USTFCCCA’s Hall of Fame Class of 2011 Announced
By Tom Lewis, USTFCCCA
August 8, 2011
NEW ORLEANS – The U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) announced on Monday the six inductees that will be enshrined in the USTFCCCA Hall of Fame later this year. From some of the early leaders and pioneers of the sport to those who have seen more recent success, the Hall of Fame Class of 2011 is uniquely qualified for induction.
The coaches represented in the Class of 2011 are Phil Esten (UW-La Crosse), Keene Fitzpatrick (Yale/Michigan/Princeton), Ken Foreman (Seattle Pacific), Craig Poole (BYU), LaVerne Sweat (Norfolk State/Hampton), and Bill Webb (Tennessee/Cal State Northridge).
The 2011 USTFCCCA Hall of Fame induction ceremony will be held December 14 at the USTFCCCA Convention in San Antonio, Texas.
Phil Esten, UW-La Crosse
Esten served as head coach of the men’s cross country program at UW-La Crosse for 28 years – a run that lasted from 1970 until his retiring after the 1998 season. Esten, the USTFCCCA NCAA Division III Co-Coach of the Year in 1996, led UW-L to a NCAA Division III cross country national title in the same year. The Eagles would also add national runner-up honors in either the NAIA or NCAA Division III eight times during Esten’s tenure. In all, Esten’s squads finished in the national top ten in 26 consecutive tries and appeared in a national championship in 27 of his 28 cross country seasons.
UW-L won 20 WIAC cross country titles during Esten’s tenure and never finished lower than third in the league. In addition, Esten coached 28 runners to a total of 46 USTFCCCA All-America honors.
A 1965 graduate of UW-La Crosse, Esten was inducted into the UW-L and NAIA District 14 Hall of Fames in 1990, and the Wisconsin Cross Country Coaches’ Association Hall in 1993. Esten earned his master’s and doctorate degrees from the University of Northern Colorado.
Keene Fitzpatrick, Princeton/Yale/Michigan
For over 40 years in the first half of the 20th century, Keene Fitzpatrick was arguably the leading figure in the world of intercollegiate athletic training, physical education, and its applications in track & field, football, rowing, and several other sports.
Fitzpatrick held stints at Yale and Michigan, but served the longest tenure as head coach at Princeton for 22 years (1911-1932).
Fitzpatrick was Michigan’s first track & field coach, serving as their head man for over a decade. Within his first four years as coach, Fitzpatrick’s men would win six gold and nine total Olympic medals at the 1904 St. Louis Games. Overall, Michigan track and field athletes won 15 Olympic medals, including 7 golds, the squad held a 24-2-1 dual meet record and won three Big Ten titles with Fitzpatrick. Fitzpatrick tutored Olympians Archie Hahn, Ralph Rose, Ralph Craig, Charles Dvorak and Charles Schule among others.
Many schools tried to lure Fitzpatrick for his services, but only Princeton was successful. At the time of his leaving Michigan, Fitzpatrick was earning $3,000 a year. Princeton asked Fitzpatrick to name his price, which was an unheard of $8,000 a year. To Fitzpatrick’s surprise, Princeton obliged and the rest is history.
While at Princeton, the Tigers would claim four runner-up team titles and 15 individual crowns in the IC4A with Fitzpatrick at the helm.
While at Yale, Fitzpatrick is also credited for conceiving a new pole-vaulting technique for its time that led to the setting of a world record.
Fitzpatrick was also the first president of the Association of College Track Coaches of America, taking over as leader of the organization in 1918.
Not only was Fitzpatrick among the early pioneers in coaching track & field athletes to high accolades with his knowledge of physiology, but he was also among the first pioneers in athletic training. During his over decade stint at Michigan as head athletic trainer, the Wolverine football squad was very successful, holding a winning percentage of over .900. Fitzpatrick also held the role as head football coach at Yale and Michigan for a total of seven years in the 1890s.
Born in Natick, Mass., in 1864, Fitzpatrick died in Princeton, N.J., at age 79 in 1944.
Ken Foreman, Seattle Pacific
Ken Foreman is considered by Seattle Pacific as the founding father of their athletics department and served three terms as the school’s track coach, the last of which stretched from 1985 to 2000. While with the Falcons for 37 years, he coached 159 All-American athletes and had 26 collegiate individual champions.
During his tenures at the track helm – 1950-57, 1965-78, and 1985-2000 – Foreman’s athletes made plenty of history. The man regarded as the patriarch of Falcon athletics had 13 of his women’s teams finish among the top ten in the country.
