The excitement kicked off with our gymnastics team beating Florida on Friday night in a down-to-the-wire contest that ultimately required our two seniors, Diandra Milliner and Kim Jacob, each scoring 9.85 in the final event of the evening to bring home the victory.
As he enters his third season at the helm of the University of Alabama cross country and track and field program, head coach Dan Waters already has made an undeniable impact on the Tide. In just over two calendar years, Waters has unified and transformed the program and made it one of the nation's most improved overall teams.
The work that has been done in only two short years has completely remade the Alabama program. A multi-million dollar facelift of the Sam Bailey Track Stadium completely changed the functionality and capabilities of the facility. Those facility improvements are an outward reflection of the overhaul that has occurred within the team.
In two seasons at Alabama, Waters' Alabama athletes have made a significant impact on the school's all-time lists in no less than 22 events while breaking school records in five events, producing 14 All-Americans, two SEC individual champions and several SEC All-Freshman performers.
Waters was named the head track & field and cross country coach at Alabama on May 11, 2011, after seven extremely successful seasons as an assistant at Texas A&M. He immediately embarked on hiring an all-star staff of assistant coaches - renowned, well-respected coaches with proven records of developing good athletes into world class contenders: jumps coach Dick Booth, throws coach Doug Reynolds, sprints/hurdles coach Matt Kane, distance coach Adam Tribble and jumps coach Miguel Pate. During their first season at the Capstone, this core staff of assistants successfully merged the men's and women's teams into a single, unified program that helped forge a new team environment and identity for the Crimson Tide.
Changing that long established culture brought renewed energy and excitement to the program and results followed on the track with three Alabama competitors earning All-America honors during the indoor season, including Krystle Schade finishing as the runner-up in the women's high jump. In the outdoor season, the Tide sent five student-athletes to the NCAA Championships with four coming home as All-Americans and Alexis Paine setting a school record in the pole vault (13-5 1/4).
In 2013, the Alabama women's cross country team posted the highest Alabama team finish at the NCAA South Region meet since 1987, placing third in the team standings behind all-region performances by sophomores Katelyn Greenleaf and Meropi Panagiotou. That outing capped a season in which the Tide women won three team titles during the regular season before a sixth-place finish at the SEC Championships. The Crimson Tide men also continued to progress, posting competitive finishes at the SEC and Region meets during a year in which an influx of new talent melded into a competitive unit.
Last spring the track and field season saw marked improvement for the Tide as the men's team finished 11th in the team standings at the 2013 NCAA Outdoor Championships, the program's highest team finish in 11 years. Alabama's sixth-place finish in the men's team standings at the 2013 SEC Outdoor Championships was the best by a Tide team since 2006. First-year Crimson Tide athletes scored 45 of Alabama's 52 men's team points at that 2013 SEC Outdoor event. Off the track, Alabama's 2013 recruiting class was ranked No. 3 nationally by Track & Field News magazine.
Alabama produced nine All-Americans in the 2013 outdoor season, after qualifying 18 athletes for the NCAA Outdoor Championships. Sprinter Diondre Batson led the way by finishing fourth in the men's 100-meter dash and running a leg on the Tide's second-place 4x100-meter relay unit that shattered the school record. Other standouts included Paine's fourth-place finish in the women's pole vault, Imani Brown's sixth-place in the men's triple jump and Kamal Fuller taking sixth in the men's long jump.
While serving as recruiting coordinator and distance coach at Texas A&M under the tutelage of legendary A&M head coach Pat Henry, Waters was a key contributor to a coaching staff that led the Aggies to unprecedented success on the national scene. The Aggies won six NCAA national championships, including back-to-back-to-back men's and women's outdoor titles, the first program to accomplish that feat.
The Aggie women won eight consecutive Big 12 titles (four indoor, four outdoor) in a four-year span. Both programs were ranked No. 1 by the coaches' poll over the consistently in recent years, both indoors and outdoors.
One of the nation's top distance coaches, Waters also served as the recruiting coordinator at Texas A&M and assisted the process of upgrading the program's talent level to be consistently competitive on the national level. His recruiting and coaching efforts were vital to the men and women each winning three consecutive NCAA Outdoor Championships in 2009, 2010 and 2011 - becoming the second school to achieve the NCAA Championship double-double (LSU 1989-90) and the first to have both programs win three in a row.
Recruiting classes coordinated by Waters at Texas A&M earned No. 1 rankings by Track & Field News. The 2009 men's and women's recruiting classes were chosen the top recruiting classes in the nation by the monthly magazine, with A&M becoming the second school to earn that acclaim in the 15-year history of Track & Field News ranking collegiate classes. The Aggie women also enjoyed a three-year run as the No. 1 class, from 2007-09, becoming the first women's program to achieve that distinction.
