Mike De Witt Head Coach
Alma Mater: Wisconsin-Parkside
Office Phone: 704-461-5010
Mike De Witt will begin the 2012-13 season as his second as the head men’s and women’s track and field/cross country coach at Belmont Abbey College. A veteran of over 35 years of coaching experience at the high school and collegiate levels and a member of the NAIA Hall of Fame, De Witt joined the Abbey family from Ave Maria University, where he started Gyrenes Men’s and Women’s Track and Field/Cross Country teams from the grassroots level.
De Witt established the Cross Country programs in the fall of 2010 and led them to fifth and sixth place finishes out of ten in the first year of competition, and had one female runner qualify for NAIA Nationals. He also coached two athletes that qualified for the NAIA Indoor Track and Field Championships in the first year of existence.
“I am extremely pleased that Mike has agreed to join the Abbey family,” Athletic Director Quin Monahan said. “Our student-athletes are going to be just as pleased – Mike is a man of strong character and high integrity with a phenomenal background in Cross Country and Track and Field. He will undoubtedly continue to move our programs forward. I would like to recognize Coach Bob Marchetti. Bob was instrumental in providing leadership and consistency for our young men and women after Coach Hodge’s passing and for that I am very thankful. I look forward to watching the Abbey programs continue to grow.”
“The opportunity to continue to develop the Belmont Abbey track and field and cross country programs are two reasons why I accepted this position,” De Witt said. “Being at Belmont Abbey College and being part of an athletic department and community that understands and knows that athletics, track and field in particular, are part of the education process. Dr. Thierfelder and I are alike in that we both feel balance is part of the college experience. Our students will be athletes when they are practicing and competing, students the rest of the time all while being part of a great spirit that exists on campus.”
De Witt began his career in Phoenix, Arizona at the high school level where he coached at Phoenix Union and West Division High Schools, guiding individual state champions in Cross Country and the High Jump as well as a 4 x 400m relay team. He moved back to his home state of Wisconsin and coached at Gateway Technical Junior College where he coached an Individual National Champion at 3000m and an All-American in Cross Country in two years.
After leaving Gateway Technical College, De Witt moved on to his alma mater, Wisconsin-Parkside, where he spent 29 years, starting in 1981. He guided the Women’s Cross Country Program to the 1986 NAIA National Championship, as well as 11 Top five team finishes at the NAIA and NCAA Division II Level. His teams also earned 20 Top 10 finishes in Cross Country. De Witt coached teams that qualified for a Collegiate Cross Country National Championship in 25 of his 29 years for a total of 28 National Meets. During that tenure, he led over 125 All Americans in Cross Country and Track. The women’s team posted eight Great Lakes Valley Conference titles in 16 years of GLVC membership.
Additionally, his UW Parkside Race Walkers won 30 NAIA National Championships. De Witt has mentored and directly coached six United States Olympians in the Race Walk for a total of 14 berths; he has also coached over 25 athletes to World Championships, World Cups, and/or World Junior Championships. He has guided dozens of Master Athletes (40 to over 80 years old) to the National and International Level with his Parkside Athletic Club. Athletes under his guidance have earned over 30 American, Junior, Senior, and Masters records.
De Witt was selected as US National Coach for the Pan Am Cup of Race Walking in 2002 well as being named a US National Associate Coach on several occasions. His training programs have been noted as a model for success by the USATF Elite Athlete Testing Program. In 2000, he was elected to the NAIA Hall of Fame for Coaching.
As a competitor, De Witt represented the United States in International competition on seven different occasions. His most noted team was the 1989 World Cup of Race Walking. He competed in six different U.S. Olympic Trials as well as medaling twice at U.S. National Olympic Festivals in the decade of the 1980s. He was an NAIA All American in the Race Walk as an athlete at UW Parkside.
His career in education includes being a full time elementary classroom teacher for over 30 years in Wisconsin and Arizona where he earned is Master of Arts in Elementary Education from Arizona State University. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Geography from Wisconsin-Parkside.
De Witt and his wife Pam have four children (including Belmont Abbey Senior Woman Administrator Ali Bahr) and six grandchildren.