Don Babbitt
Don  Babbitt

Associate Head Coach - Throws Coach

Alma Mater:
UCLA 1989


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Email Coach Babbitt

With the arrival of his 19th year in red and black and in his 31st year overall coaching, Don Babbitt has transformed the Georgia throws program into arguably the most talented group in the country.

Seven NCAA titles, 32 All-American honors and 18 SEC crowns during the past nine seasons further solidified Babbitt's hold as one of the premier throws coaches in the track and field world. The trend became even more evident as the native of Santa Monica, Calif., led freshman Freya Jones to the 2013 NCAA javelin title and four other throwers to All-America honors that year. In 2014, his throwers swept the SEC hammer throw titles (first time for the Bulldogs since 2001) and added six more All-America certificates, including three top-six national finishes in the men's hammer, men's shot put and women's javelin.

Under Babbitt's guidance since 1996, Georgia's throwers have reached a high level of success including 12 NCAA titles, 74 All-American certificates and 47 SEC titles. Most recently, Freya Jones launched a then personal-best javelin mark of 180 ft., 3 in. in the most important meet of the 2013 season for the Bulldogs to give the UGA women its third national championship in the event. Nikola Lomnicka registered four All-America certificates over her years at UGA (2010-12) to go along with the 2010 national title in the hammer throw, marking Georgia's third championship in the event during a five-year span (2006-10). In 2009, Chris Hill won his second consecutive NCAA title in the javelin throw and capped his NCAA career with a USATF National Championship as well with a throw of 83.87 meters (275 ft., 2 in.). This mark established a new NCAA American collegiate record.

Thanks to the performances listed above and others, Babbitt has garnered the following honors:

l 2003 USTFCCCA National Assistant Coach of the Year

l 2007 USTFCCCA East Region Women's Throws Coach of the Year

l 2009 USTFCCCA East Region Men's Throws Coach of the Year

Other notable Bulldog performers under Babbitt's tutelage include collegiate record holder Jenny Dahlgren, 2003 NCAA champion Lucais MacKay and three-time national champion Andras Haklits. In 2007, Dahlgren finished her Bulldog career with three NCAA titles, eight All-American certificates and four SEC titles while the Argentinian shattered school, SEC, collegiate, NCAA Championship and South American records in the hammer throw under Babbitt's guidance. Two years before Dahlgren's finale, Babbitt led his throwers to eight top-20 finishes during the 2005 NCAA Championships, highlighted by Trevor Snyder's second-place finish in the javelin and Dahlgren's pair of top-five finishes in the NCAA Championships.

In 2003, Babbitt guided MacKay to All-America honors in the weight, hammer and discus as MacKay became a six-time All-America thrower while at UGA. Babbitt also coached MacKay to an NCAA title in the hammer throw and led Panagiotis Mavraganis to All-America honors in the weight throw as well as SEC titles in the weight and hammer throws in 2003.

In addition, Babbitt has had a long-term coaching relationship with Haklits, the four-time Croatian Olympian and hammer record holder. Haklits finished eighth in the 2008 Beijing Olympics and seventh in the hammer at the 2009 World Championships in Berlin, Germany.

Babbitt's corps has achieved the following during his time in red and black:

l 12 NCAA championships

l 74 All-America certificates

l 47 SEC championships

Babbitt has also guided a number of the world's top performers at the professional level. These include 2004 Olympic champion and 2005 World Outdoor shot put champion Adam Nelson and 2006 World Indoor and 2007 World Outdoor shot put champion and 2012 Olympic bronze medalist Reese Hoffa. Hoffa has developed into the world's most consistent thrower over the last 10 years and will go down, along with Nelson, as one of the all-time greats in the sport. Babbitt is has also served as he personal coach of eight-time U.S. Champion and current American record holder Breaux Greer (javelin), as well as Canadian record holder Jason Tunks (discus) and three-time Canadian Olympian Brad Snyder (shot put).

Babbitt's success at the international level is highlighted below:

l 46 throwers who have competed at the Olympic Games/World Championships

l His throwers have captured 19 medals in international competition

l His throwers have won 20 titles at the USA Championships

Babbitt came to Athens from California State University in Los Angeles where he was an assistant from 1988-96. He built the Cal State-Los Angeles throwing program into the strongest at the NCAA Division II level, producing 46 NCAA qualifiers, 39 All-Americans and 15 NCAA Champions. During his entire career, he has had 27 NCAA champions and 104 All-Americans.

Babbitt received his bachelor's degree in Biology from UCLA in 1989 and his Master's degree in Exercise Science from Cal State-Los Angeles in 1994.

An avid writer and clinician, Babbitt has written over 50 articles and three book chapters for publications on five continents and in five different languages He has spoken on the throws at clinics in 14 states. Internationally, he has conducted clinics and seminars on six different continents and also hosts the annual Throws Clinic at the University of Georgia, which has attracted 781 coaches from 14 different states and three different countries over the past 14 years. Babbitt has served the Throws Editor for the IAAF Coaches Education Program and an IAAF Level V Lecturer for the IAAF Throws Academy Courses since 2009. In addition, Babbitt produced and taught the throws curriculum for the new USATFCCCA Coaching Academy which was established in 2011, and has contributed to the development of the UK Athletics Coaching Education Curriculum for the heavy throws (shot, discus, hammer).

Babbitt is also an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist and designed strength and conditioning programs for Cal State-Los Angeles' basketball, soccer and track and field teams. He also served as assistant manager and throws coach for the U.S. men's track and field team at the 1997 World University Games in Italy. He has also been a national team coach for Canada, Croatia, Taiwan and Argentina in various major international championships.

While at UCLA, Babbitt competed in the javelin throw for the Bruins, placing seventh at the 1988 Pac-10 Outdoor Championships.

Babbitt is married to the former Petra Juraskova. They have two daughters, Julia (16), and Veronika (8).

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