Steele looking at opportunity.
Oregon associate director of track and field Dan Steele confirmed Friday that he is one of six finalists for the position of head track and field and cross country coach at the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls.
The 40-year-old Steele is in his seventh season on the UO track and field coaching staff.
He was named 2009 NCAA Indoor Men's Track and Field National Coach of the Year after the Duck men won their first NCAA indoor title last March.
Steele, a native of Moline, Ill., and a former NCAA 400-meter hurdles champion at Eastern Illinois, is a candidate to replace Travis Geopfert, who resigned as UNI head coach in August to become an assistant coach at Arkansas.
"I can confirm that I interviewed for the head coaching job at Northern Iowa," said Steele, who declined further comment.
The other finalists are UNI associate head coach Mark Napier, former UNI track athlete and current Nevada head coach Shantel Twiggs, UNI volunteer assistant Steve Lynn, Memphis head coach Kevin Robinson and Western Illinois head coach Mike Stevenson.
"We wrapped it up on Wednesday, and we think it's an awfully strong field of candidates," said Troy Dannen, director of athletics at Northern Iowa.
"I would anticipate we will have an announcement early next week."
Geopfert was head coach for one season at Northern Iowa before accepting an offer to join his former boss, Chris Bucknam, on the Razorback staff.
Geopfert was an assistant coach for five years under Bucknam, who was head coach at Northern Iowa for 25 years before taking over as director of the Arkansas men's and women's track and field program in 2008.
Bucknam guided the Panthers to 28 conference titles in men's and women's track and field and cross country.
"We have a track program that has been quite successful," Dannen said. "It's an important program on our campus, and we want to find somebody who is able to keep us at a high level of competitiveness.
"They need to understand that while we want to win conference championships, this is not a program that is set up and designed with national championships in mind in track and field."
At Oregon, Steele is responsible for overseeing the daily operation of the men's and women's track and field teams, which has earned him the nickname "Director of Results."
Under his guidance, Duck athletes have won eight individual NCAA titles and 13 individual Pac-10 crowns, and 29 of his athletes have received all-American recognition.
They've also set 21 school records.
Steele is a two-time NCAA West Regional assistant coach of the year (2005, 2007), Pac-10 track and field coach of the year (2008) and NCAA West Region indoor coach of the year (2009).
After claiming the NCAA title in the 400 hurdles in 1992, Steele went on to stellar career in the decathlon.
He competed in the U.S. Olympic Trials in 1992, 1996 and 2000 with a best finish of fifth in 2000 with 7,890 points, just 167 points shy of a berth on the Olympic team.
Steele placed eighth in the decathlon at the 1999 World Championships with a personal best of 8,130.
The versatile Steele won a bronze medal in the four-man bobsled at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, a feat that ended a 46-year medal drought for the U.S. in that sport.
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|Title Annotation:||Track-Field; The Ducks' associate director of track and field interviews for Northern Iowa job|
|Publication:||The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)|
|Date:||Sep 26, 2009|
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