Sports

Fitzsimmons named new Head Coach at MMU



YANKTON, S.D. (MMU) — Mount Marty University (MMU) has hired Dan Fitzsimmons, Yankton native and Hall of Fame coach, as the new head coach for cross country and track and field programs at MMU.

Fitzsimmons joins the Mount Marty Lancers after 14 years as head coach for cross country at the University of South Dakota (USD), Vermillion, SD. Fitzsimmons also served as an assistant coach for the Coyote men’s and women’s track and field teams during that span of time.

“Fitzsimmons is a highly respected coach with deep roots in Yankton athletics,” said Andy Bernatow, MMU athletic director. “I am excited to have Dan back in Yankton and coaching at Mount Marty. We are getting an amazing leader and outstanding coach. His guidance will help this program along with strengthening the entire athletic department.”

While at USD, Fitzsimmons was named the Summit League women’s cross country coach of the year five times. Under his guidance, the Coyote cross country programs successfully transitioned to the Division I level. The Coyote women won Summit League titles in 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018, three runner-up team finishes (women’s team in 2012, men’s team in 2012 and 2013), one Summit League Runner of the Year, one individual Summit League champion, four individual Summit League runner-ups, four league newcomers of the year, and 51 all-Summit League honorees.

During three seasons in the Great West Conference, the Coyotes recorded two runner-up team finishes (women’s team in 2008 and 2009), one individual champion, one Great West runner-up, one conference freshman of the year, and 11 all-Great West Conference selections.

Since Fitzsimmons began as an assistant coach on the track and field team during the 2008/2009 season he has helped the men’s and women’s indoor and outdoor track and field program to 11 conference championships and 25 runner-up finishes. Fitzsimmons, whose primary coaching responsibility was distance runners, guided his runners to 48 conference individual titles.

During the seasons spent in the Great West, the Coyotes had three GWC Most Valuable Performers in Ramsey Fitzsimmons (2009, 2010) and Rob Gregoire (2010). In the Summit League, Jeff Mettler was named Track Championship MVP three times (indoor 2013, indoor 2014, outdoor 2014), Mach Dojiok earned the honor outdoors in 2015, Amber Eichkorn swept the Track Championship MVP awards in 2017 (indoor 2017, outdoor 2017) and Eldon Warner earned the honor indoors in 2018.

Prior to his time at the University of South Dakota, Fitzsimmons built the Yankton High School (YHS) cross country and track and field programs into state and regional powers.

In 1997, Fitzsimmons was named head coach of the Yankton High School cross country team and then in 2002 he was named the track and field head coach. He began working with the cross country team in 1989 and the track and field team in 1990 as an assistant coach.

With YHS cross country, Fitzsimmons led five teams that were ranked in the top 20 in the nation. He guided four teams to the South Dakota AA combined boys and girls state championship. He also coached eight South Dakota AA championship teams, three-straight boys championships (2005-07) and five-straight girls titles (2003-07). Fitzsimmons was named South Dakota Cross Country Coach of the Year in 2003 (girls), 2004 (girls), 2005 (boys) and 2006 (boys and girls). The South Dakota NHSACA Gatorade Circle of Champions named him coach of the year for four-straight years (2004-07). He was also the South Dakota Sportswriters Prep Girls Coach of the Year in 2003, 2004 and 2005.

Fitzsimmons was also successful with the YHS track and field teams. He guided the team to five state championships and six relay team championships while also coaching 20 individual champions. Two of his athletes were named South Dakota Gatorade Track and Field Performers of the Year. Fitzsimmons was named the South Dakota NHSACA Gatorade Circle of Champions Track and Field Coach of the Year in 2003 and 2005.

In 2021, the South Dakota Cross Country and Track and Field Coaches Association inducted Fitzsimmons into their Hall of Fame class. Dan and his wife Cecilia reside in Yankton and, according to Bernatow, are already gearing up in Blue and Gold.

“I look forward to serving the student athletes and Lancer Nation for many years to come,” said Fitzsimmons. “Go Lancers!”

For more information on the Athletic Department, contact Andy Bernatow, athletic director at abernatow@mountmarty.edu or 605-660-3589.

About Mount Marty University
Founded in 1936 by the Sisters of Sacred Heart Monastery, Mount Marty University is a Catholic, Benedictine institution of higher education located along the bluffs of the Missouri River in Yankton, South Dakota, with additional locations in Watertown and Sioux Falls. Mount Marty offers undergraduate and graduate degrees with particular focus on student and alumni success in high-demand fields such as health sciences, education, criminal justice, business, accounting, recreation management and more. A community of learners in the Benedictine tradition, Mount Marty emphasizes academic excellence and develops well-rounded students with intellectual competence, professional and personal skills and moral, spiritual and social values. To learn more, visit mountmarty.edu.

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