As the longest tenured coach on the Florida State track & field staff, Dennis Nobles has been instrumental in the rise and sustained success of the Seminoles’ jumpers, pole vaulters and multi-event athletes, serving as the Director of Field Events.
Nobles’ connection to the program runs four decades deep, dating to his undergraduate days as a pole vaulter and multi-event athlete for the Seminoles. Widely recognized as one of the nation’s most accomplished coach of horizontal jumps, he also instructs FSU’s vertical jumpers, multi-event athletes and javelin throwers.
Nobles will forever be linked to former Seminole Kim Williams’ development as college track & field’s most decorated women’s triple jumper. Williams, who holds the collegiate record, is a five-time NCAA champion and advanced to the finals of the 2012 Olympic Games. He also mentored Ngoni Makusha through four NCAA long jump titles. Considered one of the finest track athletes in FSU history, Makusha capped his career as the 2011 winner of The Bowerman Award, presented to the nation’s top collegiate track & field athlete.
The two multi-time NCAA champions only scratch the surface when it comes to outlining Nobles’ impact. Since joining Terry Long’s staff full-time in 1987, Nobles’ athletes have combined for 15 individual NCAA and 96 ACC titles. They have also claimed 111 All-American honors. He has coached nine former Seminoles who have gone on to represent their countries at the Olympic Games, including two-time NCAA champion pole vaulter Lacy Janson (USA), who made her Olympic debut in 2012.
Nobles’ reputation as a coach extended well beyond the boundaries of the Florida State campus. Great Britain’s Jonathan Edwards, one of the world’s elite triple jumpers, employed Nobles as his coach. Edwards went on to win the Olympic gold medal in 2000 after claiming the silver medal in 1996.
Among the many stars who have shined under his direction with the Seminoles are Rafeeq Curry, who won the 2006 NCAA triple jump title and claimed the 2011 US National championship. Janson won the US indoor national title in 2011.
Decathlete Gonzalo Barroilhet established a new school and ACC Outdoor Championship record in 2012, piling up 8,065 points en route to second a second trip to the Olympics representing Chile.
One of Nobles’ current multi-athletes is redshirt junior Grete Sadeiko, who won an ACC heptathlon title with a school-record 5,705 points less than a year after enduring reconstructive knee surgery. Like Barroilhet, Sadeiko - who earned second-team All-American honors outdoors last season - has her eyes set on the 2016 Games.
Florida State’s outdoor top 10 lists for the jumps and vaults are littered with Nobles’ athletes, particularly on the women’s side. His female jumpers and vaulters have 38 of the 40 top-10 marks, while the men have 33 of the top 40 marks. Including the multi events, all 10 of the men’s indoor and outdoor records, as well as eight of the nine women’s marks, belong to athletes coached by Nobles.
Inducted into the State of Florida Track & Field Hall of Fame in 2012, Nobles earned National Assistant Coach of the Year honors in 2003 and has been the South Region Women’s Indoor Assistant of the Year in 2011 and 2012..
Nobles graduated Cum Laude from Florida State’s School of Physical Education while also competing as a pole vaulter and decathlete on the Seminole track team from 1979-81. He went on to obtain his master’s degree from FSU in exercise physiology in 1983. In addition to his coaching duties, he is an associate professor at FSU as well.
Nobles began his coaching career at Wayland Baptist College, an NAIA track powerhouse in Plainview, Texas. While at Wayland, he coached 17 All-Americans, two national champions, a pair of Olympic qualifiers and a national record-holder. He also led the school to a national championship and two runner-up finishes.
He returned to FSU in 1985 and spent two seasons as a volunteer assistant coach before stepping into a full-time role. No assistant on the Florida State campus has served longer.