Ashley Kovacs - Women's Track and Field - Vanderbilt University Athletics

Ashley Kovacs

Associate Head Coach • Throws

Ashley Kovacs serves as associate head coach and throws coach for the Vanderbilt women’s track and field program, the 2022-23 season is her second year with the program.

One of the nation’s most highly respected throws coaches, Kovacs has mentored a world champion, three NCAA champions, 18 All-Americans, 24 conference champions, 32 individuals who advanced to the NCAA Championships, three regional Athlete-of-the-Year honorees, eight top-three finishers at NCAAs and 10 conference championship teams. Most recently, she was named an assistant coach, throws, for Team USA for the 2022 World Athletics Championships—the first held on U.S. soil. Additionally, Kovacs has been named USTFCCCA regional assistant of the year several times.

In her inaugural season with the Commodores, Kovacs championed graduate transfer Divine Oladipo to unprecedented accomplishments in Vanderbilt program history. The pair reset school records in the discus as well as the indoor and outdoor shot put. With Kovacs’ guidance, Oladipo garnered second-team All-SEC recognition after taking second-place in the shot put at the SEC Indoor Championships. Her qualifying throw propelled her to the NCAA Indoor Championships in the event where she was named an All-American.

The duo continued their success into the outdoor season where Oladipo repeated as an All-SEC selection after top finishes in the discus and shot put. Her success at the conference championship qualified her for the NCAA East Region Prelims in both events, making Oladipo one of two Commodores to qualify for more than one event. Kovacs led Oladipo to second-team All-America honors in the discus and a first-team selection in the shot put.

Academically, Oladipo garnered All-Academic recognition from the USTFCCCA and a spot on the 2021-22 First-Year SEC Academic Honor Roll.

Kovas also championed transfer Veronica Fraley to an improvement from 56.70 meters to 62.30 meters, en route to qualifying for Team USA in the discus. Fraley finished 17th overall in the World Championships, the youngest athlete in the women’s discus top-20.

Kovacs came to Nashville after seven years at Ohio State where she coached throws and served as the recruiting coordinator. In Columbus, she mentored two national champions to three NCAA titles, 15 Big Ten champions, 24 top-3 conference finishes, four conference record holders, four Big Ten Athletes of the Year, and four more to Athlete of the Meet honors at the conference championships. During her tenure with the Buckeyes, she was named the 2021 Outdoor Coach of the Year for the Geat Lakes Region and USATFCCA Regional Coach of the Year in 2019.

A three-time regional Coach of the Year, Kovacs led Adelaide Aquilla to a pair of national titles in the shot put, while Sade Olatoye won the 2019 weight throw crown. Aquilla ranks No. 2 all-time in NCAA history in the shot put, while Olatoye set a Big Ten record with ten titles in seven meets and set career highs at the Big Ten Indoor Championships in the shot put (17.88m/58-8 ft.) and in the weight throw (24.07m/78-11 3/4 ft.). Her weight throw performance placed her third all-time in the NCAA’s history. In 2017, Olatoye became the first woman to win both the shot put and weight throw at a single Big Ten championship.

The Ohio State men’s and women’s record books are littered with Kovacs’ athletes. Among many, Nick Demaline finished his first season in Columbus with a third-place finish at the NCAA Outdoor Championships (19.21m/63-02.50 ft.) and a Big Ten Outdoor championship in shot put. All-American J.C. Murasky finished his Buckeye career ranking third all-time in program history in three events and won multiple Big Ten championships, while Carly Pendleton collected Honorable Mention All-America honors in the discus and Alyssa Gary earned Honorable Mention All-America honors as one of the top shot putters in school history.

Prior to her time with the Buckeyes, Kovacs spent two seasons at Western Kentucky where she was the 2014 U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Southeast Region Women’s Assistant Coach of the Year after guiding the women’s throwers to 10 of the Top 25 throwing marks in program history, including school records in the indoor and outdoor shot put, weight throw and discus. The Hilltoppers won the indoor and outdoor conference championships in 2014 as Kovacs mentored Jessica Ramsey, who became Western Kentucky’s first female student-athlete to qualify for three different events at the NCAA outdoor championships. Ramsey also was an All-American and seven-time conference champion.

As a graduate assistant at Murray State in 2011-12, Kovacs tutored the throwers and mentored Tonia Pratt to Ohio Valley Conference championships in the weight and hammer throws. Pratt then claimed indoor and outdoor OVC Freshman of the Year awards.

A four-time All-American at Kentucky from 2006-2010, Kovacs was an 11-time All-SEC selection, an SEC Most Valuable Player and Commissioner’s Cup winner, and a runner-up in the shot put at the 2010 NCAA Indoor Championships. Kovacs participated in the U.S Olympic trials in 2008 and 2012 and graduated with school records in the shot put and discus.

Kovacs earned her bachelor’s degree in telecommunications from the University of Kentucky in 2010, added a master’s in human development and leadership from Murray State University in 2012 and a second master’s degree in sports coaching from Ohio State in 2017.

A native Ohioan, Kovacs is a graduate of North Canton Hoover High School (2001-2005), where she was a three-time state champion and former state record holder in the shot put.

Kovacs (nee Muffet) is married to Joe Kovacs, who is a two-time world champion and won the silver medal as a member of Team USA in the shot put at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. She serves as Joe’s coach, the 2019 world champion in the shot put, and the duo claimed silver at the World Championships in a thrilling display against Ryan Crouser in 2022.

Kovacs Coaching Career
2021-Present: Assistant Coach, Vanderbilt
2014-21: Assistant Coach & Recruiting Coordinator, Ohio State
2012-14: Assistant Coach, Western Kentucky
2011-12: Assistant Coach, Murray State

Kovacs Coaching Honors
2014 UTFCCCA Southeast Region Women’s Assistant Coach of the Year

Follow coach Kovacs on Social Media

Instagram: @ashleykovacsusa | @coachkovacsusa
Twitter: @ashleykovacsusa