When he came to what was then Seattle Pacific College in 1949, Foreman’s duty was that of junior-varsity basketball coach. He did that for three years, and then moved up to head basketball coach and athletic director.
Foreman also founded the Falcon Track Club in 1955 and served as the squad’s coach until 1999. Foreman founded the SportsWest Track Club, which he directed from 1977-1998. Foreman’s Falcon TC squad captured the AAU cross country title in 1972, and he is well known for coaching USTFCCCA Hall of Famer Doris Brown Heritage who was a five-time World Cross Country champion in the late 60s and early 70s.
Olympians he coached included Kelly Blair-LaBounty, Lorna Griffin, Pam Spencer and Sherron Walker. Foreman-coached athletes won 14 AAU titles (outdoor, indoor, cross country) and one AIAW title. Foreman was named the U.S. women’s head coach for the 1980 Olympic Games, and served as the Team USA head coach at the 1983 World Outdoor Championships. He was the U.S. World Cross Country Team coach in 1967, 1970 and 1973, served as the AAU Women’s long-distance running chair from 1968-1974, and was the recipient of the AAU/USATF Joseph Robichaux Women’s Track & Field Award 1978.
In 2009, Foreman was inducted into USA Track & Field’s Hall of Fame.
Foreman served in World War II in the U.S. Coast Guard and while on duty he decided that upon returning he would become a teacher and coach. He would later attribute that decision to his own high school coaches, saying that he would not be the man he was without them.
Now retired in Hawaii with wife Denise, Foreman, even still at his current age of 88, coaches high school track & field and cross country.
Craig Poole, BYU
Poole was at the helm of BYU women’s track team for 30 years from 1980 until his retirement in 2010. During his tenure, Poole’s teams were among the most consistent nationally-prominent programs in the nation.
Under his guidance, the Cougar track team recorded an almost perfect record on conference and regional levels and was consistently among national contenders. Since 1983, his teams won eight HCAC crowns, 17 of 18 WAC titles, nine of ten MWC indoor titles, and seven of eight MWC outdoor titles. A Poole-led BYU team never finished outside the top three at a conference track & field meet.
Although he was never able to quite grasp a team National Championship trophy, reaching a career-best third-place NCAA finish in 2009, he did help several individual athletes realize their national championship dream. A total of 14 of his athletes were crowned national champions 18 times.
Eighty-one of Poole’s athletes earned a total of 165 USTFCCCA All-American honors.
Poole was honored as the MWC Coach of the Year seven times, including the 2009 season, and WAC Coach of the Year ten times.
In 2004, Poole was the head coach for the U.S. at the World University Games in Beijing, China. He also served as coach and advisor to the Taiwan National team at the Asian & World Championships in 1987 and technical coach for Taiwan at the Asian Games in 1991. He served on the coaching staff for the West Team at the 1989 Olympic Festival, as head coach for the U.S. National Team vs. Great Britain in 1990, and for the American World Indoor Championships Team in 1993.
Poole was named to the 2004 U.S. Olympic coaching staff, traveling to the games in Athens, Greece. He coached the American athletes in the heptathlon, long jump and triple jump. In 1993, he was the head women’s USA Coach at the World Championships in Toronto, Canada.
Starting in the fall of 2010, Poole took on a new group of athletes to prepare for the future. As the head coach at the USA Track and Field Resident Program at the Chula Vista Olympic Training Center in California, Poole primarily works with athletes in the jumps and throws as they prepare for the 2012 London Olympics.
Poole received a doctorate in physical education and educational administration from the University of Utah in 1970. Poole also served as a full-time professor at BYU in sports psychology. Married to the former Sharon Woodland, the couple has four children.
LaVerne Sweat, Norfolk State/Hampton
LaVerne Sweat was an integral piece of Norfolk State’s Athletics Department from for nearly 20 years where she served as the head women’s track and field coach from 1988 to 2005 and retired as the school’s Senior Woman Administrator following the 2005-06 school year.
As the Spartans’ coach, her teams won a total 18 CIAA championships between cross country and track & field in an eight-year span from 1988-96. The Spartans earned four runner-up finishes at the NCAA Division II Track & Field Championships in her tenure.
Under Sweat’s guidance, the Spartans won two more conference titles after moving up to NCAA’s Division I, capturing the 2000 MEAC indoor championship and 2001 outdoor championship. In addition, Norfolk State captured five runner-up trophies in the MEAC.
Sweat, a Norfolk, Va., native, was the first female president of the CIAA in the 1980s. Among her accomplishments in track and field was being selected as an assistant coach for the U.S. Olympic team for the 2000 Sydney Games.
