Gophers improve under new coach

Megan Ryan

Change is hard, but change after 33 years of consistency is even harder.

When throws coach Lynne Anderson retired this summer after more than three decades as an assistant coach for the Gophers women’s track and field team, it was just the beginning of a series of switches for the throwers.

That young group — which has no seniors this season — also lost its strength coach, athletic trainer and academic adviser.

As junior Devin Stanford said, it wasn’t the ideal situation.

“It’s a big change to switch coaches like after I was working with Lynne for three years,” she said. “It wasn’t exactly what I was hoping for.”

There has been at least one point of calm amid all the turbulence — new throws coach Peter Miller.

Miller threw for the Gophers men’s team from 2003-08 before coaching at River Falls and North Dakota.

Gophers men’s throws coach Lynden Reder was a fifth-year senior when Miller was a freshman and said he kept track of his former teammate’s coaching career.

“At each place, he pursued it an awful lot like he did as an athlete,” he said. “He’s really, really hardworking.”

Stanford said she has already noticed how passionate and energetic her new coach is as he gets excited about setting personal records.

Miller, who was a captain his senior year but by no means a “superhero” in terms of results, said, “It’s fun to work with athletes who are way more talented than I ever was.”

This is his first year as a coach with the Gophers, but Miller hasn’t hesitated in setting — and achieving — lofty goals.

For the Big Ten indoor championships, he wanted the throwers to score just one point for the team — something that hadn’t been done in four years. They scored five.

For the outdoor conference team title, Miller is expecting his group to contribute 25 to 30 points.

If early-season success is a barometer, the group could accomplish that goal.

That’s all just part of the plan for the debutant coach.

“I didn’t want to be looked at as a first-year coach,” Miller said. “I think that a lot of people expect a transition and expect the first year to be a challenge. … I wanted immediate results. That’s why I took the job.”