Known for his strong administrative and organizational skills, Waters has overseen the event management at championship events, including the 2009 and 2011 NCAA Indoor Championships, 2009 Big 12 Indoor Championships, and 2003 SEC Cross Country Championships. Waters and former A&M assistant coach Brian Bancroft developed a national reputation for organizing and managing remarkably efficient meets during Waters' time in College Station, as A&M became a destination for nationally elite programs to compete.
In cross country, Waters earned the South Central Region Men's Coach -of -the -Year honor in 2008 when Texas A&M won the team title during the regional meet and qualified for the NCAAs. It was the first time in 18 years that a team defeated powerhouse Arkansas for the region title. Waters also has qualified 16 individuals for the NCAA Cross Country Championships over the past 16 years. The regional team title the Aggie men claimed in 2008 was the school's first since 2003 and only the sixth overall. It also marked the first time that a distance coach on Henry's staff had qualified a cross country team for the NCAAs.
Waters came to Texas A&M in August, 2004, after serving a three-year stint overseeing the distance program at the University of Georgia and earlier five years at Texas Christian in a similar capacity.
During his stay in Athens, Ga., Waters led the Bulldogs men's team to the program's first appearance in the NCAA Cross Country Championship, as well as a team victory at the NCAA South Regional Championships. At the conference level, the Georgia men placed second for the highest finish in school history, while the women's team matched its highest finish with an SEC runner-up effort. On the track, his distance runners broke seven school records.
At TCU, Waters helped the Horned Frogs win four Western Athletic Conference team championships - two in indoor track and field, one in outdoor track and field, and one in cross country. The 2000 WAC cross country and indoor track crowns were the first team conference titles in TCU history. During his stay in Fort Worth, the Horned Frogs notched four top-four NCAA team finishes and TCU was ranked No. 1 nationally by Trackwire.com in 2001.
Athletes at TCU during Waters' tenure included Khadevis Robinson, who won the 1998 NCAA 800 meter crown. Robinson is a two-time U.S. Champion who competed in the 800 at the 2004 and 2012 Olympic Games.
Waters began his coaching career as a volunteer assistant coach at the University of Texas from 1995-96.
Waters is married to the former Jennifer Miller. He received his bachelor's degree in secondary education from the University of Kansas in 1995. A standout runner for the Jayhawks, he was the 1992 Big Eight champion in the 800 meters and ran a leg on KU's 1992 All-America indoor 3,200-meter relay. He was elected the Jayhawks' team captain in 1993 and 1995, and was named a CoSIDA Academic All-American in 1995.
Birthdate: October 25, 1971
Hometown: Prairie Village, Kansas
High School: Bishop Miege High School
College: University of Kansas - Bachelor's Degree (Secondary Education), 1995
2011-Present: Head Coach, Alabama
2004-11: Assistant Coach, Texas A&M
2001-04: Assistant Coach, Georgia
1996-2001: Assistant Coach, TCU
1995-96: Volunteer Assistant Coach, Texas
Has coached 20 All-Americans at Alabama (14 in 2013; 6 in 2012).
Has coached three individual SEC champions at Alabama (2 in 2013; 1 in 2012).
Has coached 13 All-SEC performers at Alabama (11 in 2013; 2 in 2012).
Athletes have re-written the UA all-time top 10 lists in 22 events over the past two years.
Alabama athletes have set new school records in five events over the past two years.
Alabama's men's team finished 11th in the team standings at the 2013 NCAA Outdoor Championships, the highest UA team finish in 11 years.
Alabama's 6th place finish in the men's team standings at the 2013 SEC Outdoor Championships was the best by a UA team since 2006.
First-year Crimson Tide athletes scored 45 of Alabama's 52 men's team points at the 2013 SEC Outdoor Championships.
Alabama's 2013 recruiting class was ranked No. 3 nationally by Track & Field News magazine.
Recruited national top-10 recruiting classes in 1998, 1999, 2000, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010, as determined by Track and Field News.
Member of coaching staffs that have produced 19 NCAA top-10 team finishes.
Member of the Texas A&M coaching staff for the 2009 and 2010 men's and women's NCAA national outdoor championship teams.
Coached the 2008 Texas A&M men's cross country team that won the NCAA South Central Regional championship, breaking a 19-year winning streak held by the University of Arkansas.
Member of the Texas A&M coaching staff for the 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010 women's indoor and outdoor Big 12 Conference championship teams.
Coached the 2003 Georgia men's team to NCAA Cross Country Championship appearance (first in school history).
Coached the 2003 Georgia men's team to an NCAA South Regional Cross Country Championship appearance.
Coached the Georgia men's and women's team that was runner up at the 2003 SEC Cross Country Championship (highest finish ever for the men; equaled the highest finish for the women).
Coached the 2000 and 2001 WAC indoor men's team champions at TCU (the first conference title in program history).
Coached the 2000 WAC cross country women's team champions at TCU (the first conference title in program history).
Member of the 1996 Texas staff for the team that won the Southwest Conference Outdoor Track and Field Championships.