Kingdom, Powell, McDonnell lead 2005 inductees to National Track & Field Hall of Fame

11-03-2005

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Tom Surber
USATF Media Information Manager
USA Track & Field
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NEW YORK - Track & field legends Roger Kingdom and Mike Powell, and University of Arkansas head coach John McDonnell headline an impressive group of inductees for the National Track & Field Hall of Fame Class of 2005. The inductees, announced on Thursday by USA Track & Field, also include veteran athletes Wes Santee, Earlene Brown, Jim Fuchs and Fred Wolcott.

USATF announced the inductees Thursday afternoon in New York, site of the National Track & Field Hall of Fame and host of this Sunday's New York City Marathon. The Class of 2005 will be inducted Thursday evening, December 1, at the Jesse Owens Awards and Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, held in conjunction with USATF's 2005 Annual Meeting in Jacksonville, Fla.

"I take great pride in welcoming the Class of 2005 into the National Track & Field Hall of Fame," said USATF President Bill Roe. "These remarkable individuals have made tremendous contributions to the legacy of USA Track & Field, and I congratulate them for all their accomplishments."

"All of us at USA Track & Field look forward to these all-time greats taking their rightful places in the National Track & Field Hall of Fame," said USATF CEO Craig Masback. "All seven made indelible and unique contributions to the heritage of our sport, and they couldn't be more deserving of this honor."

As a two-time Olympic gold medalist (1984, '88) and former world record holder, Roger Kingdom's achievements in the 110-meter hurdles set the standard for others to aspire to. A five-time USA Outdoor champion, Kingdom won gold medals at the Pan American Games in 1983 and 1995, and won the NCAA Outdoor title in 1983 and NCAA Indoor hurdles crown in 1984. Kingdom ended five seasons ranked #1 in the world by Track & Field News, and won a World University Games gold medal in 1989.

In what many consider the greatest head-to-head competition in track and field history, Mike Powell won the 1991 World Outdoor Championships men's long jump gold medal over fellow Hall of Famer Carl Lewis by setting the world record of 8.95 meters/29 feet, 4.50 inches, in Tokyo, Japan. The mark broke the previous standard set by Bob Beamon in 1968. Powell, who also won the World Outdoor Championships gold medal in 1993, was a two-time Olympic silver medalist and six-time USA Outdoor champion. Ranked #1 in the world on four occasions, he won 34 consecutive competitions in 1993 and 1994.

During his long and distinguished career, John McDonnell's University of Arkansas Razorbacks have set a standard in collegiate sports that may never be equaled. To date, McDonnell-led squads have won 41 NCAA national team championships and produced five seasons in which they won national titles in indoor track, outdoor track and cross country in the same year, known as the "triple crown." Arkansas athletes have won 105 NCAA event championships under McDonnell's guidance, and he has produced 161 All-Americans. On 28 occasions he has been named the NCAA coach of the year.

One of America's finest middle distance runners ever, Wes Santee competed in the 1952 Olympics in the 5,000 meters, although he is best remembered for his success in the mile and 1,500 meters. During his career, Santee owned the world indoor 1,500m record on two occasions and set the outdoor 1,500m world record at the 1956 Compton Invitational. The three-time U.S. outdoor champion also was a key contender in the legendary chase to run the first sub-four-minute mile.

One of the greatest American women throwers of all time, Earlene Brown had top ten finishes in both the shot put and discus at the 1956 Olympic Games - when she set American records in both events - and 1960 Olympics, with her highlight being her Olympic bronze medal shot put performance. She was an eight-time national champion in the shot and a three-time champion in the discus, becoming the first American to break the 50-foot barrier in the shot put in 1958, when she was #1 world ranked. She retired after placing 12th in the shot put at the 1964 Olympic Games.

A former world record holder in the men's shot put, Jim Fuchs between 1949-51 won an incredible 88 consecutive competitions and broke the world record four times. That remarkable period was book ended by Olympic bronze medals in 1948 and 1952. A two-time NCAA shot put champion while competing for Yale and three-time national champion, Fuchs also was proficient in the discus, winning the gold medal in that event, along with the shot put, at the 1951 Pan American Games.

