Trailblazer: Bulling Becomes First NCAA Division III Coach to Head Track Association

by Alex Linden (’03), sports information director

Earning six National Coach-of-the-Year awards, coaching 36 national champions and molding student-athletes’ futures for 30 years at Nebraska Wesleyan University, it didn’t seem like there was much left for Adjunct Professor of Education and Director of Cross Country and Track and Field Ted Bulling to accomplish for the Prairie Wolves.

Then in December 2010, at the United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) convention in San Antonio, Texas, Bulling’s peers bestowed a new honor and new responsibilities upon him.

Ted Bulling will lead 8,000 coaches through USTFCCCA.Bulling was named president of the USTFCCCA, a role he will begin September 1. Bulling replaces outgoing president Curtis Frye from the University of South Carolina.

It’s an honor for Coach Bulling, Nebraska Wesleyan University, and the entire NCAA Division III. Bulling is the first coach in NCAA III history to be named president of the USTFCCCA.

“I’m honored my peers chose me to be their president,” said Bulling. “To be the first NCAA III coach to be selected is also quite humbling. I credit my assistant coaches and the wonderful student-athletes who have gone through our program for bringing the kind of national attention that makes this sort of thing happen.”

NWU Athletic Director Ira Zeff said the election “shows the ultimate respect that Ted Bulling has earned from track coaches of all levels across the nation. The respect is not just for his coaching knowledge and accomplishments but more importantly for who he is and the values he represents.”

The national recognition is another highlight for Nebraska Wesleyan’s renowned track and field and cross country programs. The notoriety will boost recruiting in the state and region. Running for the Prairie Wolves means nothing short of running for some of the best coaches in the country.

“Ted Bulling is an outstanding leader. His knowledge, work ethic and mentoring enable everyone in his program to reach their full potential as athletes and students,” Zeff added. “Ted has made NWU track and field one of the best NCAA III programs in the nation.”

Coach Bulling has influenced many student-athletes during and after college. Just hours after the USTFCCCA’s announcement, Bulling received several congratulatory messages from his former student-athletes.

Taylor Tacha, a sophomore hurdler from Bertrand, Neb., echoed her team’s excitement for Coach Bulling’s newest honor. “Ted is a truly incredible coach. On the track he pays close attention to each athlete’s practices and performances, constantly pushing us to improve,” she said. “Ted cares about us both academically and personally and sincerely wishes for each of us to be successful.”

Currently, over 100 NWU student-athletes benefit from Bulling’s leadership. Come September, another 8,000 coaches across the nation will, too.