Head Cross Country Coach
Dave Denny will be entering his fourth season as the head men's and women's cross country coach at Avila University. In his first two years at Avila, he successfully qualified a men's runner – Adam McGovern – for the NAIA national championships.
Denny is a native of Raytown, Missouri and is a graduate of Raytown South High School, where he competed on three cross country teams that placed first, second, and third in state. He is also a graduate of the University of Central Missouri, where he competed in cross country and track.
Denny has more than 30 years of cross country and track experience. He has coached distance runners to 22 state individual titles and teams to four state championships in his high school coaching career. His most recent coaching success was at Shawnee Mission South High School in Overland Park, Kan., where his teams recently won regional titles and placed in the top six in Kansas. Denny has earned five Missouri Coach of the Year honors and, in 2006, was inducted into the Missouri Track and Cross Country Coaches Hall of Fame.
In 1990-1992, Coach Denny was cross country coach at the University of Missouri-Kansas City as the university made the transition to NCAA Division I. During his high school career, he has coached three of the top distance runners in Missouri history - Joe Falcon, Amy Wiseman, and Matt Tegenkamp. All three qualified for the Footlocker National Cross Country Championship and the World Junior Cross Country Championships. Falcon broke the state record in the 1,600-meter run, won the state cross country title and four state track titles. He also was a high school All American in track in the mile (4:08.24) and the 3,200 run (8:53.5). He went on to experience multiple national individual and team titles while at the University of Arkansas. In 1990, he came back to work with Dave and gave him the unique opportunity to work with a world class athlete. That summer, Falcon ran the fastest mile in the world in Oslo, Norway – 3 minutes, 49.31 seconds, and won the U.S. championship in the 1,500.
Wiseman won eight state individual titles in track and field and ran 10 minutes, 33 seconds for 3,200 meters. She was a two-time All-American in cross country and went on to a successful collegiate career at the University of Nebraska and the University of Arkansas.
Tegenkamp is now an Olympian, two-time World Championship participant and the American record-holder in the two mile run (8:07.07). At Lee's Summit High School, Tegenkamp broke the state record in the 3,200 (8:57) and still holds the state cross country course record. He went on to a very successful career at the University of Wisconsin and now runs professionally for Nike and the Oregon Track Club. Most recently, Matt made it to the finals of the World Track and Field Championships in Berlin, and in Brussels became one of only four Americans to ever run under 13 minutes in the 5,000 meters (12:58.56). He is currently coached by Jerry Schumacher in Portland, Oregon.
Denny resides in Lee's Summit. His wife of 33 years, Sherry, a graduate of Avila University, is a special education teacher in the Lee's Summit School District. Dave and Sherry have a son, Greg, of Portales, New Mexico and daughter, Kara, of Lee's Summit.