Fred Wolcott dominated the men's hurdles during World War II, a period of time when there was no Olympic Games for him to showcase his talent. That unfortunate coincidence did not keep him from setting world records on seven occasions and becoming the first man ever to possess the world records in the low and high hurdles at the same time. A collegiate star at Rice University, Wolcott won five NCAA Outdoor titles and won seven National AAU Outdoor championships.

About the National Track & Field Hall of Fame

To coincide with the 2004 opening of the new National Track & Field Hall of Fame at the Armory Track & Field Center in New York City, the Hall of Fame Steering Committee and Board of Directors modernized the screening, nomination and voting processes. There are now four categories in which individuals may be voted into the Hall of Fame. Those categories are: Modern athletes, retired less than 25 years; Veteran athletes, retired more than 25 years or more; Coaches; Contributors Each category has its own selection committee that chooses the finalists from the list of nominations. Members of the selection committees examine the nominations and evaluate their merit based on objective criteria. Elections for Modern and Veteran athletes are held each year. Beginning in 2005, elections for Coaches are held in odd numbered years, with Contributors elections in even numbered years. The National Track & Field Hall of Fame electorate is comprised of Hall of Fame inductees, members of the National Track & Field Hall of Fame Board and Committees, and members of the media.

Class of 2005 biographies

Biographies for the "Class of 2005" for the National Track & Field Hall of Fame follow:

MODERN ATHLETES

ROGER KINGDOM: The winner of two Olympic gold medals in the 110 meter hurdles, one in 1984 and another in 1988, where Kingdom routed the field in Seoul with his then Olympic record winning time of 12.98 seconds. On August 16, 1989 he broke fellow National Track and Field Hall of Famer Renaldo Nehemiah's nearly eight-year-old world record by posting a 12.92 at the Weltklasse meet in Zurich, Switzerland. Kingdom's world mark lasted four years and five days. His competitive career also includes five U.S. Outdoor championships (1985, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1995), two gold medals at the Pan Am Games (1983, 1995), a World Cup gold medal (1989), and a gold at the World University Games (1989). As a collegian at the University of Pittsburgh, Kingdom won the NCAA Division I Outdoor 110m hurdles title in 1983, and the NCAA Indoor 55m hurdles crown in 1984. Kingdom, who was ranked #1 in the world on five occasions (1984-1985-1988-1989-1990) is currently the head track and field coach at California University (Pennsylvania).

MIKE POWELL: One of the greatest long jumpers of all time, Powell set the existing world record of 8.95 meters/29 feet, 4.50 inches at the 1991 IAAF World Outdoor Championships in Tokyo, winning an epic dual against fellow Hall of Famer Carl Lewis. Powell's dramatic victory, a world record performance that nobody has come close to since, handed Lewis his first defeat in the event in 10 years. During his heralded long jump career, Powell was a two-time world champion (1991-1993), two-time Olympic silver medalist (1988/1992) and six-time U. S. champion (1990-92-93-94-95-96). He was the world's dominant long jumper in 1993 and 1994, winning 34 competitions in a row. In 1991 he earned the AAU's James E. Sullivan Memorial Award as the nation's top amateur athlete. Powell, who was ranked #1 in the world by Track & Field News on four occasions (1990-1991-1993-1994) currently serves as an assistant track and field coach at his collegiate alma mater, UCLA.

COACH

JOHN McDONNELL: The winningest coach in NCAA history, John McDonnell's University of Arkansas Razorback squads have won 41 national championships and produced five seasons in which they won the triple crown (indoor track, outdoor track & cross country) NCAA Division I team titles in the same year. His 12-consecutive NCAA indoor track championships (1984-1995) is the longest string of national titles by any school in any sport in collegiate history. McDonnell's squads have won 76 Conference championships and 31 consecutive cross country conference titles. McDonnell has won 105 NCAA event championships and produced 161 All-Americans that have earned 614 All-America honors. Arkansas had produced three track & field All-Americans prior to McDonnell taking charge of the program. He has been named the NCAA coach of the year on 28 occasions.

