When Scott Walkinshaw first started as the Black Hills State University head cross country coach in 1998, he had two male runners and five female runners.
He basically had no men’s (point-scoring) team.
Now in his 21st season with the Yellow Jacket cross country program, Walkinshaw has a list of accomplishments as long as an 8-kilometer race.
A Brigham Young University graduate, he would eventually get that program going and then some. The Yellow Jackets (men and women) went on to finish in the Top 10 17 times in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) national meet, including a combined title in 2000.
BHSU's men's cross country team was national runner-up in 2001 and 2003 and the women's team national runner-up in 2005.
The dominance of the Yellow Jacket cross country programs under Walkinshaw saw both the men's and women's teams qualify for the NAIA National Championships every year from 2000-2008, a feat no other NAIA institution accomplished during that period.
With that said, he was recently selected to the NAIA Athletics Hall of Fame.
“My goal that first year was just get enough for a men's team,” he said.
Walkinshaw said he is truly humbled to receive the honor and singled out former BHSU All-American runner and current University of Mary coach Dennis Newell, who nominated him for the award, as well as former BHSU track and cross country coach and athletic director Dave Little and former BH President Tom Flickema for “taking a chance on me back in 1998.”
Walkinshaw said that without his wife, Laurie, and his family — extended and student-athletes — none of this would be possible.
Now in Division II, there have been over 200 All-Americans in the track and field and cross country programs at Black Hills State.
“Without their support, I would not have been able to focus on my career/hobby as I have,” he said. “This honor wouldn’t be possible without the great number of athletes, men and women, who I have been fortunate to coach throughout my career. Their successes, individually and team-wise, are too many to mention. They have motivated me to be the absolute best coach that I could possibly be.”
He also said the faculty and staff at Black Hills State University and the community of Spearfish took an interest in their student athletes and supported the programs.
"We have many amazing student-athletes who the faculty and community can be extremely proud of," he said. "I am as proud of our academic success as I am of their athletic successes.”
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The resume of success continues:
• Walkinshaw led the BHSU to 19 Dakota Athletic Conference championships over 11 years, while 32 runners earned NAIA Cross Country All-American honors.
• He was named the Dakota Athletic Conference Coach of the Year 24 times, including earning NAIA Men's Cross Country National Coach of the Year in 2000.
• He also earned NAIA Regional Cross Country Coach of the Year honors on seven separate occasions.
"This is an extremely well deserved honor for Coach Walkinshaw. We are very proud of his accomplishments over the last 20 years at Black Hills State University," said Director of Athletics Jhett Albers. "His knowledge and expertise of training methods for distance runners is unprecedented. He has been extremely dedicated to his program, teams, and student-athletes in which he always challenged to compete to the best of their abilities both on the course or track and in the classroom."
Before coming to BHSU, Walkinshaw was also a high school coach in Tescott, Kansas and Orem High School in Orem, Utah, in college at Garden City Community College in Garden City, Kansas, and Odessa College in Odessa, Texas.
He received several coaching awards in high school and junior college, including the NJCAA National Coach of the Year in women's indoor track in 1998.
He was also the Black Hills State head track and field coach from 1998 to 2008.
“I'm just as proud of our track teams. I'm one of those coaches in the sport that likes track just as much,” he said. “With my health and my wife’s health taking a hit in 2006, and me resigning as head track coach in 2008, just coaching the distance runners has been hard because I still love track and field. I miss coaching some of those events. I'm proud of the 4X100 relay team that ran 41.6 seconds. That was pretty neat too."
Under Walkinshaw, the Yellow Jacket student-athletes have also excelled academically, earning the NAIA Scholar Team Award in eight of their 11 seasons, including 25 individual scholar-athlete team members.
He said it all starts with the right athletes and the right fits for Black Hills State University. He tells his recruits that BHSU is a good university, as good as the program.
That makes it easy to recruit. He said that when he brings an athlete into the office, he can tell them that and tell the parents that they will get a good education.
“We have 16 former student-athletes who are in medicine. One will be an orthopedic surgeon. We have some in banking, we have a Navy Seal. We have a ton in education," he said. "Over 30 have gone into some form of coaching, and a lot are still coaching. That tells me that we really recruited some kids who were successful. Even now in D-2, our women's cross country team has had the highest grade-point average of all of the teams in the school three different times.”
The induction ceremony will take place at the 2019 NAIA Men's and Women's Outdoor Track and Field Championship in Gulf Shores, Ala., on May 23-25.