Dave Astrauskas, who specializes in coaching the throws, enters his seventh season on the University of Wisconsin men's and women's track and field coaching staff in 2015-16.
Astrauskas has sparked a renaissance in the Badgers' throws program for both the men and women, consistently putting athletes on the podium in Big Ten championships and advancing qualifiers to NCAA competition while re-writing Wisconsin’s and the Big Ten’s record books. Astrauskas’ record breaking athletes have also altered the NCAA Division I record book as well. In 2015, Astrauskas guided Michael Lihrman to an NCAA Division I record (83-11 1/4) in the indoor weight throw.
The Astrauskas File
Name: Dave Astrauskas
Hometown: Troy, Ill.
Alma Mater: Eastern Illinois, 2001
University of Wisconsin
• Assistant Coach, Track & Field, 2009-Present
• Director, Track & Field and Cross Country, 2007-2009
• Alicia DeShasier - Gold medalist at 2011 Pan Am Championships, 4 consecutive top-5 finishes at USA championships, 2008 & 2012 USA Olympic Trials qualifier, Nike sponsor Personal Best: Javelin - 191-10
• Kelsey Card - Two-time NCAA runner-up, Three-time Big Ten champion, Five-time first-team NCAA All-American, 2012 USA Olympic Trials qualifier, four-time US Championship Qualifier, fourth in the shot put at the 2014 USA Outdoor Championships, fourth in the discus at the 2015 USA Outdoor Championships, U.S. U-23 National Team Member, two-time gold medalist at 2014 NACAC U-23 Championships Personal Bests: Shot put - 58-11 1/4; Discus – 197-4; Weight Throw - 71-7 1/4
• Holly Noller - 2006 NCAA Division II national champion in the javelin, US Outdoor Championship Qualifier
• Danny Block - Four-time NCAA All-American, two-time Big Ten Champion, five-time All-Big Ten honoree, three-time US Championships Qualifier Personal Bests: Shot Put - 65-7; Discus - 200-4
• Michael Lihrman - NCAA Division I indoor weight throw record holder, No. 3 all-time weight throw in the world, 2014 & 2015 NCAA Division I national champion in the weight throw, two-time Big Ten champion in the weight throw, Big Ten weight throw and hammer throw record holder, three-time NCAA first-team All-American Personal Bests: Weight Throw - 83-11 1/4; Hammer Throw – 247-0
• Taylor Smith - Four-time NCAA All-American, All-Big Ten, UW record holer in three events Personal Bests: Weight Throw - 70-6 1/2; Shot Put - 56-11 1/2; Discus - 182-0; Hammer Throw - 193-0
• 2012 & 2014 Big Ten Conference men's outdoor champions, 2013 & 2014 Big Ten Conference men's indoor champions
• 18 Great Lakes Valley Conference championships
• 1 NCAA Collegiate Record • 101 NCAA Division II All-Americans • 18 NCAA Division I All-Americans • 4 Big Ten Records • 7 Big Ten Champions • 17 All-Big Ten Conference honors • 60 NCAA Outdoor Preliminary Round qualifiers • 15 USA Track & Field Championships qualifiers • 13 USA Track & Field Junior Championships qualifiers • 3 Team USA Members • 4 Olympic Trials Qualifiers • 3 Gold Medalists in International Competition • 29 Individual Great Lakes Valley Conference champions • 188 All-Great Lakes Valley Conference honors
Under Astrauskas' leadership, Wisconsin athletes have established new school records in 10 different events over the past six seasons. In addition, Astrauskas' athletes have added a total of 60 entries to UW's all-time lists between men's and women's events. His expertise spans across all of the throwing events as he has coached an NCAA All-American in each of the men's and women's throwing events.
The 2015 season was another banner year for the UW throwers, and Astrauskas was honored as the USTFCCCA Great Lakes Region Indoor and Outdoor Assistant Coach of the Year. Michael Lihrman set the collegiate record in the indoor weight throw with a toss of 83-11 1/4, which ranks No. 3 in world history. He went undefeated during the 2015 indoor season, winning his second NCAA title in the event. Lihrman owns nine of the top 10 all-time performances in NCAA history in the indoor weight throw. During the outdoor season, Lihrman broke his Big Ten record in the hammer with a mark of 247-0 and finished runner-up at the Big Ten meet.
Seniors Alex Thompson and Scott Erickson made the NCAA championships for the first time in their careers in 2015 in the discus and weight throw, respectively. Erickson ended his UW career ranked second in the indoor weight throw with a personal-best of 69-0 and second in the hammer throw with a toss of 216-0. Redshirt freshman Josh McDonald placed fourth in the discus at the Big Ten championships with a throw of 183-2 which ranks sixth in program history. Fellow redshirt freshman Riley Budde cracked the program’s top-10 list in the indoor weight throw as his throw of 64-5 ¼ ranks third in school history, and his outdoor shot put mark of 57-11 ¾ ranks ninth.
