Dan Hostager is in his 15th year as the Bulldog men’s cross country coach and is in his ninth year as head men’s and women’s cross country coach. He also was the men’s head track and field coach at Drake for three years and currently serves as an assistant coach for the track and field program specializing with the distance runners.
Hostager has been raising heads ever since his arrival at Drake. He was named the Missouri Valley Conference Cross Country Coach of the Year in 1999 after leading the Bulldogs to their first league title since 1970. The 1999 Drake cross country team ranked second in NCAA Division I programs designated as “All-American with distinction” by the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association for a 3.52 cumulative team grade-point average.
That academic legacy has continued as the women’s team has been named a Scholar Team by the USTFCCCA for each of the last 15 seasons while the men’s team has earned the honor in seven of the last eight years. Last season, the women’s team posted a team GPA of 3.66, the 14th highest mark in the nation. Additionally, the team earned Drake’s prestigious Provost’s Award that is bestowed annually on the team that records the highest GPA.
This past fall, the Drake men battled injury to finish eighth in the MVC with Doug Brady earning MVC Scholar-Athlete honors while the women were sixth at the MVC Championship hosted by Drake in Des Moines.
The 2012 men’s cross country team’s fourth place finish at the Missouri Valley Conference meet was highlighted by then junior Brogan Austin, who finished third. Austin was honored with the 2012 Elite 18 Award for men’s cross country, which goes to the highest achieving student-athlete when combining athletic finish at the MVC Championship and cumulative grade-point average. He was also selected to the MVC Scholar-Athlete Team for the second straight year. Austin was named 2011 MVC cross country runner of the year after winning the 2011 MVC meet. He and teammates Doug Brady and Colin Hagan were also named to the 2011 MVC Scholar-Athlete Team.
Under Hostager’s guidance senior Kirsten Lake had one of the most successful women’s cross country seasons in recent Bulldog history in 2012. Lake finished sixth at the 2012 MVC meet, won the Bulldog Classic, and led Drake in each of the meets she competed in.
Hostager guided the men’s cross country program to second-place finishes in the 2002, 2003, 2005 and 2006 Missouri Valley Conference Cross Country Team Championships, while the Bulldogs finished third in 2004 and 2011.
On the track, he has coached Austin to the 2013 Drake Relays title in the 5,000 meters an and MVC outdoor title in the event as well. This past winter, Austin won both the 5,000 and 3,000 meters at the MVC Indoor Championship to earn Most Outstanding Performer honors. He also coached 2012 NCAA Regional qualifiers Omet Kak, Charlie Lapham and Kirsten Lake in the 1,500 meters. In 2011, Brogan Austin qualified in the 10,000 and Omet Kak in the 1500. In 2010, Nicole Braunsdorf and Casey McDermott qualified in the 1500, as well as 5000 qualifier Jeff Grassmeyer. Braunsdorf and McDermott also qualified for regionals in 2009 and Grassmeyer in 2007.
At the 2012 MVC Outdoor Championship, Kirsten Lake took the 1,500 title setting a school record in the process. The Drake men’s team also won the distance medley relay at the 2009 MVC Indoor Championship.
In the fall of 2006 Hostager coached senior Ashley Anklam into becoming just the third runner in Drake history to win the MVC women’s individual cross country title. Junior Casey McDermott garnered all-MVC honors placing ninth at the 2009 conference cross country meet.
Drake senior Brent Wilberts won the individual 2003 MVC cross country race, hosted by Drake, posting the fastest championship winning time since 1983. Wilberts was named the MVC Runner of the Year and finished 55th at the NCAA Cross Country Championships. Drake senior Bobby Anderson won the individual 2004 MVC cross country race and was named MVC Runner of the Year while also competing in the NCAA Cross Country Championships.
In 2000, Jason Lehmkuhle also qualified to run the 10,000 meters at the 2000 U.S. Olympic Trials, becoming the first Drake athlete to accomplish that feat since sprinter Kevin Little in 1992. Lehmkuhle ran the fastest 10,000 time in MVC history in 28:44.91 at the Stanford Invitational to qualify for the U.S. Olympic Trials. Lehmkuhle and Matt Gabrielson also competed in the 2005 World Cross Country Championships as well as the 2004 U.S. Olympic Trials in the 5,000. Gabrielson, Lehmkuhle and former Drake runner Zac Schnedel also qualified for the 2008 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials.
Representing Team USA, Gabrielson finished 36th in the marathon at the 2009 World Track Championships in Berlin, Germany.
Joel Lelacheur (pole vault) and Wilberts (1,500) advanced to the 2003 NCAA Regional Outdoor Championships; with Wilberts qualifying for the NCAA Outdoor Championships with his 3:43.61 clocking that also qualified him for the 2003 U.S. Outdoor Championships.
Hostager served three years as head track coach at Upper Iowa with his squads setting 19 men’s and women’s school records in 1997, which culiminated by coaching Dennis Black to the NCAA Division III indoor and outdoor national titles in the shot put.
A 1990 graduate of Northern Iowa, Hostager was the head cross country coach and assistant track coach for the men’s and women’s programs at St. Cloud State from 1993-96. Hostager has completed his USATF Level II coaching certification in the endurance, jumping and throwing events and is working on his USATF Level III in the endurance events. Hostager qualified for the 1992 and 1996 U.S. Olympic trials in the marathon and was the 1992 Road Runners Club of America national champion in the 10,000 meters. He owned the UNI indoor school record in the 3,000 meters (8:02.67) and also earned All-America honors in the event at the 1989 NCAA Indoor Championships.
Hostager and his wife, Maria LaFrance, have two sons, Noah and Quincy.