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Track is a fascinating sport that requires mental toughness and the ability to overcome adversity. The Greeks knew this and chose Track and Field as the key sport for Olympic competition.
Track is not a complicated sport. Track athletes don’t need to learn complicated plays, study films to determine team tendencies, or change offensive and defensive techniques every week to exploit the weakness of the competitor. Track participants main goal is to convert innate talents, strong discipline, and hard work into maximum performance.
Track forces participants to confront personal character flaws, demons, personal weaknesses, and insecurities. Jesse Owens says about mental toughness "The Battles That Count Aren't the Ones For Gold Medals. The struggles within yourself - The Invisible, Inevitable battles Inside all of Us - That's Where It Is At." Patti Sue Plumer agrees saying “ Racing teaches us to challenge ourselves. It teaches us to push beyond where we thought we could go. It helps us to find out what we are made of. This is what we do. This is what it's all about."
The quote "Sports do not build character- It reveals it" defines track and field participants. Track athletes deal with “invisible, inevitable battles” and a gut check every day.
Track is the only sport that athletes reveal their character to the fans as the event unfolds. In the picture below Preston Davis (left) and Richard Romo (right) mirror the internal struggle that occurs 1000's of times for UT athletes as they write their story in the History of U.T. Track.
The History of Men's Track begins with a celebration of UT performers who represented the USA in the Olympics.
Since Wrestling is not a sport covered by the Texas Sports network, I have not included wrestling on the TLSN site. However, Ralph Hammonds great accomplishment in Longhorn sports history should not be minimized or forgotten. He is the first Longhorn qualifier for the Olympics in the history of UT sports. I have included him in the track section because he was also a great pole Vaulter.
Ralph Hammonds was a versatile athlete at the University of Texas, a pole vaulter on the track team and a wrestler.
He was Southwest Conference champion in the pole vault and second at the 1927 NCAA Championships;
Hammonds won AAU Champion in 1925-26 as a wrestler;
He competed in the first NCAA wrestling championship in 1928; and
- Hammonds was undefeated in 1928 and made the Olympic team.
1948 Olympics London
In 1943 Jerry Thompson's is the NCAA two-mile champion, a three-time All-American in the two-mile, a member of the 1948 U.S. Olympic team in the 5,000 meter event, and National Champion in 1943, '44,'45. He was inducted into the Texas Sports Hall of Fame in 1976.
Coach Littlefield said that Jerry "was born with about 90 percent more endurance than most other boys." He........ was talented, competitive, and unselfish."
1952 Olympics Helsinki
1952-1954 - Dean Smith is a sprinter and a halfback for the Longhorns' 1952 SWC championship football team. He is the first Longhorn track star to win a Olympic gold medal, and he is inducted into the Texas Sports Hall of Fame in 1985.
After his track career, Dean uses an important contact (Jim Baumgardner) who is an OU friend to get a job as a Hollywood stuntman. Years Jim Baumgardner changes his Hollywood name to James Garner. Dean Smith is a instant success as a stunt man and hired by Steve McQueen, John Wayne, and Robert Redford. John Wayne says "this guy is amazing". "He can jump over a horse faster than you can say Jack Robinson."
Dean Smith -Olympian and Stuntman. At 42 years of age Dean runs the 100 in the same time he ran it at 17 years of age (9.9).
1956 - Melbourne Olympics
In 1958 Eddie Southern is the first person to run the quarter mile in under 45 seconds. Southern also anchors the 4 x 110 relay team that sets two world records in four years. He is inducted into the Texas Sports Hall of Fame in 1969.
Coach Littlefield said "I was never associated with an athlete who could do so many things so well."
1976 Montreal Olympics
In 1976 Johnny "Lam" Jones won a gold medal in the 4 x 100 relay. There is a special page for Johnny on this site.
2008 Beijing Olympics
Trey Hardee participates in the 2008 and 2012 Olympic game. He receives the 2009 Jim Thorpe All-Around Award from DeLoss Dodds and in 2012 wins a silver medal in the Decathlon.
Leo Manzano participates in the 2008 and 2012 Olympic games. He receives a silver medal in the 1500 in 2012.
He wins the outdoor National Championship in 2005, 2007, and 2008, and he is a Cross Country All-American in 2007.
2012 London Olympics
2016 Rio Olympics Representing the USA
Ryan Crouser wins the Gold medal in the Shot Put.
