MITCHELL, S.D. – The Dakota Wesleyan University men's and women's head track and field and cross country coach Derik Fossum (DWU '12) has announced his resignation from the position after four years as the head coach, DWU Director of Athletics Jon Hart announced Friday.
Fossum has found success coaching since he first took over in 2014 and has grown the program by roughly 30 student-athletes. In his first season as head coach, two athletes took home All-American honors during the indoor season after Nicole Court-Menendez became a five-time All-American with a fourth-place finish in the 3,000-meter racewalk, while Skylar Forgey finished with a fifth-place showing in the 1,000-meter run.
The Canton, S.D., native guided Jeremiah Panec to the NAIA Championships in back-to-back seasons in 2016 and 2017 for the first time in men's cross country since 2008 and 2009 when Thomas Madut did so. Panec finished 2016 with a 135th-place finish, while finishing in 50th place during 2017. Panec also won the Great Plains Athletic Conference Championships in 2017.
"Derik has been a staple of DWU ever since he graduated in 2012," Hart said. "He has embodied our core values and always has the best interest in our students. Throughout his time at DWU, he has been a constant team-player and one of our greatest ambassadors. We can't thank Derik enough for all he has done and for constantly bleeding blue. We wish him nothing but the best as he chooses a different career path closer to home."
Fossum also helped lead Kamberlyn Lamer to the NAIA Women's Outdoor Track and Field National Championships last season, where she took home a 40th-place finish in the long jump. This season, Fossum saw three athletes qualify for the NAIA Indoor National Championships as Tyson Jenkins was honored as an All-American thrower. During the outdoor season, he has four athletes qualified for the NAIA Outdoor National Championships in various events.
During Fossum's time with DWU, the track and field facilities have made large improvements with the addition of the DWU/Avera Sports Complex that was completed in 2016. The facility is 85,000-square feet with three indoor multipurpose sport courts surrounded by a 200-meter track, which hosts indoor track and field events for DWU.
A search for a new head track and field and cross country coach will begin immediately.
"Jess and I are incredibly grateful for our time here at DWU and in Mitchell," Fossum said. "The DWU family and the Mitchell community have been good to us and we will forever feel like a part of this wonderful place. I'd like to thank Jon and Curt and the administration at Wesleyan for giving me the opportunity to coach. It was a life-changing experience. Most of all, I would like to thank the students I had the privilege of working with. You all taught me so much and provided me with a lifetime of fond memories. Our family is excited for new opportunities for us, but also excited for what lies ahead for DWU Track and Cross Country in the coming years. Go Tigers!"