The numbers, which include his Tennessee State Tigerbelles winning 23 Olympic medals and a total of 34 national championships, tell just a small portion about Ed Temple.
Few have meant more to the sport of track and field and the advancement of female African American athletes in history.
He began with paltry resources. Summarized in this Nashville Scene cover story
from March of 2012, Temple took hold of the women’s team at Tennessee State being paid just $150 per month in 1950. The first few seasons he spent driving his three-member team to one meet per year in a station wagon.
From humble beginnings and at just 32 years old, he arrived at the 1960 Olympic Games in Rome. Surrounded by the names of Muhammed Ali, Rafer Johnson and Wilma Rudolph, Temple left an Olympic hero. Led by Rudolph’s gold medal performance in the 100m and 200m, Temple’s Tennessee State Tigerbelles also claimed gold in the 4x100m relay. Not one of those athletes was on scholarship.
His legend is also captured as a prominent character in “Rome 1960: The Olympics That Changed the World”
by Pulitzer Prize winning author David Maraniss.
But he was more than just what happened on the track. He coached a total of 40 Olympians with 28 of them going on to receive master’s degrees and 14 receiving their doctorate.
His 44 years in the sport landed Temple deserving spots in a total of nine Hall of Fames, which includes both the National Track & Field Hall of Fame
and just the fourth coach to be inducted into the U.S Olympic Hall of Fame