Kelsey Card led the women’s group her junior year as she finished runner-up in both the shot put and discus at the 2015 NCAA Outdoor Championships. Card holds the Big Ten records in the outdoor shot put with a toss of 58-11 1/4 and the discus with a throw of 197-4. Card became the fourth athlete in Big Ten history to win both the weight throw and shot put at the conference’s indoor meet and was named the 2015 Big Ten Indoor Field Athlete of the Year and the 2015 Big Ten Indoor Field Athlete of the Championships. She finished fourth in the discus at the USA championships and placed seventh at the 2015 Pan American Games.
During the 2014 campaign, Astrauskas was named USTFCCCA assistant men's indoor coach of the year for the Great Lakes Region. The Badger men won both the indoor and outdoor Big Ten titles and throwers Danny Block and Lihrman put up big points at both events. He guided Lihrman to an undefeated season which included a Big Ten Championship and NCAA National Championship. Lihrman was named USTFCCCA Great Lakes Indoor Field Athlete of the Year, the Big Ten Indoor Field Athlete of the Year, and the Big Ten Indoor Field Athlete of the Championships. Block earned All-American honors again at the 2014 NCAA Indoor Championships with a seventh-place finish. Lihrman broke the UW school record in the hammer at the 2014 NCAA Outdoor Championships with a third place performance of 233-9.
On the women's side, Card placed fourth at the US Outdoor Championships with a then-UW record throw in the shot of 58-3 3/4. Sophomore Brianna Bower set the UW record in the javelin with a throw of 163-10 at the 2014 Big Ten Championships. Angela Boushea moved up to number two on the UW all-time list in the hammer with a throw of 189-10. The Badger throwers were well represented at the 2014 NCAA West Preliminary round with a total of 8 entries.
The 2013 indoor and outdoor seasons yielded big throws and a No. 5 NCAA throws program national ranking by thethrowerspage.com. Indoors, Danny Block finished as Big Ten Champion and threw 65-7 1/2 earning a third-place finish at the 2013 NCAA Indoor Championships. Block's NCAA performance and UW school record contributed to a third-place team finish for the Badgers. Block was at it again outdoors breaking his own UW school record in the discus with a throw of 200-4. The women were led by Taylor Smith who broke the UW indoor weight throw record (70-6 1/2) at the 2013 Big Ten indoor meet and finished seventh at the 2013 NCAA Indoor Championships. Smith also broke the outdoor record in the shot (56-11 1/2) and the hammer (193'). Kelsey Card was third in the shot put at the 2013 Big Ten Indoor Championships and went on to place 13th at NCAA Indoors. In 2013, Wisconsin was the only school in the nation to have representation in every throwing discipline in both genders at the 2013 NCAA Preliminary Rounds.
In all, Astrauskas' men's athletes have secured 11 podium finishes in Big Ten competition, while his women's athletes have added nine.
Astrauskas has also contributed to the efforts of Wisconsin's multi-event crews, which have produced 12 Big Ten titles in his four seasons mentoring the combined-event athletes in the throws and pole vault. While coaching the men's pole vault from 2010-2013, Astrauskas coached Mickey DeFilippo to a UW outdoor school record in 2011.
Astrauskas came to Madison from Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville, where he served as Director of Track & Field and Cross Country for the Cougars. SIUE made the transition to NCAA Division I during Astrauskas' final season at SIUE. He was head coach of the Cougar men since 2005, after three years as an assistant, and also was an assistant on the women's staff from 2002-2007.
Astrauskas was named the Division II National Women's Coach of the Year by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association for the 2008 indoor season, Astrauskas also earned three Great Lakes Region Coach of the Year honors from the USTFCCCA.
During his tenure in Edwardsville, he also was named Great Lakes Valley Conference Coach of the Year 11 times, including sweeps of all four conference coaching honors -- men's and women's, indoor and outdoor -- in both 2007 and 2008.
Astrauskas helped SIUE to a total of 18 Great Lakes Valley Conference championships in Division II competition during his first seven seasons on campus.
The Cougars' men's teams won five-consecutive outdoor conference titles from 2004 to 2008, and Astrauskas saw his field event athletes earn 29 individual conference crowns.
Astrauskas guided the Cougars to a fourth-place finish at the 2008 NCAA Division II Indoor Championships, the best showing in school history. The Cougars totaled 16 All-America honors between the men's and women's teams.
In all, Astrauskas' teams at SIUE produced 101 individual NCAA All-America honors in just five seasons. In the 30 years prior to Astrauskas' arrival, the Cougars' men's program had produced just five All-Americans, while the women's team had just three.
A 2001 graduate of Eastern Illinois University, Astrauskas earned degrees in biological sciences and chemistry while competing for the Panthers. He was a 12-time scorer in the Ohio Valley Conference for the Panthers and was part of seven OVC championship teams. Astrauskas is a USA Track & Field Certified Level II coach in the throws and is also a NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS).
Dave and his wife, Katie, have a son Zane and reside in Sun Prairie, Wis.