June 5, 2012
TSAILE — The Diné College’ Archery Team recently returned from Harrisonburg, Virginia where they competed at the United States Inter-Collegiate Archery (USIAC) Championships. The 2012 Archery team returned from this event with their heads up, having a great showing in the process. Diné College’s archery program is the only community college to compete against Division I Universities.
In a modern David versus Goliath story, Diné College coaches Fray Gray and Anthony Goldtooth took home “West Coach of the Year” and ultimately “National Coach of the Year” honors. Considering Diné College had to compete against Universities such as Michigan State, USC, Stanford, Texas A&M, Texas, Florida, Penn College and James Madison to name a few competitors, this represents a tremendous achievement. A community college competing at this Division I level is unique. The National Coach of the Year honor may very well be an unprecedented first for a Native American from a community college competing at the Division I level.
“This could not have been done without the support of our administration and our archers with their strong desire to be successful, not only in competition but, with their educational goals as well,” Coach Gray said. “The team has been a very competitive group due to our excellent past coaches who have taken archery at Diné College to another level,” continued Coach Gray. He and and his Assistant Coach Anthony Goldtooth modestly attribute their success to them.
“Our archers worked hard and listened to everything we shared and showed them as well as having the natural ability to compete in archery”, said Coach Goldtooth. Ben Smith from Chinle, Arizona, garnered rookie of the year honors in his first year of competition. “I was not expecting this honor and really was unprepared when they announced my name,”said archer Ben Smith.
Every year Diné College’s archery program deals with a turnover ratio hovering around 75% of archers leaving and moving on to other universities because it is primarily a two-year school. Every year, Coaches Gray and Goldtooth literally have to begin from “square one,” sometimes training archers with no previous exposure to the sport of archery to become serious competitors.
Coach Gray and Coach Goldtooth have trained to be certified as level 3 coaches. Coach Gray is also the first Director of Judges for the USCA and a regional level judge. Coach Goldtooth is a judge candidate and continues to strive for more advanced training in order to be qualified to share the latest advancements in the sport of archery.