MITCHELL, S.D. – The Dakota Wesleyan University men's and women's head track & field coach Zach Lurz has resigned from his position effective June 30th. Track & Field assistant Jamen Helton will be promoted as the Director of Track & Field and Cross-Country, the DWU Athletic Department announced Tuesday.
"I couldn't be more thankful for my experience here at DWU," Lurz said. "The community here will always be a home to me and I was blessed to have worked with this talented group of athletes. I'd like to thank Dakota Wesleyan for giving me this opportunity and it has allowed me to grow in my faith, as a person, and especially as a coach."
In his first year as head coach, Lurz coached four All-American athletes during the 2018-19 indoor season, while also coaching the programs first-ever individual national champion, Kamberlyn Lamer. As an assistant, he coached three athletes to All-American status during the 2018 outdoor season. The program has experienced unprecedented success during his short tenure.
"I would like to thank Coach Lurz for all of his phenomenal work in a short amount of time at DWU," Director of Athletics Jon Hart commented. "He has helped this program reach new heights while shaping it for the future. We wish him the best once he begins his new chapter closer to home."
Helton has been with the DWU track & field programs for one season, serving as the head cross-country coach and the assistant track & field coach.
"Obviously losing Coach Lurz hurts, he is a major part of our success this year and his presence will be greatly missed," Helton said. "I want to thank him for the tremendous work he has done this year for the program and wish him the best of luck as he pursues other options closer to home."
The Waterloo, Ill., native came to DWU after spending a year at Trevecca Nazarene University, an NCAA Division II institution in Nashville, Tenn. While at TNU, Helton served as the assistant coach and recruiting coordinator for both the men's and women's cross-country and track & field teams.
"We had a fantastic season across the board so far with multiple All-American finishes, school records and the program's first national champion" Helton remarked. "As we move forward we look to continue to build off the success of this year. There is a ton of talent and potential on our roster and I'm beyond excited to see our athletes continue to perform."
Prior to his time at TNU, he was a private coach for men's and women's 10,000-meter runs and marathons from 2015-17. He also served as the assistant boys and girls cross-country and track & field coach for Parkview High School for three seasons. In 2017, Helton ran professionally for New Balance Elite in Chicago for 4 months while training for the US Olympic Trials.
"In a short amount of time, Coach Helton has proved his ability to lead this program going forward," Hart mentioned. "His background, leadership, professionalism and ability to recruit and develop student-athletes has helped us emerge as a nationally ranked program. We are extremely excited for him and look forward to a bright future."
This past season the women's team ranked as high as 15th in the NAIA, while the men's team ranked as high as 17th nationally. Both rankings were the first national rankings for both teams in school history. The first outdoor track & field rankings are scheduled to be released in the following weeks.
A search for an Associate Head Coach will begin immediately.