UW Health Sports Medicine 

Reflections on Ed Nuttycombe's career


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June 14, 2013

Nuttycombe Announces Retirement

Current and former athletes and colleagues offered their thoughts on Ed Nuttycombe's retirement after 30 years as the head men's track and field coach at Wisconsin.

Barry Alvarez - UW Director of Athletics
“Ed’s career is unparalleled. The success is obvious when you look at the numbers, but the way he succeeded with integrity and touched so many people across his program and his sport is what speaks volumes about the job he did as a head coach. To be able to adapt to all the changes in society and in student-athletes over the last 30 years while maintaining such a high level of success is truly remarkable. I’ve been fortunate to have the opportunity to work with Ed as a colleague and as an administrator during my career. I hate to see him go, but I wish the best for Ed, Diane and their family in retirement.”

Jim Stintzi - Head Coach, Wisconsin Women’s Track & Field and Cross Country
“There’s not much more to say than point to the fact that nobody in the history of the Big Ten has been as successful as Ed Nuttycombe. He built a championship program by being a great head coach and a great technical coach for the athletes he worked with directly. He’s had a positive impact on so many people over the course of 30 years and has been a tremendous person to work alongside. Professionally, we’ll miss Nutty, but personally, I’m happy for him and Diane and their family.”

Mick Byrne - Head Coach, Wisconsin Men’s Cross Country
“I came here five years ago because of Ed Nuttycombe. I knew from the moment I set foot on campus during my first visit that this was a special place, and Ed is a major reason why. I thought we could continue to build a winning program and have fun along the way, and that’s exactly what happened. We’ve won together and had a lot of fun together. Ed’s name is synonymous with winning and integrity and everything that goes along with being a Badger. Although we’re going to miss him, I’m happy for Ed and Diane and their family.”

Mark Guthrie - Assistant Coach, Wisconsin Men’s Track & Field
“Coach Nuttycombe’s contribution to Wisconsin track and field was his longevity, which provided stability for the student-athlete. He was comfortable in himself, which allowed him to hire accomplished staff members and allowed them to coach their event areas to the best of their expertise. At the Big Ten and national level, his insightfulness to see both sides of an issue allowed him to speak with credibility and brought calm to sensitive issues. His record is unprecedented in the Big Ten and will be the measuring stick used by all who follow him. After knowing Ed for many years, it has truly been a pleasure to work for him these past seven seasons. I wish him and Diane the best in retirement.”

Bo Ryan - Head Coach, Wisconsin Men’s Basketball
“Our relationship goes way back. Ed and I first crossed paths in 1980 when we were both assistants and the track office was right next to the basketball office. I have just been amazed with his progress as a coach and a teacher. It’s been fun to watch his development and his knowledge as he passes it on to his athletes. He’s a great role model for his student-athletes, and his hard work and dedication was shown by each and every one of his athletes. When people think of University of Wisconsin and athletics, the name Ed Nuttycombe is always towards the top of the list.”

Japheth Cato - 2013 Team Captain, 3-time Big Ten Champion, 2-Time All-American (2010-Present)
“I’m happy for Nutty, but I’m also sad that I won’t get to spend my last year next to him. He’s been my Wisconsin father. We’ve spent basically every day together for four years. Knowing how much he loves the sport has influenced how passionate I am. As a mentor, he’s taught me to keep going no matter what, keep pushing through and don’t let anything stop you. As a father figure, he’s been there for me through the good times and the bad. I’m extremely thankful for the chance to have had the opportunity to spend four years with him.”

Maverick Darling - 2013 Team Captain, 2-Time Big Ten Champion (2010-Present)
“Words can’t say what Nutty has meant to the program. He’s been the face of the Badgers for 30 years and it’s incredible that he’s made the program so competitive year-in and year-out when it comes to competing for Big Ten championships and being a national-caliber team. As a guy that aspires to be a coach one day, he’s someone you can look at and say that he does it right way, has a positive influence on his athletes and makes it fun while also making it known what the goals and objectives are. I’m sad to see him go, but he’s left this program as one of the best in the country. It’s amazing to see what he’s done for us.”

Chris Solinsky, 5-Time NCAA Champion, 11-Time All-American (2004-07)
“When I think of Wisconsin track and field, I think of Ed Nuttycombe. He encompasses the program. He’s always had a great way of connecting with everyone on the team, whether it was distance runners, sprinters or field event guys. He knew everyone personally and was able to bring everyone together as a team. I think he’s going to be very missed. For me to be a part of that (2007 NCAA championship) team, not only to be the first Big Ten team to win an NCAA title, but Nutty has given so much to this program it was great to be able to give something back to him and be part of such a special team.”

Matt Tegenkamp - 2-Time Olympian (2002-05)
“I know there was already a storied tradition at Wisconsin but he certainly lived up to that billing and took Wisconsin to another level in the Big Ten Conference. Throughout the season, whether it was cross country or track, you always knew when it was championship season. With his calm and collected coaching manner, you knew it was simply time to get it done. Track and field has a lot of moving parts, but he made the Badger squad one cohesive championship unit. The Badgers were always in good hands with Nutty at the helm. He’s had a great career and he’s definitely earned the right to ride off into the sunset.”

Greg Gill, 2-Time Big Ten Champion, All-American (1995-98)
“I am very fortunate to have known Coach Nuttycombe over the years. He is not only a coach and a friend but also a visionary. He was willing to take chances on many athletes, myself included, when others might have passed. He brought together other talented coaches who also shared his confidence. Through those efforts, Coach Nutty was able to turn Wisconsin track into a nationally-recognized program. I wish him nothing but the best in his retirement. He has certainly earned it.”

Joe Detmer, 2-Time Big Ten Champion, 3-Time All-American (2004-07)
“Nutty has been a staple of Wisconsin track for three decades and he has been instrumental in making the program the success it has been.  That's even more impressive when you consider the integrity with which he did his work. Nutty has a knack for coaching because of the way he balanced things. His technical knowledge is broad and well-rounded, allowing him to coach virtually anything.  He's had such a far-reaching impact in all aspects of my life, that it would be a discredit to him to acknowledge him only for my successes on the track.  I'm just really thankful for the time I was able to be an athlete on his team.”

Tim Hacker, 1985 NCAA Cross Country Champion (1982-86)
“Before Coach Nuttycombe, there were no Big Ten triple crowns. He made it easy to be a Badger track fan! His enthusiasm for track is infectious, and he makes me want to spike up just thinking about it. I can't imagine a Badger track meet without him patrolling the backstretch in his trademark hat. It will be a big hat to fill.”

Al Toon, Member of Nuttycombe’s First Big Ten Championship Team in 1984 (1982-84)
“I played for Ed’s dad (Charles Nuttycombe) in high school and it’s a great family. I ran track with some of his brothers and sisters. His dad was instrumental in providing some life direction for me in high school and, with the connection with Ed, coming to UW was kind of familiar for me and made it an easier transition. He’s obviously had an extremely successful tenure at the university. The university is very proud of what he’s been able to accomplish in his time here and I’m proud to say that I was a small part of it.”

Tony Simmons, 2-Time Big Ten Champion, All-American (1994-98)
"Coach Nutty is the best track coach I have had. He believed in speedy football/track athletes to make his program better and he was correct. He made me into an NCAA All-American in track, and for that, I want to personally thank him. I want to wish Coach Nuttycombe onto a future of relaxation and excitement. And thanks for the triple crowns, I will never forget those times. Thanks, Coach!"

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