Aside from her stint with the national team in 2000, Sweat was selected as head coach of the U.S. team at the World University Games in Bucharest, Romania, in 1981, and was head coach of the Junior Pan American Games in Winnipeg, Canada, in 1993.
Sweat was also the head coach at Hampton University from 1978 to 1988.
While coaching at Hampton and Norfolk State, Sweat earned the CIAA Track and Field Coach of the Year nine times. She was the NAIA National Coach of the Year in 1981 while at Hampton and was voted NCAA Division II Coach of the Decade in 1991.
Sweat earned her bachelor’s degree in health, physical education, and recreation from Virginia State in 1959 and received her master’s in physical education from Hampton in 1972.
Bill Webb, Tennessee/Cal State Northridge
Bill Webb spent nearly 40 years in the collegiate track & field coaching ranks with 25 of those years as a head coach. After stints at West Georgia and Cal State Northridge, Webb would spend 24 years at Tennessee. Upon retiring after the 2009 season, Webb had spent 14 years at the helm of the men’s track & field team for the Vols.
Webb’s seasons as Tennessee’s head coach produced many of the program’s proudest moments, including two NCAA and four SEC team championships. He became the first coach in Vol history to win back-to-back NCAA titles after following up the 2001 NCAA outdoor crown with the 2002 NCAA indoor championship.
Tennessee athletes under Webb’s direction marched among the national elite. In his 14 seasons as head coach, 18 UT athletes were crowned national champions in individual events, and 137 earned USTFCCCA All-America honors. As a nationally-renowned field event and multi-event instructor, Webb personally instructed 13 NCAA champions, 57 SEC champions and 82 NCAA Division I All-Americans.
Tennessee earned ten dual meet championships under Webb, including eight in 11 years from 1996-2006. Webb’s dual-meet record, compiled in non-championship scored meets of eight teams or fewer, was 52-1 (.981).
Webb set the tone for his head coaching career early as his charges took the 1996 SEC indoor title in his inaugural conference championship as head man for the Vols. Webb went on to assemble some of the deepest and most talented squads in program history to capture SEC outdoor crowns in 2001, 2002 and 2007.
On the international stage, Tennessee’s pipeline to the Olympics and world championships has never flowed stronger than during the Webb era. Webb coached 36 Olympic Trials competitors since 1984. He personally instructed athletes at four Olympic Games and seven world championship meets.
Webb became the first person to coach an NCAA and world champion decathlete in the same year, as Stephen Harris and Tom Pappas accomplished the feat in 2003. Pappas, under Webb’s direction, set the NCAA decathlon record at 8,463 and went on to post a top career score of 8,784, which ranks third on the all-time U.S. list. He coached 27 other athletes to scores of 7,250 or higher and five decathletes past the 8,000-point mark.
Webb also coached Tom Petranoff to a javelin world record and Bob Roggy to an American record.
Webb earned nods from the U.S. Olympic Committee as its National Track and Field Coach of the Year in 2003 after being selected from a pool of top collegiate and professional coaches across the country. He was named USTFCCCA National Coach of the Year for the national championship seasons of 2001 outdoors and 2002 indoors. Webb also garnered SEC Coach of the Year three times (1996 indoor, 2001 outdoor and 2007 outdoor).
Webb had ample opportunity to build an international coaching resume as he was chosen by USA Track and Field to serve as head coach for the U.S. decathletes in a 2001 dual meet versus Germany. He also served as an assistant coach at the 1991 Pan American Games in Cuba and the 1993 World Championships in Stuttgart, Germany.
Prior to taking the reins of the Tennessee program in the summer of 1995, Webb served ten accomplished years as assistant head coach for the Vols. He tutored athletes in that span that contributed to four team conference championships and the 1991 national crown.
Before joining the Tennessee coaching staff, Webb coached at Florida, Southern Illinois and Indiana, which collectively captured nine conference titles during his tenure. Webb began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Indiana in 1971 before moving on to take the head coaching position in 1973 at West Georgia, where he was named the league’s coach of the year in each of his two seasons there. He had assistant coaching stops at Florida (1975-76) and Southern Illinois (1976-78) before beginning a seven-year stint as head coach at Cal State Northridge in 1979. Webb was named the California Collegiate Athletic Association’s Coach of the Year in 1985, and his teams finished in the top eight every year in the NCAA Division II meet.
He produced a total of 51 Division II All-Americans while at Cal State Northridge and West Georgia College.
Webb is married to the former Patricia Hill. They have a son, Kevin, who recently received his doctoral degree from the University of California-San Diego.