USTFCCCA Coaches Hall of Fame Class of 2013 Announced
NEW ORLEANS – The U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) announced Thursday the six coaches who will be inducted into the USTFCCCA Coaches Hall of Fame as the Class of 2013. Ron Allice, Al Cantello, Dennis Craddock, Curtis Frye, Jim Hunt and Paul Olsen have all made a significant impact on the history of track & field at the collegiate, national and international levels through their coaching and the legacies of their student-athletes and will be enshrined in the Hall of Fame for their accomplishments.
These six men will be honored at the 2013 USTFCCCA Hall of Fame induction ceremony on Monday, December 16, at the USTFCCCA Convention in Orlando, Fla.
Started in 1995, the USTFCCCA Coaches Hall of Fame exists to recognize coaches who have brought great distinction to themselves, to their institutions and to the sports of cross country & track & field. Each of the honorees exemplifies the qualities of dedication to the sport, leadership and passion for their profession that serve as an inspiration to coaches everywhere in the sport.
The full USTFCCCA Coaches Hall of Fame and information on all of its past inductees can be found here.
USC, Cal Poly Pomona, Long Beach State, Long Beach City College
During his 19 seasons at Southern California, Ron Allice guided the Women of Troy program to a 2001 NCAA Outdoor team championship, the pinnacle of a 19-year tenure of perennial championship contention that featured a combined 25 NCAA Championships top-10 finishes and 32 individual NCAA titles between his men’s and women’s programs.
All told in his 49-year coaching career, Allice produced 313 All-Americans, 27 Olympians, 16 Olympic medalists, seven American record holders and four world record holders, while maintaining a dual meet record of 217-48-1 and winning 11 state championships in 16 years at Long Beach City College at the junior college level.
From 2005-08 the USC program stood alone as the only school to record top-10 national finishes in both the men’s and women’s team competitions. The men’s team continued that streak of top-10 finishes through the 2010 NCAA Championships, completing a six-season run of top-10 finishes for the first time since the program’s early 1970s teams.
Such success under Allice was made possible by the seemingly unending stream of world-class talent with which he filled his roster. Men’s hammer thrower Balazs Kiss — the collegiate and NCAA Championships record holder and an Olympic gold medalist — and women’s 100 meter sprinter Angela Williams each won four straight NCAA outdoor crowns in their events. Williams’ four straight 100 meter titles was an unprecedented feat that has not yet been matched.
Among the many other standouts coached by Allice are Felix Sanchez, a two-time Olympic gold medalist and an NCAA champion in the 400 hurdles; four-time hurdles champion Virginia Powell; 2000 Olympic medalist sprinter Torri Edwards; and 2012 Olympic silver medal sprinter Bryshon Nellum.
Allice retired following the 2013 outdoor track & field season, concluding his career with a fifth-place team finish in the men’s competition.
Prior to USC, Allice served as the head coach at Long Beach City College for 16 years, where his teams won conference championships in each of those seasons and went 78-1 in dual meet competitions. His teams won 11 state titles — including five in a row — and finished runners-up five other times. His 1980 team was named the best junior college team in history by Track & Field News.
His coaching career began in 1964 when he served as the coach of the Long Beach Comets girls’ and women’s AAU program for four years, expanding the team from five girls to more than 150. Meanwhile he was a graduate assistant at Long Beach State (1964), an assistant at Compton (Calif.) High (1966) and the head track and cross country coach at Wilson High in Long Beach (1967-68).
He then served as the track and cross country head coach at Poly High in Long Beach from 1969-71 before moving to Cal Poly Pomona for two seasons as the head track and cross country coach. His teams at Pomona won the CCAA titles and finished fifth and sixth at the NCAA College Division championships.
Long Beach State in 1974 was the next stop for Allice, where he guided the new program to a track & field Pacific Coast Athletic Association title and two cross country PCAA titles.
