Baldwin Wallace Graduates and Coaches Andy Schmitz and Jeff Petersmeyer Join Olympic Great Harrison Dillard at the 2012 London Olympics
BEREA, OHIO -- Baldwin Wallace University are being represented by three of its graduates at the 2012 London Olympics. Four-time Olympic gold medalist Harrison Dillard ‘49 (http://www.bw.edu/athletics/otf/info/harrisondillardfile/) will be there as a spectator at the site of his first two Olympic golds and 1996 Yellow Jacket standouts Andy Schmitz of Avon Lake, Ohio and Jeff Petersmeyer of Delphos, Ohio will serve as coaches.
Dillard returns to the site of his 1948 gold medal performances in the 100-meter dash and as a member of the 4x100-meter relay teams. USA Triathlon High Performance General Manager Andy Schmitz, now living in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, will serve as the women’s coach and team leader for the 2012 US Olympic Triathlon Team. Petersmeyer, an Assistant Track Coach at Boise State University (Utah), will be in London to coach BSU multi-event athlete Kurt Felix.
Dillard’s accomplishments are well-chronicled. The one-time world hurdling record-holder won the 100 and ran on the 400 relay in London in ‘48 and then won his specialty, the 110-meter high hurdles, and again ran on the winning 4 x 100 relay in 1952 in Helsinki, Finland.
“Harrison Dillard is the most celebrated student-athlete in the history of the University,” said BW Director of Athletics and former Assistant Track Coach Kris Diaz ‘78. “More importantly, Harrison is a great ambassador for both USA Track & Field and the University. He accomplished a great deal in both his athletics and business careers, and is a very humble man. We have been fortunate to be linked wth Harrison and his accomplishments.
A veteran of many international multisport events, Schmitz has directed USA Triathlon’s high performance department for the last two years. During that timeframe, he has served as the U.S. team leader and coach at most ITU World Triathlon Series events. Schmitz was a member of the U.S. coaching staff for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games and served as the team leader and head coach for the 2010 and 2011 ITU World Championship Series Grand Final, as well as the 2011 Pan American Games when the USA teams captured a gold and silver medal.
In his role as high performance general manager at USA Triathlon, Schmitz directs the operations and administrative side of the high performance staff. He guides strategic planning, including race-related resourcing and staffing, and develops and manages the department’s annual budget. He directs USA Triathlon’s talent identification and athlete development programs, serves in an advisory capacity to the Elite Triathlon Academy and manages relationships with the United States Olympic Committee, the ITU and the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency.
Prior to joining the USA Triathlon staff as sport performance manager in 2005, Schmitz was an assistant cross country and track coach at Ohio Wesleyan University. He holds a master’s degree in sport and exercise studies from The Ohio State University and a bachelor’s from Baldwin Wallace University in business administration and sport management. He was a three-sport student-athlete and was named as a United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association Scholar All-American while at Baldwin Wallace.
Additionally, Schmitz served as the head coach for the University of California Triathlon Club from 2007-09, leading the squad to the combined team championship in 2008 and runner-up finishes in 2007 and 2009.
One person who is extremely proud of Schmitz and his exploits is veteran BW Cross Country and Track Coach Dr. Bill Taraschke.
“Andy is a dedicated member of the USA Coaching Staff and has been a key member of their triathlon group the past two Olympics,” said Taraschke. “We knew, even when Andy was a student-athlete at BW, that he’d go on to do some exceptional things as a leader, teacher and coach.
“Andy was always very involved and has the talent and ability to be a great coach,” contuinued Taraschke. “While at BW, he was a fierce competitor who trained very hard while maintaining an outstanding grade point average and being a leader on our campus. The success he is enjoying right now doesn’t surprise any of us.”
Jeff Petersmeyer is in his third season as the jumps and multi-events coach at Boise State (Utah) University. In just two seasons at Boise State, Petersmeyer has helped his athletes to numerous successes. He has guided three athletes to All-America honors, including Zach Arnos in the 2010 indoor triple jump, Kurt Felix in the 2011 indoor heptathlon and Eetu Viitala in the 2011 outdoor long jump. Six of his athletes have qualified for the NCAA First Round meet in 2010 and 2011. Felix is performing in the 2012 OLympics in London.
Prior to Boise State, Petersmeyer served as the horizontal jumps coach, multi’s and high-jump coach at Texas Christian University for three seasons. He joined the TCU staff after spending two seasons as an assistant track and cross country coach at BW. While working for Taraschke, he served as recruiting coordinator and worked with the jumpers, hurdlers and multi-events. Petersmeyer helped lead the women’s team to four OAC Championships and coached 11 NCAA qualifiers. Prior to BW, he coached at Columbia (N.Y.) University from 2002-2004, Northern Arizona from 1999-2002 and at Allegheny (Pa.) College in 1998-99. The native of Delphos, Ohio earned bachelor’s degrees in political science and history in 1996 from Baldwin-Wallace College. While assisting at Northern Arizona, Petersmeyer earned his master’s degree in educational leadership in 2002.
Athletically, Petersmeyer was a two-time NCAA All-American and a nine-time Ohio Athletic Conference Champion. He also holds Baldwin-Wallace’s school record in the 400 meter hurdles. Petersmeyer earned his All-America honors in the 400 meter hurdles and the 4x400 relay.
Schmitz’s college teammates S. Scott and Shawn (Conley) Bottcher also aren’t surprised by the success of the duo.
“It doesn’t surprise me that both Andy and Jeff have been so successful with their coaching,” said Scott Bottcher. “At each practice, they not only did everything that Coach [Taraschke] asked them to do, but you could always see them talking to him and learning from him. In addition, each time either of them competed, they went ‘all out’. They left it all out on the track. And, now that’s what they do with their athletes and student-athletes.”
“We are extremely proud of Harrison, Andy and Jeff,” said Taraschke. “They represent some of the best of BW track and cross country. All three have a place in the rich athletic tradition of the University.”
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NOTE: The USA Track and Field and Boise State University web sites contributed information for this story.