For those of you fascinated with track history the link below has a wealth of information from the magazine Track and Field.
UT -MEN'S TRACK- No team National championshim
UT has produced 35 NCAA individual National champions.
1895 Coach and player Walter W. Fisher
In the remainder of this history of Texas track, the name in blue font is the finish of the athlete at the National meet. If the athletes name is not in blue, it is not a national result.
1895 - 1900 - Fisher is involved as a player in Football, Track, and Baseball;
he is a 1968 HOH inductee;
As a player Walter Fisher is One of UT's first varsity letter winners;
He is Captain of 1895 and 1896 track team; and
a Member of the unbeaten 1895 football team
1895 - SNAKY JONES
Snaky is a Member Of The First Official UT Track Team
In 1895 Snaky is also a Member Of UT's only Unbeaten and Unscored on Team in Texas football history, and he is captain of the first baseball team.
In 1896 he is co-captain of the football team.
B.T. Van Zandt of Paris, Texas receives the first monogrammed letter as a sprinter.
The Cactus in 1896, 1897, 1898, and 1899 gave no press to Track and Field. Things changed in 1902 when the team took first place at the Texas Collegiate meet.
Coach F.H. Curtis 1900-1905
1900 Coach Curtis
1901 COACH CURTIS
The Texas Intercollegiate Athletic Association (T.I.A.A.) is founded.
Records at the time include
High Jump 5' 3"
440 time of 62.4
Pole Vault - 9'
100- 11 flat
Coach J.P. Howser 1906-1909
1906 - Coach J.P. Howser
A crouching start instead of a standing start lowers the sprint times.
Tex Ramsdell In 1906 is one of the best all round athletes of all time at Texas. He ran a unheard of 9.8 for the 100 and is equally impressive in the 220, 440, mile, and broad jump. He still holds a record that will probably never be broken by winning the 100, 220, 440, and finishing 2nd in the 880 in one track meet.
Three Ramsdell brothers and one sister are wearers of the "T" . The oldest brother was the Adjunct Professor of American History at Texas.
Three Ramsdell brothers and one sister are wearers of the "T" . The oldest brother was the Adjunct Professor of American History at Texas.
Coach C.S. Snyder 1910
Coach Burton Rix 1911
Coach Carl C.Taylor 1912-1914
Starting in 1912 thru 1918 Texas wins six T.I.A.A. Conference championships.
Maj. General Kearie Lee Berry 1912-1924
- Received honors in wrestling, football, and track from 1912 -1924.
- A career Army man, he survived the famous Bataan Death March and 40 months as a prisoner of war and Earned a Purple Heart, Silver Star, and Distinguished Service Cross
- Named Adjutant General of Texas in 1947
1913-COACH CARL C.TAYLOR
1913 is Clyde Littlefields freshman year at Texas.
1914 COACH CARL C.TAYLOR
Clyde Littlefield is leading scorer for the season (54 points)
(December) the Southwest Athletic Conference forms (SWC).
Clyde Littlefield broke the world's record in the high hurdles.
Coach W.e. Metzenithin 1915-1916
1917- The season was basically cancelled because of WWI
1918- COACH W. J. JUNEAU
The war ends and track returns to prominence slowly. Before the war the Longhorn track team had accumulated 6 undefeated seasons in conference play. But the war requires that the college athletes trade their track uniforms for military uniforms and the return of track for the Longhorns is the worst point score (17) in the history of Texas Track and Field. The Sooners dominate the Conference.
Worst point score (17) in the history of Texas Track and Field. The Sooners dominate the Conference.
1920 COACH W. J. JUNEAU
O.U. leaves the SWC
Head Coach Clyde Littlefield - 1921-1961
UT administration did not allow Blacks to use the track "facilities" during the Littlefield years.
Littlefield revolutionized the relay baton exchange that resulted in record relay times.
A link to the Stark Center archives about Clyde Littlefield follows
Clyde Littlefield says "winning was never the whole thing with me, development of young men was important-and rewarding." He said "Athletics, in addition to helping the physical development of the body, teach young men the value of working together and helping one another out." " It gives me great pride to know that young men I've coached have gone on to become..........."
Texas Relays start as a men's only by Clyde Littlefield and Theo Bellmont. It is now the second largest track meet in the country.
