position Assistant Coach - Throws
Alma Mater Kentucky '10, Murray State '12
Ashley Kovacs is in her seventh season as an assistant coach with the Ohio State track and field program after being named as an assistant coach in 2014. Kovacs mentors the Buckeye throwers and serves as one of the team’s recruiting coordinators.
Kovacs has built an outstanding program for throwers at Ohio State. She has already coached 11 Big Ten Conference champions – both men and women – and has had six of her student-athletes named either Big Ten Athlete of the Year or Athlete of the championship, including Adelaide Aquilla, who won both honors at the 2021 indoor championships, and Sade Olatoye, who won both honors in 2017 and again in 2019.
Kovacs has also coached two NCAA champions: Aquilla won the 2021 NCAA shot put title with a Big Ten Conference record throw of 18.12m / 59-5 1/2; and Olatoye won the NCAA title in 2019 in the weight throw.
During the 2018-19 indoor and outdoor season she was responsible for the training and guidance of Sade Olatoye, a throws specialist who’s legacy will be tough to follow. During the indoor season Olatoye was placed on the Pre-NCAA Indoor Watch List for The Bowerman– collegiate track & field’s highest honor. Olatoye led the nation in both the shot put and weight throw after a stellar effort at the Indoor Big Ten Championships. The senior captured individual conference titles in both events with best marks of 17.88m (58-8) in the shot put and a 24.07m (78-11¾) in the weight throw. This stellar performance, along with her impressive ten titles in seven meets, being in Top Three of shot put and weight throw, has earned her a spot on this prestigious list. Olatoye is the first Buckeye in history to receive this honor, writing her name deep within the Ohio State record books yet again. The Ohio native secured the No. 6 spot in NCAA all-time history with her 24.07m (78-11.75) in the Big Ten Championship weight throw competition. She is only the second Buckeye in Ohio State history who is currently on the list. Olatoye was named Big Ten Field Athlete of the week five times in a row, creating another school record and Big Ten record to add to her accolades. She was named Field Athlete of the year for both the Big Ten and USTFCCCA Great Lakes Region. Sade Olatoye was also named Ohio State Athlete of the Year, one of the highest honors an athlete can receive within the University. Olatoye holds four Ohio State records, both indoor (17.88m) and outdoor (16.90m) shot put along both indoor (24.46m) and outdoor (67.49m) hammer. Due to this stellar season, Kovacs was hailed Great Lakes Region Coach of the Year for the second time in her career.
She was named Outdoor Field Athlete of the Week (May 1, 2019), the same week she took home three gold medals and broke two school records at the Jesse Owens Classic. Olatoye hasn’t placed lower than 6th in any meet she has competed in during the 2019 outdoor season. Runner-up at the Big Ten Championships in shot put and hammer throw. Olatoye will compete in both shot put and hammer throw at the NCAA Championships. The throws specialist coached four of her athletes to top three finishes at the conference title, assisting in the total point count that led the women to a championship. Coach Kovacs qualified three athletes in two events, shot put and hammer, for the NCAA Championships. At those Championships,the senior took third in shot put and fourth in the hammer throw at the NCAA Championships. Her two top eight finishes allowed her to score a total of 11 points to assist in the women’s top 25 finish. Kovacs was selected to prepare the men’s USATF National throwing team for the IAAF World championships Doha 2019.
During the 2017 slate, Muffet guided Sade Olatoye to becoming the first woman in program history to win both the shot put and the weight throw at a single Big Ten championship meet during 2017. For her efforts, she was named the Big Ten Female Field Athlete of the Championships, an award that no Ohio State thrower had ever claimed. Olatoye set two school records during the 2017 slate: weight throw (21.73m/71-3.50) and outdoor shot put (16.69m/54-9.25). The sophomore also earned First Team All-America honors in the weight throw at the NCAA Indoor Championships with a fourth-place showing in the shot put. After the conclusion of the indoor season, Olatoye was named the 2017 Big Ten Indoor Field Athlete of the Year, an award that no other Buckeye has ever claimed.
Muffet also helped Nick Demaline register a third-place finish in the shot put at the NCAA Outdoor Championships with a heave of 19.21m (63-0.25). Demaline’s first year in Columbus came to an end with a third-place finish at nationals, a Big Ten outdoor title in the shot put, First Team All-American indoor honors and a runner-up finish at the indoor B1G meet. Demaline also moved into the Top 5 all-time in program history for the indoor and outdoor shot put this year.
Muffet tutored transfer Alyssa Kopp to the second-longest javelin throw in history at the Big Ten Championships. Kopp heaved the stick 47.23m (154-11) to take fifth place at the conference meet. Lyne’a Diller, a freshman in 2017, saw vast improvements in her throwing skills and she scored points for the Buckeyes in the shot put at the Big Ten Indoor Championships with a toss of 15.63m (51-3.50) to place sixth.