A mainstay at the U.S. Naval Academy for more than half a century — 51 years, to be exact — Al Cantello has been the guiding force for a Navy distance program that shifted the balance of power in the long and storied Army-Navy rivalry firmly in favor of the Midshipmen.
Cantello, a world-class javelin thrower prior to his tenure with the Midshipmen, has served to date as the head coach of the men’s cross country program for 46 seasons and was in charge of the men’s track & field programs from 1981-88, serving as an assistant for the program throughout the remainder of his career. In total, he has guided those programs to a combined record of 318-81-2, including a combined 46 N-Stars — signifying victory over rival Army — 35 of which came through cross country.
His 35 head-to-head wins over Army in cross country, part of a 35-9-1 record against the Black Knights, is the most by a Navy coach in any sport in Academy history. Prior to his arrival as the head coach, the Midshipmen were just 12-19 all-time in cross country against Army.
During his tenure he has coached three cross country All-Americans and four indoor/outdoor track & field All-Americans, and has been named the Mid-Atlantic Regional Coach of the Year three times. He has also been named Patriot League Coach of the Year four times, earning the honor four straight years from 2008-2011 as the Midshipmen claimed four consecutive conference titles. He coached Patriot League champion Andrew Hanko in both 2009 and 2010.
Cantello has been honored for not only his athletic accomplishments, but also his work in the field of education. The Naval Academy Alumni Association awarded him the Distinguished Athletic Leadership Award in 1997, given to a coach or faculty member who did the most for the physical development of the Midshipmen in physical education. That same year his peers honored him with the inaugural Tom Hamilton Teaching/Coaching award. At the Patriot League level, he was awarded in 2008 the Patriot League Award of Good Sporting Conduct.
Prior to his days coaching at Navy, he was a 1955 graduate of La Salle, where he was a two-time All-American in the javelin. Cantello set the world record in 1959 and competed at the Rome Olympics the following year in 1960 as a member of the United States team. He was voted the world’s greatest javelin competitor in Sport magazine in 1964 and named to its all-time track & field team. He was inducted into the La Salle Hall of Athletes as a charter member in 1961.
North Carolina, Virginia
With 44 years of coaching between the collegiate and high school levels, Dennis Craddock has amassed a legendary resume that includes two women’s NCAA cross country team titles (1981, ’82), a women’s indoor NCAA team title (1982), and an unparalleled 45 ACC team titles via coaching tenures at Virginia and North Carolina.
His nine seasons at Virginia built the foundations for what would become an all-time great career, as his 1981 women’s cross country team recorded an NCAA Championships-record winning score of just 36 points, with four finishers in the top 12 and seven All-America honorees. The 1982 squad again claimed the title, this time with 48 points — the second-lowest score in NCAA women’s history — led by winner and ACC individual champion Lesley Welch and three other All-Americans. His men’s teams also found success at the national level with a fifth place finish in 1984. A combined 16 women’s and three men’s cross country All-America honors were earned under his watch.
In between the two women’s cross country titles came an indoor national title in 1982 that featured a staggering 17 All-America performances — a large portion of the 45 indoor All-America honors his women earned along with nine outdoor awards. The men claimed 14 total track & field All-America certificates.
Craddock’s women’s teams went on to win the first three ACC outdoor titles after the conference began to sponsor the sport in 1983. His men’s outdoor teams finished runner-up twice during his tenure and no worse than fourth.
He made the move to Chapel Hill in 1986 to become the head coach of North Carolina for 27 years, where he mentored 25 individual Tar Heel student-athletes to a combined 38 individual NCAA titles and coached 19 Olympians who went on to claim five gold and two bronze medals.
Prior to Craddock’s arrival at North Carolina, the Tar Heel women had not yet won an ACC title; Craddock changed that quickly and in a big way. His women’s teams would go on to win 15 indoor ACC titles and 14 outdoor titles, while his men’s teams won two indoor titles and four outdoor crowns. In the period between 1988 and 2004, Craddock’s women’s team claimed indoor titles in all but two seasons and took the outdoor title in all but three.
