With the arrival of his 18th year in red and black, Don Babbitt has transformed the Georgia throws program into arguably the most talented group in the country.
The trend became even more evident as the native of Santa Monica, Calif., led freshman Freya Jones to the NCAA javelin title and four other throwers to All-America honors for Georgia during 2013. Seven NCAA titles, 26 All-American honors and 16 SEC crowns during the past eight seasons further solidified Babbitt's hold as one of the premier throws coaches in the track and field world. The U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) recognized his outstanding contributions following the 2009 season and named him the East Region Men's Coach of the Year.
Under Babbitt's guidance since 1996, Georgia's throwers have reached a high level of success including 12 NCAA titles, 68 All-American certificates and 45 SEC titles. Jones launched a 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. At the conference level last year, Babbitt advised first-year Lady Bulldog Elizabeth Tepe as she reached a personal best (203 ft., 4 in.) to win the hammer at SECs while Hilenn James captured the league's indoor shot put title. 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 in the last seven years. 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.
In 2007, Jenny Dahlgren finished her Bulldog career with three NCAA titles, eight All-American certificates and four SEC titles while shattering school, SEC, collegiate, NCAA Championship and South American records in the hammer throw under Babbitt's guidance. Babbitt, a former UCLA Bruin, 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.
Eleven seasons ago, Babbitt guided Lucais MacKay to All-America honors in the weight, hammer and discus as MacKay became a six-time All-America thrower while at UGA. He 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 2003, Babbitt was named National Assistant Coach of the Year in the men's throws category by the U.S. Track and Field Coaches Association. He was also later named the USTFCCCA East Region Women's Throws Coach of the Year in 2007.
Babbitt has coached 46 throwers who have competed in the Olympic Games and/or World Championships and that group has won nine medals, and 15 top-5 finishes. These include 2005 World Outdoor shot put champion Adam Nelson, who also the 2004 Olympic champion, and 2006 World Indoor champion & 2007 World Outdoor shot put champion Reese Hoffa. 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). In addition, Babbitt has been the long-time coach Andras Haklits, the three-time Croatian Olympian and hammer record holder, who finished eighth in the 2008 Beijing Olympics and seventh in the hammer at the 2009 World Championships in Berlin, Germany.
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.
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 editions. 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. Most recently, 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 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 (15), and Veronika (7).