In 2016, Muffet guided the throwers to a breakout season. Between the indoor and outdoor Big Ten championships, her athletes combined to score 52 points for the Buckeyes. J.C. Murasky was the catalyst and finished his Buckeye career ranking third all-time in program history in three events: indoor shot put (20.19m), outdoor shot put (20.21m) and the discus throw (53.59m). Murasky captured titles in the shot put at the 2016 Big Ten outdoor and indoor championships with ease. The Zanesville, Ohio native finished third at the NCAA Indoor Championships with a shot put heave of 20.03m (65-8.75). Late in the fall of 2016, Murasky was invited to train at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, Calif.
Muffet helped a plethora of throwers register top-five marks in program history in 2016. Allie Missler and Alyssa Gary, both seniors, registered the second-best throws in Ohio State program history in their respective events. Gary recorded her personal record at the NCAA East Preliminaries with a heave of 16.30m (53-5.75); she would go on to earn Honorable Mention All-America honors at the NCAA Championships. Missler threw the javelin a personal record of 46.96m (154-1) at the Big Ten Championships to place sixth.
Muffet also tutored Sade Olatoye to a fab freshman campaign. Olatoye recorded the second-longest weight throw in program history with a heave of 20.38m (66-10.5). The Dublin, Ohio native also registered the fifth-best indoor shot put in program history with a heave of 16.04m (52-7.5) at the Kentucky Invitational. Olatoye would also represent the United States at the 2016 IAAF U20 World Championships in the hammer throw.
Aaron Zedella and Jared Ballenger also worked their way into the top-five all-time list in their respective events at Ohio State. In the discus, Ballenger’s throw of 53.57m (175-9) at the LSU Battle on the Bayou was the fourth-longest in program history. Aaron Zedella recorded the fifth-best weight throw in program history 21.01m (68-11.25) at the Findlay Classic.
Ohio State’s young throwers showed tremendous growth under Muffet’s leadership in 2015, setting numerous personal bests throughout the season. Murasky was the leader of the Buckeye throws team, earning First Team All-America honors in the shot put at the NCAA outdoor championships while capturing a silver medal at the Big Ten outdoor meet. Teammate Zedella finished in the Top 10 in three events at the Big Ten championships and cracked the Ohio State all-time performers list in the hammer throw. On the women’s side, Carly Pendleton collected Honorable Mention All-America honors in the discus at the NCAA outdoor championships, while Missler earned a fifth-place finish in the javelin at the Big Ten finals. Gary made huge strides in the shot put as well, improving her career best in the event by nearly four feet.
Highly respected in the track and field community, Muffet spent two seasons as throws coach at Western Kentucky from 2012-14, working with both the WKU men’s and women’s teams. 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 WKU women’s throwers to 10 of the Top 25 throwing marks in WKU history, including school records in the indoor and outdoor shot put, weight throw and discus. The Lady Topper throwers combined for 45 of Western Kentucky’s 169 points at the 2014 Sun Belt Indoor Championships and scored 53 of 173 points at the SBC outdoor championships as WKU captured both the indoor and outdoor conference crowns. In her first season at Western Kentucky in 2013, every Hilltopper and Lady Topper thrower recorded personal records in his or her respective events.
Muffet was instrumental in the development of student-athletes Jessica Ramsey and Travis Gerding. Ramsey was an All-American and seven-time Sun Belt Conference champion who became the first Lady Topper in school history to qualify for the NCAA outdoor championships in three individual events. Gerding earned All-Sun Belt Conference honors in the shot put and weight throw.
Prior to her stint at Western Kentucky, Muffet spent a year coaching throws at Murray State while working on her master’s degree. In her lone season with the Racers, Muffet coached freshman Tonia Pratt to Ohio Valley Conference titles in the weight and hammer throws, as well as OVC indoor and outdoor Freshman of the Year honors.
A four-time All-American at Kentucky from 2006-2010, Muffet was an 11-time All-Southeastern Conference 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. Muffet participated in the U.S Olympic trials in 2008 and 2012 and holds Kentucky’s school records in the shot put and discus. She competed unattached in three meets during the 2012-13 season, winning the shot put on two occasions and placing fourth at the 2013 USA Indoor Championships.
A native Ohioan, Muffet is a graduate of North Canton Hoover High School (2001-2005), where she was a three-time state champion and former Ohio state-record holder in the shot put. Muffet earned her bachelor’s degree in telecommunications from the University of Kentucky in 2010 and added a master’s in human development and leadership from Murray State University in 2012.
Muffet Coaching Career
2014-Present: Assistant Coach & Recruiting Coordinator, Ohio State
2012-14: Assistant Coach, Western Kentucky
2011-12: Assistant Coach, Murray State