Clyde Littlefield is the head track & field coach at The University of Texas from 1920 to 1961 as well as its football coach from 1927 to 1933. He is one of the greatest track coaches in NCAA history. In his 41 years at Texas, his teams won 25 Southwest Conference championships, and finished 2nd in 14 other SWC meets.
His football coaching tenure is also quite impressive with a record of 44-18-6 and he won two Southwest Conference championships.
In 1920 he accepts the job as head track coach, freshman football coach, freshman basketball coach, and physical-training instructor.
In 1925 Littlefield starts the Texas Relays.
In 1952 He serves on the United States track & field coaching staff for the Helsinki Olympics.
Coach Littlefield is in the Helms Hall of Fame, the Texas Sports Hall of Fame, the Longhorn Hall of Honor, and the Knute Rockne Club.
His teams broke 4 world records and 5 National records.
1921- 1924 Coach Littlefield
Captain Jim Reese was declared ineligible, but team still won the Conference title. This was the first year the team received national recognition by winning the medley relay in Kansas. There was only enough money to pay for the athletes journey so Coach Littlefield paid his own way.
L to R George Ritchie, Kenneth Hackler, R.E. McMatt, and Jim Reese.
1924 is one of the best years ever for Texas Sports. With the exception of baseball and wrestling, all teams won their respective conference title.
1925- 2 SCORES AT NATIONALS Coach Littlefield
Jim Reese is Texas first National Champion winning the outdoor mile run.
1926-2 SCORES AT NATIONALS Coach Littlefield
General Stuart Wright receives All American honors in football, basketball, and track. He is inducted into the HOH in 1984.
1926-2 SCORES AT NATIONALS Coach Littlefield
Rufus Haggard wins the 2nd National Championship for the Longhorns in the high jump in 1925
1927 -5 SCOREs AT NATIONALS Coach Littlefield
Texas is 2nd at the National meet. This is the highest finish in the history of men's track for the Longhorns.
Garland Shepherd is the 1927 National Outdoor Champion in the high jump.
C.B. Smith finishes 4th in 1926 and 3rd in 1927 in the Long jump and is inducted into the HOH in 1976
Tiny Gooch qualifies for Nationals in the 100 (4th), 220 (6th), and discus (3rd) and is inducted into the HOH in 1987.
Clyde Littlefield is presented an award by Tiny Gooch and C.B. Smith for 25 years as the Texas Track coach
1928-1 SCORE AT NATIONALS and 1929 Coach Littlefield
Leo Baldwin was second in the Discus at the National meet
1930 - 1931
Mondrik was the star of the team and the pilot for a successful year in track. His feats in the hurdles inspired the team to excel.
1931 & 1932- 1 SCORE AT NATIONALS Coach Littlefield
Hill Hodges won the javelin at the Kansas relays.
Texas Relays are cancelled for 3 years due to the Depression.
1933- 1 SCORE AT NATIONALS Coach Littlefield
Ed Meyer - 200 meters
1934 Coach Littlefield
Pap Perkins, Harrison Stafford, Bull Elkins, and John Craig (all football players) win the 4x100 at the Drake Relays.
Clyde Littlefield resigns as head football coach to give full time attention to Track and Field.
1935-1 SCORE AT NATIONALS Coach Littlefield
Coach Littlefield up to this point had won 9 SWC championships . This team was undefeated during the season. Forrest Wilson in the hurdles and Charles Gruneisen on the dashes help lead this team to success.
Alex Cox was the first person in the SWC to break 49 seconds in the 440. Inducted into the HOH in 1974. Coach Littlefield says that Cox is one of the "best atheletes and leaders I have ever coached."
Chink Wallender qualifies for The National Outdoor Meets In 1935 And 1936.
At one track meet he was 2nd in the 100, 2nd in the 400, 1st in the 880, and 2nd in the mile relay. He got a standing ovation from the fans.
The Texas Relays return with teams from Pittsburgh, Drake, L.S.U., Minnesota, Kansas.
1936- 2 SCORES AT NATIONALS Coach Littlefield
Chink Wallender finished 2nd to Jesse Owens in the 200 and 6th in the 100 M., and Jack Vickery is 4th in the high jump.
This team won the 4th consecutive conference championship. Team set many SWC records including the 220 and 440 relay . Charles Gruneisen was the high scorer for the SWC championship game. This team also set records at the Drake relays and Kansas relays.
