Pitt Track & Field Hires New Throws Coach

PITTSBURGH – Pitt Track and Field has added Derrick Vicars as a throws coach from Bowling Green State University.

“We’re excited to have Coach Vicars join our Pitt track and field family to head our throws group,” stated head coach Alonzo Webb. “Our throwers are fortunate to have a coach that had personal success at the highest level as a two-time national champion in two different throwing events. He’s already been where they’re striving to be,” Webb continued.

Vicars comes to the Panthers’ after six successful seasons as a coach at Bowling Green State University.

“I want to thank Coach Webb for this tremendous opportunity to work for him and be a part of this great coaching staff! I’m really excited to be joining the Pitt family and am looking forward to making Pittsburgh my home!” stated Derrick Vicars.

Vicars was named throws coach at Bowling Green State University in October of 2016 after coaching at the University of Findlay. Vicars coached nine All-Americans and was named 2018 Indoor Great Lakes Region Assistant Coach of the Year.

Vicars 2022 coaching season at Bowling Green State University featured MAC titles and All-American honors in multiple events. Zaresha Neal earned the MAC Indoor Championship, then 13th-place finish at the NCAA Championships to solidify the first All-American honor of her career. Her momentum for her continued to the outdoor season, as she won the MAC title in the discus one week after setting a program record. She also added a second-place finish in the shot put, qualifying for the NCAA East Regional in both events for the second consecutive season. Her tenth-place finish in shot put punched her ticket to the NCAA Championship, where she placed 18th overall.

Kaila Butler also added to her impressive resume during the 2022 campaign under Vicar’s coaching. She dominated the hammer throw at the MAC Championship, taking home the second title of her career. At the NCAA East Regional, she finished as the runner-up in the hammer throw, locking in a place at the NCAA Championships. In the final event of her career, Butler placed 13th, earning second-team All-American for the third time.

In 2021, the Falcons saw two top-five finishers in the shot put at the MAC Indoor Championship. Neal was the runner-up and Ebonie Whitted placed fifth, helping Bowling Green to a third-place team finish. At the outdoor MAC Championships, Neal tallied a pair of third-place finishes in the shot put and discus, qualifying for the NCAA East Regional in both events.

Kaila Butler also qualified for the NCAA East Regional, securing fifth in the hammer throw to earn a spot at the NCAA Championships. She represented BGSU for the second time in her career and took home ninth place, making her a two-time second-team All-American honor.

Although the 2020 outdoor season was cancelled, Vicars led the Falcon throwers to success in the indoor competition. Butler won the MAC crown in the weight throw, her de ella second career MAC title and first de ella during the indoor season. The Falcons put two throwers on the podium in the shot put, as Whitted and Katie Seyfang placed fifth and sixth.

In 2019, Aliyah Gustafson secured a seventh-place finish and helped the Falcons earn two points in shot put at the NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships and first-team All-American honors. At the Outdoor National Championships just a few months later, Gustafson and Kaila Butler both were named second-team All-Americans after finishing 10th in shot put and 12th in hammer throw, individually.

In 2018 Vicars was named the MAC Assistant Coach of the Year. His throwers scored 34 points, receiving a first-place finish, two second-place results, and a fourth-place finish in just two events.

Prior to his arrival at BGSU, Vicars was coached at Findlay until 2013. He was the team’s throws coach since 2015 and was a graduate assistant for two years prior to that, garnering several national awards during his tenure. He was tabbed the 2015 Indoor and Outdoor Assistant Coach of the Year by the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA). While at Findlay, he coached four NCAA Division II national champions and 21 first-team All-Americans. His throwers were also national runner-ups four times and his group helped Findlay to team national runner-up results in both the indoor and outdoor 2015 seasons.

“One of the greatest compliments that I heard when doing my due diligence, was from one of the nation’s best and highly respected throws coaches who said “you would be doing me a big favor if you took him out of my conference” …It won ‘t be long before he will have the same impact on the ACC. He has instant credibility when recruits see he has consistently coached national champions and All-Americans at the DII level and All-Americans at the NCAA DI level. His knowledge of the throws is unquestioned, “stated coach Webb. “I believe that his biggest attribute is that he is a teacher who knows how to get the most out of his athletes as long as they’re willing to trust the process and put in the work. He connects with his athletes, and they want to throw far for him because they know he cares about them,” continued Webb.

Vicars earned his bachelor’s degree as an intervention specialist major from Findlay in 2012 and his master’s degree in education in 2015.

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