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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.

 

Olympians

  1928  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 CowboyStuntman.jpeg

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.  

http://www.trackandfieldnews.com/index.php/yearly-leaders/13-results/2936

 

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.

1899

 

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'

  • 220- 25.6

  • 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   

 Maj. Gen. Kearie Lee Berry      

Maj. Gen. Kearie Lee Berry   

 

  • 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).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

              Coach Clyde Littlefield makes track history

             Coach Clyde Littlefield makes track history

Head Coach Clyde Littlefield - 1921-1961

 

UT administration did not allow Blacks to use the track "facilities" during the Littlefield years. 

clyde records.jpg

Littlefield revolutionized the relay baton exchange that resulted in record relay times. 

 

A link to the Stark Center archives about Clyde Littlefield follows

http://www.tiki-toki.com/timeline/entry/326908/Clyde-Littlefield-The-life-of-a-Texas-legend/

 

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- 1923  Coach Littlefield

 

1923 Coach Littlefield

Texas sends its first relay team to the Kansas relays and wins. Many more relay victories will following in the ensuing years. There was only enough money to pay for the athletes journey so Coach Littlefield paid his own way. 

 

1924 

 

 

 

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

1932- 1 SCORE AT NATIONALS Coach Littlefield

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

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.

 

 

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

 

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

 

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 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1943-2 SCORES AT NATIONALS Coach Littlefield

Jerry Thompson

Dougla Jaques  3rd in High Hurdles 

Dean Smith is a scholastic victim.

 

1945-3 SCORES AT NATIONALS Coach Littlefield

 

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

John Robertson is the 1946 Outdoor National Champion in the long jump. ( no picture)

Allen Lawler is 4th in the 100 and 5th in the 220

1947- 2 SCORES AT NATIONALS Coach Littlefield

Texas enjoys their greatest Kansas meet

1948 6 SCORES AT NATIONALS Coach Littlefield

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

1963++relays 2.jpg

 

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 was head coach for two years

                Coach Froggie Lovvern was head coach for two years

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

                                     Coach Jack Patterson  1964-1970

                                    Coach Jack Patterson  1964-1970

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

Fred Cooper