TRACK IMPROVEMENTS NURTURE CHAMPIONS.
Campaign gifts that have built state-of-the-art facilities give coaches, like Dale Kennedy, opportunities for enhanced student-faculty interactions.
After 37 years, Dale Kennedy, Montana State University’s stalwart track and field coach, retired in October 2018. During his tenure with MSU Athletics and commitment to Bobcat student-athletes, Kennedy coached more than 200 Big Sky Conference champions, 27 All-Americans and three NCAA national champions. Bobcat Track & Field teams won nine Big Sky Conference championships under Kennedy’s leadership, but the path to today’s success began years ago.
When Kennedy took the helm at MSU in 1981, he inherited a black asphalt track and a facility without electricity or running water. Knowing that improving the program would require more than just the basics, Kennedy began by engaging the community, meeting with alumni, fans and student-athletes to assess needs and priorities. Over the years, under Kennedy’s direction and with the help of the Bobcat Track & Field Association, MSU’s track and field facilities have come a long way. With gifts inspired during the What It Takes campaign, the facilities have now achieved a modern standard of excellence. Among the long list of improvements are a state-of-the-art indoor track and a cutting-edge video scoreboard which provides athletes and spectators with instant results during meets.
“Nowadays, kids really want to see what you have to offer them in terms of facilities,” Kennedy said. “That’s what brings athletes into your program when you’re recruiting.”
Fan engagement followed student-athlete success on the field along with significant strides in the classroom—Bobcat Track & Field teams achieved 3.0 and higher GPAs on a regular basis during Kennedy’s tenure.
“I always tell our kids to be grateful for what they’ve done by giving the very best they can in the classroom and at the track,” Kennedy said. “And to remember that we have a group of people behind us and they’re counting on us to be great representatives for Montana State University.”