Deal Joins Duck Men's Track Staff
Aug. 13, 2002
EUGENE - The University of Oregon men's track and field team announced Tuesday that Lance Deal will join the program as a volunteer coach for the 2002-03 indoor and outdoor seasons, with the four-time Olympian overseeing three of four Ducks' throwing events - the hammer, discus and shot put.
'Lance has been a cornerstone of Track City USA for a number of years,' Oregon men's track and field head coach Martin Smith said, 'and we're fortunate to have him on board. Obviously, he's an American athletic icon, but more importantly, he's a warm, caring individual - a great role model and mentor for any athlete in any event. No question, he adds a unique dimension with his international experience and proficiency in all three events.'
As an athlete, the 1996 Olympic hammer throw silver medalist (266-2) also competed in Olympiads in 1988 (17th-qual.), 1992 (seventh) and 2000 (16th-qual.), and in World Championships in 1991 (13th-qual.), 1993 (ninth), 1995 (fifth) and 1999 (13th-qual.). In the world rankings, he stood first in the world in 1996 and was top-10 five other seasons (1992-93-94-95-98). At the national level, the U.S. record holder (270-9) owns 16 of the top 20 throws all-time by Americans (and all 262-11 or better). His resume boasts nine U.S. outdoor hammer titles, 12 indoor titles in the weight throw (35-lb.), including a record nine straight, and nine year-end No. 1 hammer rankings.
'I'm really excited about the position,' Deal said. 'I remember about 1 1/2 years after I moved here, I told Stewart (Togher, then-UO throws coach), 'I want to do what you do.' ... It's a little intimidating to follow in his footsteps, but it should be something that's fun and enjoyable, and I've always enjoyed working with new throwers.'
Interestingly, as a Montana State collegian he was better known for his exploits in the discus circle. The U.S. junior champion as a collegiate freshman, he topped 190 feet as a sophomore (1981, 192-5), junior (1982, 199-7) and senior (1984, 202-2). As a senior in 1984, he was a discus All-American (eighth, personal best 202-2) at Hayward Field and an Olympic Trials participant (14th-qual.). As a shot putter, he led the U.S. junior ranks as a collegiate freshman (57-8), threw his personal best of 60-2 as a sophomore, and also made two NCAA indoor appearances. He didn't compete in the hammer until his senior collegiate season, and had a season best of 205-1, and took 22nd in the NCAA Championships.
'I've been watching all three events a lot the past 15 years,' Deal said, 'and in a way, not throwing the shot put and discus for a while will help - since I won't have a lot of personal movement biases. Now I can focus on the movement instead of trying to get them to do what I did. I'm also really fortunate that I've had two great coaches - Mike Carignan when I was in college and Stewart Togher since then.'
His first Duck class of pupils will feature senior Adam Kriz, the 2002 Pacific-10 Conference hammer champion (personal best 210-7) and Oregon's fifth since 1984. The Toledo, Ore., native followed with his first NCAA appearance (14th, 200-7) later in May, and ranks seventh on the Ducks' all-time top-10 list. During the season, he also topped the 200-foot line in the Oregon Invite (204-11) and Washington Dual (207-8), and bettered his preseason personal best of 194-8 in five of his last six meets of 2002.
'I know Adam some already, and it will be a lot of fun working with him and the rest of the team,' Deal said. 'I also felt really welcomed by both coaches, Martin (Smith) and Bill (Lawson), when we started talking about this. Obviously, Martin is doing a great job getting points on the board. He was Coach of the Year and the team was second in the Pac-10 -- it's been a while since they've been that high. If I can come in and help, that's great. Of course Adam Kriz won the hammer last year, so I don't know how much better he can do - there's no 'win-win' (joking).'
Deal follows the path of his personal mentor as a post-collegian, Stewart Togher, who was the Ducks' throws coach for 16 seasons from October 1983-June 1999. Combining all four throwing events, Togher's Duck pupils combined for four NCAA titles and 14 All-America awards, and he still coaches hammer post-collegians locally in Eugene. Since Togher's retirement, the Duck hammer, shot put and discus throwers have been supervised by Bill Lawson and volunteer assistant Matt Casillas, a former Lawson pupil at Northern Iowa, the past two seasons (2000-01, 2001-02).
Togher's influence has solidified the hammer as one of Oregon's finest events in recent history. Entering this season, three Ducks - Ken Flax (third, 262-6), Scott McGee (ninth, 243-11) and John McArdle (10th, 241-9) ranked top-10 in U.S. history, and the honor roll also includes:
* Two Olympians - Ken Flax (1988, '92) and John McArdle (1980)
* A two-time World Championships qualifier (Flax (1987, '91)
* A two-time U.S. champion - Flax (1988, '90)
* Two NCAA champions - Scott McGee (1990) and Flax (1986)
* Six All-Americans - Rick Perkins (third-1976), John McArdle (fourth-1978; fifth-1979); Kent Landerholm (seventh-1983); Flax (seventh-1984; third-1985; first-1986); Eric Finch (third-1988; second-1989); and McGee (sixth-1989; first-1990; second-1991)
'Stewart is such a great technical advisor,' Deal said. 'I learned the hammer from the master, the best in the word. I was fortunate to train with him for 15 or 16 years. Now hopefully I can gather that information and pass it along to others.'
Since his official retirement after the 2000 season, Deal has remained active in athletic circles locally and nationally. He has redesigned Hayward Field's hammer cage, and has designed and marketed a new discus cage and throwing wires. He is also currently completing requirements towards his massage therapy license.
However, his plans changed a little in 2002, as the Eugene resident made a brief foray back into the hammer circle. Off limited training, he won two regular season meets locally at Hayward Field - the Oregon Twilight in May (240-0) and Oregon Invitational in April (233-3) - then capped his season in the USA Outdoor Championships at Stanford with his ninth national title (244-5).
Born in Riverton, Wyo., Deal (8-2-61) is a graduate of Montana State University (1984) and Natrona County High School (Casper, Wyo., 1979). He and his wife married Nancy have one daughter, Sarah.
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