Dan Pfaff is one of the most respected coaches in the world having coached NCAA, National, World and Olympic Champions in a variety of events.
Dan is the head coach at the US Olympic Training Center. A respected authority on field event coaching around the world who has guided 33 Olympians and 29 NCAA individual national champions, Pfaff has almost 35 years of coaching to his credit, including as the women’s track and field head coach at the University of Texas-El Paso and assistant coaching positions at the University of Texas-Austin and LSU.
Pfaff has tutored athletes who have combined to earn 154 NCAA All-America honors in his career, while also guiding 33 Olympians who went on to earn seven medals. He coached Tore Johnson, who set the world record in the weight throw in 1984, and four-time NCAA high jump champion and Canadian record holder Mark Boswell.
In addition to Boswell and Johnson, Pfaff coached 1996 Olympic gold medalist and 100m world record holder Donovan Bailey. He helped guide former Canadian star Bruny Surin, who claimed the silver medal in the 100m at the 1999 World Championships. He also coached Obadele Thompson of Barbados to a bronze in the 100m at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney.
Pfaff has served as a coach on teams that have won 17 NCAA titles (15 women, two men) and has coached on three Olympic team staffs and seven World Championships staffs.
He most recently worked as a private consultant and the field event coach at the University of Florida. Prior to being at UF Dan was an assistant coach at Texas from 1995-03. While in Austin, the Texas men’s team finished in the top 10 at the NCAA Outdoor Championships four of six seasons from 1996-02. While there, he coached nine NCAA champions and a pair of Olympians. One of his most highly accomplished athletes, Boswell finished his career with 19 consecutive wins and took home the NCAA indoor and outdoor titles in the high jump in 1999 and 2000.
Prior to his arrival in Austin, Pfaff was the head field events coach at LSU from 1984-95 for both the men and women’s teams. While in Baton Rouge, LSU enjoyed tremendous success as the Tigers’ women’s team won the NCAA outdoor title nine consecutive years from 1987-95 and claimed the indoor title six times in that span. The men’s team added a pair of NCAA outdoor titles in 1989 and 1990. In his tenure at LSU, Pfaff coached athletes who won 17 NCAA titles.
He coached at UTEP from 1982-84, including two seasons as the women’s head coach and as an assistant with the men’s team, which came on the heels as an assistant coach at Wichita State in 1981-82. Pfaff’s first collegiate position came as a graduate assistant at Houston from 1979-81, where he also earned a master’s of education in sport science. His first coaching position came at Carlisle Senior High in Carlisle, Ohio, from 1976-79 after he graduated from Wright State in 1976 with a degree in science education.
Hometown: Dayton, Ohio Education: Bachelor’s in Science Education, Wright State, 1976; Master’s in Sport Sciences, Houston, 1981 Coaching Career: 1976-79- Coach, Carlisle Senior High School; 1979-81- Graduate Assistant Coach, Houston; 1981-82- Assistant Coach, Wichita State; 1982-84- Women’s Head Coach, Men’s Assistant Coach, UTEP; 1984-95- Head Field Events Coach, LSU; 1995-03- Men’s Assistant Coach, Texas; 2005-2007- Assistant Coach, Florida; 2007-Present- Head Coach Tri-Valley Athletic Club. Team Accomplishments: LSU - Men’s NCAA outdoor champions 1990, 1989; Women’s NCAA indoor champions 1995, 1994, 1993, 1991, 1989, 1987, Women’s NCAA outdoor champions 1995, 1994, 1993, 1992, 1991, 1990, 1989, 1988, 1987.
Career Totals: Olympians: 33 (seven medalists) World Championships Competitors: 44 (nine medalists) NCAA champions: 29 All-Americans: 154 Top Athletes: Amy Acuff (High Jump, fourth 2004 Olympics); Donovan Bailey (100m Olympic Gold Medalist, 1996); Mark Boswell (NCAA High Jump Champion); Jacob Davis (NCAA Pole Vault Champion); Dudley Dorival (110m Hurdles World Championships Bronze Medalist, 2001); Richard Duncan (NCAA Long Jump Champion); Brian Hunter (NCAA Pole Vault Champion); Tore Johnson (Former Weight Throw World Record Holder) Tom Lange (NCAA High Jump Champion); John Nichols (NCAA Discus Champion); Mikael Olander (NCAA Decathlon Champion); Mario Sategna (NCAA Decathlon Champion); Llewellyn Starks (NCAA Long Jump Champion); Bruny Surin (100m World Championships Silver Medalist, 1999); Obadele Thompson (100m Olympic Bronze Medalist, 2000); Ivan Wagner (NCAA High Jump Champion); Simon Williams (NCAA Shot Put Champion).
Articles by Coach Pfaff
Forum discussion of Coach Pfaff
Powerpoint Slides from Coach Pfaff:
File:critical zones hj pfaff.pdf
File:strength for throwers pfaff.pdf
File:motor behaviou concepts for hj.pdf