908 athletes enter the 1936 Texas Relays. 10 new records were set and 1 world mark. Texas won the track meet followed by Kansas. Half mile relay world record was set by H.V. Reeves, Beverley Rockhold, Tiny Gruneisen, and Chink Wallender.
1937 1 SCORES AT NATIONALS Coach Littlefield
Jack Vickery participates in the High Jump.
1938 - 2 SCORES AT NATIONALS Coach Littlefield
Jud Atchison and Gilliham Graham (no pictures)
1939-3 SCORES AT NATIONALS Coach Littlefield
Texas sent 5 athletes to the nationals- Beefus, Bryan, Jack Hughes, Boyce Gatewood, Gilliam Graham, and Jud Atchison. Jud won the broad jump, Gatewood was 6th in the 120 hurdles, and Graham placed 5th in the Javelin.
Boyce Gatewood qualifies for the 1939 and 1940 National Outdoor championship in the high hurdles. He finished 6th in 1939 and 3rd in 1940
Jud Atchison Is The 1939 National Outdoor Champion In The Long Jump
1940- 2 SCORES AT NATIONALS Coach Littlefield
Jack Hughes 2nd in the Discus
1941-2 SCORES AT NATIONALS Coach Littlefield
Longhorn Logo 1941
Jack Hughes 5th in Discus
Garland Adair 4th in Javelin
The Sprint Medley Relay team of Mac Umstattd, Fred Ransdell, Bill Seay, and Morris Barefield set a world record of 3:24 in 1941. Coach Littlefield says the Bill Seay is the "greatest lead-off man" in Texas track history
Carlton Terry is the first triple crown winner ever in Track and Field. He won the 100 at Texas, Kansas, and Drake.
1942-1 SCORES AT NATIONALS Coach Littlefield
Wiley Cheatham 5th in the Javelin
Mac Umstattd gives Texas 1st place in the sprint relay. Kay Abernathy presents the award
1943-2 SCORES AT NATIONALS Coach Littlefield
Dougla Jaques 3rd in High Hurdles
Dean Smith is a scholastic victim.
1945-3 SCORES AT NATIONALS Coach Littlefield SWC Champs
Team dominated the SWC with 7 first place and 7 second place finishes
Earl Collins is 1945 Outdoor National Champion in the 220.
Forrest Wilson is 8th in the high hurdles
Dean Smith returns from scholastic probation.
1946 3 SCORES AT NATIONALS Coach Littlefield
20th time to win the SWC championship. Team strength won the meet not first place finishes.
John Robertson is the 1946 Outdoor National Champion in the long jump. ( no picture) with a jump of 24 feet 10.5 inches
Allen Lawler is 4th in the 100 and 5th in the 220 at the national meet
1947- 2 SCORES AT NATIONALS Coach Littlefield
Texas enjoys their greatest Kansas meet
1948 6 SCORES AT NATIONALS Coach Littlefield
Great relay teams but lost the SWC to A & M. Jerry Thompson in his last year sets a Texas record in the 2 mile @ 9:19.9. Charley Parker wins the 220 .
In the national Meet:
Jerry Thompson 1st in the 500 meters
Charley Parker 2nd in the 200, and 6th in the 100.
John Robertson 3rd in triple jump 4th in long jump
Frank Gaess 3rd in the javelin
1950 2 scores at NATIONALS Coach Littlefield
Charley Parker is the 1950 Outdoor National Champion in the 220 and is inducted into the HOH in 1975.
Texas sets a new 400 relay world record at a meet in California.
1951-1 SCORE AT NATIONALS Coach Littlefield
Ray Marek is 8th in the Javelin
1952-1 SCORE AT NATIONALS Coach Littlefield
Dean Smith is 4th in the 100 meters.
1953-1 SCORE AT NATIONALS Coach Littlefield
Charlie Thomas is 4th in the 220.
1954- 3 SCORES AT NATIONALS Coach Littlefield
Charlie Thomas Is 1954 Outdoor National Champion In The 220 And Is Inducted Into The HOH In 1981
Bob Billings is 2nd in the high jump
Dean Smith is 4th in the 100 yards
1955-5 SCOREs AT NATIONALS Coach Littlefield
Dick Foerster 3rd in the 880
Dean Smith 5th in the 100
Bobby Whilden 5th in the 220
Jerry Prewit 6th in the 100
Tom Rogers 8th in the mile
1956-2 SCOREs AT NATIONALS Coach Littlefield
Highest National Cross Country Finish (3rd) In Texas History.
