July 9, 2013
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- University of Michigan women's track and field assistant coach Sandy Fowler has been selected to represent the United States national team as a women's assistant coach at the 2013 IAAF World Championships, which will take place Aug. 10-18 in Moscow, Russia. Fowler will coach all women's throwers for Team USA.
Leading Team USA's women's staff will be 2013 Big Ten Coach of the Year Beth Alford-Sullivan of Penn State. Fowler and the team will travel to Linz, Austria, on July 26 for a week of training camp before arriving in Moscow for the World Championships.
Fowler has a wealth of experience at the international level, both as a coach and an athlete, including serving as the head coach for the United States at the 2005 World Championships in Helsinki, Finland. She will return to Russia (formerly USSR) where she competed as an athlete in the 1981 USA vs. Russia dual meet.
MGoBlue.com caught up with Fowler to talk about the opportunity to represent Michigan as part of the U.S. staff at the World Championships.
On being selected as an assistant coach for Team USA ... "You can only have excitement when you're talking about representing the United States. Within that, when you're chosen, you're chosen by your peers and I think that says a lot about what they think of you and what you've done, as well as what you could contribute in regards to being part of the U.S. staff."
On having two Big Ten coaches on the U.S. staff ... "I think it's huge that there are two Big Ten coaches on the staff because that says a lot about the Big Ten, what we do as a conference, and where we're headed in regards to track and field. I was also on the staff with Latanya Sheffield at the Pan Am Games just over a year ago down in Mexico, so she and I have a really good rapport. It's good to have a rapport with the other coaches and the league manager because that makes things flow really easily for the meet. I also know Sandy Snow, who is the director of team travel -- she has been with me for the last eight years in regards to any type of travel with the USA national team, so that makes things easier as well."
On what she knows about the athletes she will coach ... "With having just worked Pan Am Games just over a year ago, the majority of the team is coming from there. But what's unique is that we have a little bit of a changing of the guard -- there are some more experienced athletes returning, but yet we have some of the younger ones who are either in college or just emerging from college. I think there is going to be a lot of good guidance for a lot of the new athletes starting to take over."
On coaching in Russia at the same place she once competed as an athlete ... "I'm excited. The first thing I said when I was asked to coach was, 'My gosh, I've been there'. I want to see what it's like now -- has it changed? Maybe it hasn't changed. In those types of places, sometimes when there is history and tradition, it remains history and tradition. I'm excited to see everything. It's been a long time -- I was there in the early 1980s and, of course, it was still the Soviet Union then. To see how things have progressed over time will be fun. I'm really looking forward to it. My husband and I are really looking forward to, after the competition, going back to St. Petersburg, where I had competitions too. Maybe we'll find the hotels and some of the places I visited back then. I look forward to bringing lots of pictures back with us to compare."
On applying her experience as an athlete to coaching ... "I think the unique thing with being part of a national team is that you automatically take kind of a support role. In all probability their event coaches will be there, at least for the days they compete. Up until that time you might be helping them out with workouts, watching them technically, maybe taking some film and sending it back to their coach if they're still here in the States. I'll be making sure that they're prepared with information -- that's what they want. They want to know what are the steps I'm going to take when it comes to getting into call rooms, how much time do I have to prepare, what steps will I take when the actual competition begins. Those things are a little more crucial for them. Most of them have been through the ropes and they understand what they're doing. It's just making sure they have the information they need so that they feel prepared. It's probably more mental preparation than physical."
On representing Michigan on the international stage ... "First of all, Michigan has a very big international name. Having the opportunity to represent Michigan, as well as the United States, is kind of a very parallel comparison in my eyes because everyone knows of both. They are a power school, power country. Having the opportunity to get the Michigan name out there a little more with regard to track and field is great. The coaches I'll meet will be phenomenal -- they're all coaches from other countries who probably coach juniors, and through that I can make contacts to get more athletes to come to the University of Michigan and consider Michigan as an opportunity for their athletes to come and get a great education."
Contact: Whitney Dixon (734) 763-4423