Desmond Dunham (a.k.a. “Coach D”) is an experienced coach and educator with a breadth of coaching experience and a host of impressive results garnered on both the amateur youth level and the collegiate level. Dunham has experience in coaching events from 55m – 10,000m, including the long hurdles. Dunham’s initial coaching years were spent in the youth arena, as he developed a year-round running program, the DC Redwings Youth Program, Inc., that became a national powerhouse in youth cross-country and track & field, garnering over 50 Junior Olympic All-Americans and 5 cross-country national team championships from 1998-2005. Many of the young athletes he coached went on to compete on the collegiate level, including top programs such as the University of Miami, North Carolina State, University of North Carolina, Penn State, and Princeton which further demonstrated the strong foundation the Redwings program provided for them. Furthermore, Dunham has coached five athletes that have competed at the Olympic Trials, one of which competed in the 2012 Olympic Games.
Originally from Gary, Indiana, Dunham developed a passion for running at a young age and competed in cross-country and track and field through college while at Howard University. Dunham completed his undergraduate studies in Physical Education with a concentration in Exercise Physiology and continued his postgraduate studies in Nutritional Sciences. More importantly, Dunham is noted for his art of working with youth in a structured, organized, and teachable environment, which he has honed with a Master’s degree in Teaching Secondary Science. Because running impacted his life so profoundly, Dunham has sought to give back to the sport, especially through coaching youth in the DC metropolitan area.
After gaining credibility as a coach on the youth running club circuit, Dunham further gained coaching notoriety in 2007 while coaching at Eleanor Roosevelt High School (Greenbelt, MD) by making American history at the Penn Relays, snagging two championship titles in the same meet (high school girls 4×400 and 4×800) while upsetting the dominant Jamaican teams present. The following year, Dunham was able to bring back a team that captured a repeat title in the 4×400, once again making a mark in history. Dunham’s resume boasts high school national records in the girl’s sprint medley relay and 4 x 800m relays during his five-year tenure at the school.
Dunham spread his wings and joined the coaching staff at the University of Maryland as the head cross country coach and distance coach for track and field from 2008-2012. With limited resources, he was able to produce Maryland University’s first woman to claim All-ACC honors in 16 years, who also was the first to qualify for the NCAA Cross Country Nationals in 26 years. While at Maryland, Dunham also served as the NCAA Women’s Mid-Atlantic Cross-Country Regional Chair, leading a committee to determine season rankings and input on meet guidelines.
Dunham, who was Teacher of the Year for Woodrow Wilson Senior High School, is currently the Head Girls Cross Country Coach as well as the Girls and Boys Track & Field Coach since 2012. In his four year span, his teams have won eight (8) DCIAA Championships and three (3) DCSAA Championships. He is also a three-time Washington Post All-Met Coach of the Year. In 2014 Dunham was presented with the Brooks Inspiring Coaches National Award for his impact on amateur athletes. Additional coaching highlights throughout his career include:
• 2008 ESPN/Dyestat National Coach of the Week
• Seventeen National HS Girls Relay Championships
• Two-time HS Girls Nike National Team Cross Country Qualifiers
• Three-Time MD State X-Country Championship Girls Team Titles (2005-07)
• All-Gazette Coach of the Year (eight-time recipient)
Desmond also coaches little league baseball and youth basketball, and is the founder and executive director of Kids Elite Sports, Inc. Kids Elite provides high quality developmental sports, fitness, and enrichment programs which empower children to live healthy and active lifestyles. Through Kids Elite and the additional youth teams that Dunham coaches, he is positively impacting the lives of several hundred youth athletes each year.
For nearly 20 years Dunham has not only been an active and successful cross-country and track & field coach, but has also been solicited to lead coaching education clinics and events around the country. He has recently spoken at the USTFCCCA National Convention, as well as the Florida and Illinois Coaches Association Clinics. As the Pacers Running High School Special Events Coordinator, Dunham is responsible for organizing and leading local coaching education events, coordinating the DCXC Invitational, and more. He is also responsible for assembling a panel of coaches to select the All-Run Washington pre- and post-season cross-country high school runners in the DC Metropolitan area.
Dunham currently resides in Washington DC with his wife, Jami and two kids (Niles – 11 years and Nia – 9 years).