The throwing events have long been a stronghold of the Minnesota women's track & field team. The throwers have maintained and built upon a tradition of success, unsurpassed by any other discipline of the Golden Gopher team. The constant to the Gophers' success is veteran throws coach Lynne Anderson. Anderson embarks on her 32nd season at Minnesota.
The Golden Gopher throwers continue their tradition of success season after season. A dozen (12) throwers have garnered national acclaim under Anderson a total of 22 times. The history books include a long list of Minnesota throwers who have won Big Ten Conference crowns.
In 2010, DeAnne Hahn provided the history-making performance of winning the Gophers' first Big Ten crown in the hammer. Three Gopher throwers earned trips to the NCAA Preliminary Meet, with junior discus thrower Nikki Tzanakis extending her season into the NCAA Championships. Hahn qualified for the NCAA Preliminary Meet again in 2011.
In 2008, the long list of All-Americans and Big Ten champions. added Ruby Radocaj, who captured her second All-America honor in the javelin and Liz Podominick who notched another Big Ten shot put title (indoor) to her career list. The 2007 Gophers saw Radocaj become the 12th national honoree coached by Anderson. Senior Liz Alabi was honored as the Big Ten Indoor Field Event Athlete of the Year after winning both the shot put and weight throw titles. Minnesota had at least one athlete compete in every throwing event both the indoor and outdoor NCAA Championships in 2007. Anderson's peers honored her as the USTFCCCA Midwest Region Assistant Throws Coach of the Year.
The efforts her 2006 charges put forth as the Gophers captured the first Big Ten title in school history were simply phenomenal. All eight Gophers entered in the throwing events at the Big Ten Outdoor Championships contributed points and as a collective group, the throwers amassed 63 of Minnesota's 152.50 team points. Liz Podominick repeated as the shot put champion and Radocaj garnered the javelin crown as the Gopher throwing corps gathered their 27th and 28th conference titles in school history.
"The throwers' persistent success is a tribute to Lynne's coaching ability and she a very important part of our program," said head coach Matt Bingle.
The 2005 season saw Anderson welcome one of the most heralded throwing recruits into the fold as Podominick took to the throwing circle for the Golden Gophers. Podominick became the first freshman to capture titles in both the shot put and discus Big Ten Outdoor Championships. As a redshirt freshman, she went on to compete in both events in the NCAA Championships.
Anderson's Minnesota coaching career is filled with many success stories, several of whom started their careers with walk-on status and went on to star for the Gophers. In over two decades with the Gophers, she has coached 10 women throwers to All-America honors 21 times and 14 women to 35 Big Ten Conference crowns.
Former Gopher star Alean Frawley is a wonderful example of the positive influence coach Anderson has on her pupils and where hard work and dedication can take an athlete. Frawley broke the school outdoor shot put record after beginning her Gopher career as a walk-on.
The list of great athletes who have thrown for Minnesota under Anderson is long and distinguished. Golden Gophers have recorded top-five finishes at the NCAA Championships a dozen times. Although national titles have escaped their grasp, Gophers have posted national runner-up finishes in throwing events five times.
Rachel Lewis is the most decorated of Anderson's throwing alumni. Lewis, a member of the Minnesota Women's Athletics Hall of Fame, captured five All-America honors and six Big Ten titles. She finished second at the NCAAs in both the shot put and discus during the 1990 season.
Aubrey Schmitt, another former walk-on, competed in NCAA Championships 15 times in four events (shot put, discus, weight and hammer). Schmitt won three consecutive Big Ten outdoor shot put titles and five conference crowns overall and was inducted into the University of Minnesota "M" Club Hall of Fame in 2008.
In 1998, Minnesota captured the throwing trifecta at the Big Ten Outdoor Championships, winning titles in all three events. Nicole Chimko won both the discus and javelin, joining Lewis as the only Gopher thrower to win two events at the same championship. Schmitt completed the sweep by grabbing the title in the shot put. The Gophers repeated the feat the next season, winning the discus, javelin and shot put in 1999, however, with the addition of the hammer Minnesota could not claim the sweep of throwing event titles.
Prior to 2000, Anderson also was the throwing coach for the Golden Gopher men's team. The Gopher men's team swept the top four spots at the 1997 Big Ten Championships in the discus, with Jason Schlueter winning the title. Anderson was instrumental in developing 1995 Big Ten outdoor shot put champion Chris Brinkworth, an All-American in the shot put in 1995 and in the discus in 1994 and 1995.
She also coached Mark Lacy, who won the Big Ten outdoor shot put titles in 1991 and 1992 and was an All-American in that event; and Chad Goldstein, an All-American in the indoor shot in 1994. In all, she coached the men to seven Big Ten titles and six All-American honors.
Anderson is well respected on the national and international level. USA Track and Field certified in the throwing events and a lead instructor in Level II throws, she was the throws coach for both the 1995 U.S. National Team and the team that competed at the 1997 World Championships in Athens, Greece. Anderson was also the personal coach of Edie Boyer, who was one of the leading women's discus throwers in the U.S.
A native of Eugene, Ore., Anderson, then Lynne Winbigler, was an All-American in the discus at the University of Oregon. She earned a spot on both the 1976 and 1980 U.S. Olympic Track and Field teams in the discus. Anderson was the American record holder in the discus from 1977-79 and had personal bests of 189-6 in the discus and 51-5 in the shot put. She won the 1976 Olympic Trials, finished second in 1980 and sixth in 1984. In addition, she was a three-time (1976, 1978, 1979) U.S. champion, a member of the U.S. squad at the 1979 Pan American Games and a World Cup participant in 1977 and 1979.
For all of her accomplishments, Oregon established the Winbigler Performer of the Year award, which honors the best performance on a national or international level by an Oregon athlete. She was inducted as a charter member of the Oregon Athletic Hall of Fame in 1992.
In 2003, Anderson was enshrined in the Minnesota Track & Field Coaches Association Hall of Fame.
Anderson is married to Colin Anderson, a former Gophers assistant men's track and field coach and an Olympian in 1980. They have a son, Thomas who is a senior in high school. Colin was inducted in both the Minnesota Track & Field Hall of Fame and the University of Minnesota Track & Field Hall of Fame.