Bobby Whilden 3rd in the 200 and 7th in the 100 meters. Inducted into the HOH in 1998. He was also the outstanding performer at the Southwest Recreation Meet.
Jon Totz 8th in the 400
1957-9 SCORES AT NATIONALS Coach Littlefield
First year Black athletes were invited to the Texas Relays
Bruce Parker 5th in the javelin and is HOH in 2003
Hollis Gainey 6th in the 100 meters and 200. He was on the 440 relay team that broke the world record in 1957. 2007 Inductee into the Hall of Honor
Joe Villareal 4th In The Mile
Pat McGuire 4th in the long jump
Alvis Ashley 5th in the high jump
Ronnie White 7th in the long jump
Bobby Wilden 7th in the 200 meter
Bob Billings 8th in the high jump
Alex Palmros 8th in the discus
The Texas 400 relay team composed of Hollis Gainey, Eddie Southern, Bobby Whilden, Wally Wilson breaks the 40 second barrier in a world record time of 39.9.
1958-3 SCORES AT NATIONALS Coach Littlefield
Eddie Southern 2nd in the 440
Bruce Parker 5th the javelin
Topping Charts in 1958
Potentially the best sprinter at Texas is J. Frank Daugherty, but injuries hurt his career.
The Longhorn relay teams are a familiar site on the winners stand in 1958.
Coach Littlefield ask Drew Dunlap to be the pace setter ("rabbit") for Herb Elliott's attempt at the record in the mile. It appears that during this era the function of a "rabbit" is either not understood or frowned on and Drew "the rabbit" gets lambasted by the press.
Sports Illustrated comments "RABBITS SHOULD RUN ALL THE WAY" which results in Drew receiving criticism from ardent fans. .
The Press does not give Drew Dunlap a rabbit's foot.
Eddie Southern 1st in the 440
Bruce Parker 4th in Javelin
440 relay team breaks the world record with a 39.6.
1960- 2 Scores at Nationals Coach Littlefield
Rex Wilson 3rd in 400 hurdles
Ray Cunningham 5th in the 110 hurdles
Lost the SWC for the first time in 6 years
1961- 1 Score at Nationals Coach Littlefield
Topping The Charts
Ralph Alspaugh finishes 5th in the 220, is an All American, and is inducted into the HOH in 2002. Ralph said in the book - Champions- that " the greatest impact on me were Coach Royal, Frank Medina, and ....." Coach Royal gave the track team some great pep talks, and Frank "during two days of the meet, would give me a rub down before and after each race, saying 'Son, you can do it.')
Clyde Littlefield says about winning the SWC this year "It was one of the greatest victories for a team and a coach in my 41 years at the university".
Coach Froggie Lovvern 1962-1963
TOP OF THE CHARTS
Coach Lovvern graduated from Stamford High school in Texas, attended Pepperdine where he won the national championship in the 1500 meter.
He was an an assistant to Coach Littlefield for 15 years, before signing a 1 year contract to replace the retiring Littlefield.
1962-2 SCORES AT NATIONALS
Baylus Bennett 5th in the pole vault
Ray Cunningham 6th in 110 hurdles
1964-1 SCORE AT NATIONALS
Longhorn Logo 1964
Jim Hudson and Ernie Koy join the track team after spring football training. Jim finish's as high as 4th in the Javelin at the track meets and Ernie Koy has one 2nd place finish in the shot put.
Richard Romo recovers from injuries and sets SWC meet records in the mile and three mile runs.
Texas becomes the first SWC team to integrate by offering two black track stars scholarships.
1966-2 SCORES AT NATIONALS
Preston Davis is 8th in the 800 meters
1968-2 SCORES AT NATIONALS
TOP OF THE CHARTS
McDaniel, Matina, Canada, and Morton finish 4th in the mile relay
This was the first time in the history of Texas Track that a relay team scored points at the Nationals.
Dave Morton did not win any National Championships, but he is one of the most talented Longhorns ever in the 440 and 880. A team player he is a major reason for many relay records at UT during his 4 years.
1969-3 SCORES AT NATIONALS
David Matina 4th in the 880
Cohen, Matina, Canada, Morton 5th in the mile relay
Gordan Hodges 7th in 110 hurdles
Bill Elliott uses the Fosby flop to clear 6'10"
1970 - pending