VETERAN ATHLETES

EARLENE BROWN: In winning the bronze medal at the 1960 Olympic Games in Rome, Brown remains the only American woman ever to win an Olympic medal in the shot put. She also placed sixth at the 1960 Olympics in the discus throw. She began her track and field career in 1956 and won the AAU shot put championship that same year with a then U. S. record of 13.72 meters/45 feet. At the Olympic Trials that year she extended her record to14.26m/46-9.50. Although she finished sixth in the shot and fourth in the discus at the 1956 Olympics, Brown set American records in both events. In 1958, she became the first American woman to break the 50-foot barrier in the shot, and ended the season ranked #1 in the world by Track & Field News. Brown won the AAU outdoor shot put championship eight times, from 1956 through 1962 and in 1964. She demonstrated her versatility in winning U.S. titles in the discus in 1958, 1959, and 1961. She also won the baseball throw (since dropped from the program) in 1958, and was the gold medalist in both the shot and the discus at the 1959 Pan-American Games. After placing twelfth in the shot at the 1964 Olympics, Brown retired from track and field competition. She later became a star in the Roller Derby. Brown died in 1983.

JIM FUCHS: Fuchs enjoyed a period of domination in the men's shot put from 1949-1950 that will be long remembered. Through that remarkable span of time he won 88 consecutive meets and set four world records, and Track & Field News ranked him #1 in the world each of those seasons. Along with his world records, other highlights of his career included Olympic bronze medals in 1948 in London and 1952 in Helsinki. As a collegiate star competing for Yale, Fuchs won both the IC4A and NCAA championships in 1949 and 1950. He won U.S. national outdoor titles those same years, and was the AAU indoor champion three years in a row from 1950 through 1952. The 1951 Pan American Games shot put and discus champion in 1951, Fuchs went on his world record shot put spree beginning in 1949. His first world record was 17.79m/58 feet, 4.50 inches in June of 1949 at Oslo, Norway, and he extended it to 17.82m/58-5.50 on April 29, 1950 at Los Angeles. Fuchs improved the world record to 17.90m/58-8.75 on August 20, 1950, at Visby, Sweden; and increased it to 17.95m/58-10.75 two days later at Eskilstuna, Sweden. Fuchs currently resides in New York City.

WES SANTEE: A 1952 Olympian who competed in the 5,000 meters at the Games in Helsinki, Santee is most known for his prowess in the mile and 1,500 meters. One of a handful of competitors considered to be a serious threat to break the four-minute mile barrier before it happened in 1954, Santee set the world record in the 1,500 meters on June 4, 1956, when he was timed in 3 minutes, 42.8 seconds at the Compton Invitational. Santee also set the indoor mile world record twice (4:04.9-1954 & 4:03.8-1955), and the indoor 1,500m world record once in 1955 (3:48.3). Known for his versatility as a collegiate star at the University of Kansas, on April 10, 1954, Santee had an amazing three-race performance against the University of California at Berkeley, where he won the 880y in 1:51.5, the mile in 4:05.5, and ran a 440 relay leg in 48-flat. As a Jayhawk, Santee won the NCAA outdoor mile title in 1953, the NCAA 5,000m crown in 1952, and the NCAA cross country title in 1953. The national indoor mile champion in 1955, Santee captured USA Outdoor 1500m/Mile crowns in 1952, 1953y and 1955. He was world ranked by Track & Field News in the 800 meters in 1953 (#2), 1954 (#8) & 1955 (#6); and in the 1,500 meters in 1953 (#2), 1954 (#3) & 1955 (#7). Santee currently resides in Eureka, Kansas.

FRED WOLCOTT: Although the prime of Fred Wolcott's outstanding career occurred when there was no Olympic Games because of World War II, his accomplishments stand as a testament to one of the greatest hurdlers of all-time. He broke world records seven times during the late 1930s and early 1940s and was the first man to hold IAAF world records in the high and low hurdles at the same time. One of his most notable performances came in 1940 when he broke Jesse Owens' world record in the 220-yard low hurdles with a time of 22.5 seconds. The next year, he equaled the world record in the high hurdles with a time of 13.7 seconds at the AAU Championships in Philadelphia. The winner of seven National AAU Outdoor titles (110m hurdles 1938, 1940, 1941 - 220y hurdles 1938, 1939, 1940, 1941), Wolcott won the AAU Indoor 60y hurdles crown in 1942. As a collegiate star at Rice University, Wolcott won the NCAA 120y hurdles title in 1938 and 1939, and the NCAA 220y hurdles crown in 1938, 1939 and 1940. Wolcott, who won 10 Southwestern Conference gold medals as a collegian, was inducted into the Texas Sports Hall of Fame in 1958. Wolcott died in 1972.

For more information on the National Track & Field Hall of Fame, visit www.usatf.org.