Loyola University New Orleans Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Brett Simpson announced that Nick Dodson has been named head coach for the Wolf Pack men’s and women’s cross country/track and field programs. Dodson becomes the sixth head coach since the University reinstated the program in 1994.
“We are excited to have Nick lead our cross country/track and field programs at Loyola. He is an accomplished coach who has led several of his student athletes to national prominence with eight qualifying for National Championships under his tutelage. Nick is a champion in his own right, having captured an NAIA Individual National Championship and was part of a National Championship team at Shorter. We know that he will recruit accomplished student athletes who will be successful in the classroom and in competition. We look forward to his continued success at Loyola.”
Dodson comes to Loyola after serving as the Director of Track and Field/Cross Country at Southern States Athletic Conference (SSAC) rival Brewton-Parker College where he led all aspects of the program. Under Dodson’s direction, the Barons featured five SSAC All-Conference selections in 2016, highlighted by conference champion and 400 meter dash conference record holder Devin Frails and Zuwena Carr who qualified nationally in the long jump with a leap of 5.54 meters. The Georgia native was also in charge of the strength and conditioning program at Brewton-Parker for each of the Barons 15 varsity sports.
Prior to his time at Brewton-Parker, Dodson spent three seasons as an assistant track and field/cross country coach at NCAA Division II Florida Institute of Technology. During his tenure with Florida Tech, Dodson helped the Panthers achieve some of their most successful seasons to date. His accomplishments included 18 USTFCCCA All-South Region selections, seven NCAA Division II national meet qualifiers, one SSC individual champion, three CoSIDA Academic All-District members, one Peach Belt Conference Female Freshman Athlete of the Year and three NCAA Division II Track and Field/Cross Country All-Americans.
In his final year with the program, he produced six USTFCCCA All-South Region Team members and three NCAA qualifiers. In 2013, Dodson coached two USTFCCCA All-South Region Team members and Gary Holmes who was named the Florida Tech Track and Field Athlete of the Year for his performance in the 100 meters.
Dodson hit the ground running in his first year with Florida Tech; he coached the Panthers first-ever national qualifier in the hammer throw (Ja’Mar Watson), landed four athletes on the USTFCCCA All-South Region Team and guided Chris Cacciapaglia to a 2012 Sunshine State Conference individual championship and SSC Runner of the Year accolades.
“I am honored and excited to become a member of the Wolf Pack family,” said Dodson. “I would like to thank Brett Simpson for his consideration and believing I have what it takes to bring continued success to this program. I would also like to thank my fiancé Latasha for all her sacrifices and continued support as I pursue my passion in the sport that I love so much. I am excited to get started and build relationships with a great staff.”
Before his time with the Panthers, Dodson acted as a volunteer coach with his alma mater, Shorter University, during the 2011 season where he assisted with summer training and workouts.
During his time as a student-athlete with the Hawks, Dodson accumulated one of the most impressive resumes in recent NAIA history. He earned NAIA All-American Honors 11 times. Dodson claimed the 2011 NAIA title in the 400 meter hurdles (50.84) after finishing second in the three previous seasons. He helped lead the Hawks to their first-ever NAIA Indoor and Outdoor National Team Championship in 2011 and was named the Shorter University Male Athlete of the Year that same year.
A 2006 Class AAAA State Champion in the 300 meter hurdles at Thomas County Central High School in Georgia, Dodson elected to attend NAIA Shorter University where he became the inaugural member of the track and field program. He still holds the Shorter records for the 4x400 relay and 400 meter hurdles – an event he won four-straight times at the Mid-South Conference Championship. Off the track, he was named a NAIA Champion of Character twice in his career with the Hawks.
Dodson holds USA Track and Field Level 1 and 2 certifications and was selected to attend the USA Track and Field Emerging Elite Coaches Camp in 2014 where he studied endurance alongside some of the top coaches in the country.
Dodson graduated from Shorter with a Bachelor of Science in Media Studies in 2011 and is currently working on a Masters in Business Administration.
Mahaffie comes to the Wolf Pack after spending the last year coaching cross country and track and field at Holy Names Academy in Seattle, WA.
She was responsible for the daily training of the varsity and junior varsity distance athletes, ending the cross country season with an 8th place finish at the WIAA Cross Country State Championships. Mahaffie also served as the Ticket Operations Graduate Assistant and Cross Country/Track and Field Administrative Assistant at fellow Jesuit institution Seattle University.
During her time with the Redhawks, she managed the box office at all ticketed home athletic events. She solely handled ticket reconciliation and reporting, game day revenue deposits, and NCAA ticket compliance. Working with the cross country and track programs, she coordinated team travel arrangements, managed gear inventory, and helped run the annual Emerald City Open.
Mahaffie’s coaching career started in 2013 as a graduate assistant at Wingate University. While coaching at Wingate, she helped transform the women’s cross country program into the top performing team in the NCAA DII Southeast Region. Utilizing her background in Exercise Physiology, she developed individualized workouts that yielded results. The women ended their 2013 season qualifying for the NCAA DII Cross Country Championships for the first time in school history.
Collegiately, Mahaffie was a highly decorated runner at the University of North Carolina Pembroke. Named the 2011 Peach Belt Conference Female Runner of the Year, Mahaffie left Pembroke with the two fastest 6K times in program history and was a part of seven school records. Mahaffie boasted the highest GPA on the Lady Braves cross country team, which earned her numerous academic honors throughout her tenure including a CoSIDA All-District Team accolade during her senior season.
She is anticipated to graduate with a Master of Arts in Sport Administration and Leadership from Seattle University in 2016. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of North Carolina Pembroke in 2013.