Rod DeHaven was named the head cross country coach and director of track and field in the fall of 2004 where he trains the distance runners for the men’s and women’s teams at South Dakota State University.
During his time at the helm of the track and field program, the Jackrabbits have enjoyed an overall success not experienced since the 1980s and early ‘90s. During DeHaven’s tenure, school records have been established in 47 different events and SDSU has claimed 44 Summit League event champions. Since joining the Summit League in 2008, the women’s track and field team has garnered three runner-up trophies, two indoor and one outdoor, and the men have been steadily building a balanced program as shown by a pair of second place finishes during the 2011 season.
While coaching the cross country teams, DeHaven has continued the long standing tradition of excellence at South Dakota State. In 2005, the men’s team captured the NCAA Division I Independent Championships, which was their 30th conference title in the program’s history and first at the Division I level.
The women’s team won the 2006 NCAA Division I Independent Championship and the 2008 Summit League Championship, which was their ninth and 10th conference championships.
In 2005 and 2007, they lost the respective conference championships by a single point on both occasions. At the 2013 Summit League Cross Country Championships, the men’s team won their fourth conference title in five years. The women took home the league title at the 2008 conference meet.
In the fall of 2013, cross country runner Trent Lusignan garnered All-American honors as he finished 12th overall at the NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships. Lusignan became the first Jackrabbit to be named a Division I Cross Country All-American since 1973. Lusignan’s 12th place finish is also the second highest placing in school history (Bentley, 8th, 1973).
In the classroom, SDSU athletes have also set a high mark under DeHaven. In 2005, Brad Lowery was awarded the NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship for his achievements as a physics major. In 2007, Becka Mansheim was awarded an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship while majoring in nursing. Stacy Huss became the latest Jackrabbit to earn that same distinction in 2009.
Under DeHaven’s watch the men’s and women’s cross country and track and field team have earned recognition as an All-Academic Team from the United States Track and Field Coaches Association. The women’s cross country team has routinely ranked within the top-10 teams among all NCAA Division I institutions for their work academically, including a tie for fourth place in 2008.
DeHaven, who graduated from SDSU in 1989 with a bachelor of science degree in computer science, ended his collegiate career as one of the most decorated runners in Jackrabbit history.
During his four years of cross country competition, he ran to an unprecedented four North Central Conference individual championships and four top-10 finishes at the NCAA Division II national meet. With DeHaven leading the pack, SDSU also captured four conference team championships and the 1985 NCAA Division II National Championship.
On the track, DeHaven established seven school records in the middle distance events. Four of those records still stand: the indoor 1,500 meters (3:47.4), indoor mile (4:00.96), outdoor 800 meters (1:48.67) and outdoor 1,500 meters (3:40.17). In 1985, DeHaven was the 1500-meter champion at the NCAA Division II indoor championships and was third at the U.S. Junior championships, earning a spot on the national team where he ran the seventh-fastest U.S. junior 1500-meters all-time (3:42.34).
The following year, he earned a Division I All-America award in the mile run, finishing eighth at the NCAA Division I indoor meet. All told, DeHaven earned 16 All-America certificates and won 20 individual North Central Conference championships.
After graduation, DeHaven moved to Madison, Wis., and continued to compete in cross country, track and road racing while working full-time as a computer programmer. As a self-coached athlete, he earned a spot on the 1991 US team that competed at the World Cross Country Championships. Later that year, he finished ninth at U.S. Track and Field championships.
In 1994, he debuted in marathon competition, posting a time of 2:14:48 at the Twin Cities Marathon. The following year DeHaven established his personal bests at 5,000 (13:40) and 10,000 meters (28:06), finishing fourth at the U.S. Championships at 10,000 meters.
Injuries hampered an Olympic bid in 1996 as he finished 10th in the 10,000 meters. However, in 1998, DeHaven emerged as one of the top Americans on the roads, winning the U.S. Half Marathon Championship, posting a time of 2:13:01 at the Chicago Marathon and winning the USA Road Running Circuit. In 1999, DeHaven represented the United States in the World Championships in the marathon, finishing 24th in Seville, Spain.
On a hot, steamy day in Pittsburgh, Pa., DeHaven came from behind to win the Olympic Marathon trial. Illness slowed DeHaven to a 69th place finish at the Sydney Olympic Games, but he came back in 2001 to finish sixth in the Boston Marathon (2:12:41) and sixth at the LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon (2:11:40).
In 2002, DeHaven qualified for his fourth Olympic Trials with a 2:13:16 finish at the Cal International marathon. An injury suffered in late 2003 kept him from starting the marathon trials in Birmingham, Ala.