Many of you may not know the name of Dennis Newell. He's a native of Billings and a Billings Skyview graduate. Dennis didn't really tear it up in his high school days - he had what could be called a solid but not stellar career.
After HS he spent some time in the armed services maturing both physically and mentally. He then moved onto Black Hills State University in Spearfish, South Dakota - where he exploded athletically. During his time at BHSU, he was a 10-time All-American, including runner-up national championships finishes in cross country and outdoor track.
After completing his undergraduate work at BHSU, he obtained his mater's in Kinesiology from the University of North Dakota. His athletic experience and academic knowledge set him up well as he chose to pursue a carerr in coaching.
For the last 7 years Dennis has acted as the Associate Head Coach for Cross Country and Assistant Track Coach - Distances at the University of Mary in Bismark, North Dakota. And, he's been just as successful in guiding a whole new generation of distance athletes.
To this point, Dennis has coached 107 All-Conference Athletes, 17 NCAA Division II All-Americans and 34 NCAA Division II All-Academic team members. He further extended his resume' at this past weekend's NCAA DII Indoor National Championships.
Here's his tally from the weekend: 3 individuals qualifying in 4 individual events plus a distance medley relay team. Individual Mile Champion (Melissa Agnew), Distance Medley Relay National Champion, and All-American in the women's 5,000 (Jennifer Agnew). Pretty impressive weekend indeed.
So, why take the time to mention Dennis' accomplishments? Well, in today's Missoulian there was a 3-page article on Wayne Tinkle - UM basketball coach. Now, by all accounts Tinkle is a heck of a good guy and a very good coach. But, so is Dennis Newell - and, I'm sure that he doesn't get nearly that kind of love from the media. So, when one of our Montana distance boys makes good, somebody needs to be sure to sing his praises.
Great job Dennis; and, keep up the great work of imparting your distance wisdom to the next generation.
The Muddy Buzzard