s and women’s basketball.

The result is the kind of numbers any program would love to have:

Numbers like 75 event National Champions, 19 consecutive women’s conference championships and 573 All-American Honors.

Fye and other coaches are more likely to brag about the team’s academic All-Americans, the 92 percent graduation rate among track members and the consecutive NAIA Men's & Women's Track & Field Champions of Character Awards they brought home from the national meet.

Year after year, Doane track and field athletes graduate with memories that will stay with them for a lifetime, about conference championships and personal bests, about being a part of a close team that knew it could do something great.

Coaches don’t worry about how many seniors are finishing their careers or who will follow the footsteps of a national champion. Because it’s not about individuals.

It’s about a team.

Which is why, as they say in their team motto:

“Tradition Never Graduates.”

Related Links:
Doane Track Web Page

Doane Athlete Competes in the Company of Olympians

Junior Jared Schuurmans participated in the USA Track and Field Championships in Eugene, Ore., in June 2009. He was the only NAIA athlete in the national discus field and is the first in Doane track and field history to represent the college at the USATF national meet. Only the nation's finest track and field athletes qualify to participate at the elite national meet, where they are vying for spots on Team USA for the World Championships.

Doane Stats

  • 7 NAIA Men's & Women's Track & Field Champions of Character Awards
  • 2003 NAIA Women's Indoor Runner-up
  • 2002 NAIA Men's Indoor Runner-up
  • 2001 and 2002 NAIA Women's Outdoor National Champions
  • 75 event National Champions
  • 50+ combined Top 10 finishes at the national meet by the men's and women's teams
  • 19 consecutive conference championships by the women's team
  • 573 All-American Honors
  • 100 athletes have earned 152 Scholar-Athlete Awards
  • 2 athletes named ESPN The Magazine Academic All-Americans in 2007
  • 92% graduation rate among track members

 

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