His women’s teams swept the cross country, indoor and outdoor ACC titles in both 1994-95 and 2003-04, a feat not yet accomplished by any other women’s program in conference history. The 1994-95 campaign was particularly special, as the women claimed all three ACC titles and the men swept the track & field championships.
His Carolina track & field teams were also successful at the national level, as the women finished top-10 14 times (9 indoor/5 outdoor) at the NCAA Championships and the men accomplished that feat six times (4 outdoor/2 indoor). The women finished fourth overall twice indoors, while the men finished as high as fourth outdoors in 1996.
He served as a head coach of the Gretna and Albemarle (Va.) High School track and field teams for eight years before entering the college ranks. His high school teams compiled a 117-8 dual meet record, claimed three state crowns, and produced four individual national champions.
Since day one of his 17 year-and-counting career at South Carolina, Curtis Frye has guided a perennially contending Gamecocks track & field program to success at both the national and conference level. Right out of the chutes, Frye, a sprints and hurdles specialist, built up the women’s program to an NCAA outdoor team title in 2002 and a runner-up finish in 2005 among 10 straight top-10 NCAA finishes to start his tenure in Columbia.
That 2002 championship team claimed three NCAA event titles, part of an astounding seven total first-place national finalists between the men’s and women’s teams both indoors and outdoors. Frye’s 2000 program was nearly as prolific, capturing a combined six individual and relay titles. Both years are illustrative of the high-level performance demonstrated particularly during Frye’s first 11 seasons, as the Gamecocks claimed at least two individual or relay crowns in nine of those years.
Indoors, his women’s squads have finished in the top 10 at the NCAA Championships 10 times, including three runner-up finishes in four tries in 2000, 2001 and 2003. Individually, he has coached five national athletes of the year: Lashinda Demus in 2002 was bestowed the honor from Track & Field News, while Natasha Hastings (2007 overall), Demetria Washington (2002 indoor), Terrence Trammell (2000 outdoor) and Miki Barber (2000 outdoor) were all honored by the USTFCCCA.
In total, he has coached or overseen 31 individual NCAA champions and nine champion relay teams — at least one student-athlete claiming a national title in all but three years — 115 SEC champions and 435 NCAA All-Americans.
South Carolina’s national prominence extended down the conference level, as the women have won the outdoor SEC title three times (1999, 2002, 2005) and have finished in the top three fifteen times, while the men have finished top five 11 times between the indoor and outdoor seasons. He has coached or overseen at least one SEC champion in all but two years at South Carolina, and 12 of his student-athletes have been named SEC Athletes of the Year.
His student-athletes have also gone on to garner great success on the world stage with nine medal winners, including two-time sprint hurdles silver medalist Trammell, among 19 Olympians. Four former volunteer coaches have also claimed Olympic medals.
For his accomplishments, Frye has been recognized on the national level numerous times. He is a three time National Coach of the Year (1999, 2002 women’s outdoor/1999 men’s indoor); the Nike Coach of the Year in 2001 and the USOC Track & Field Coach of the Year in 1997. In addition he has been named the SEC Coach of the Year three teams (women’s 1999, 2002 and 2005).
He has also been a champion of the sport in general, serving multiple posts in the USTFCCCA including President of the Board of Directors from 2009 to 2011.
Prior to his days at South Carolina, he was an assistant at North Carolina for four years under fellow 2013 inductee Dennis Craddock. Before that, he spent four years as an assistant at Florida from following a five-year stint at NC State as an assistant.
His coaching career began at East Carolina where he served as both a track & field assistant and the men’s soccer head coach simultaneously for five years from 1974-75 to 1978-79. In between his time at East Carolina and NC State he served as the head coach at Douglas Byrd (N.C.) High School.
Humboldt State, UC Davis, Sierra College
A fixture in the West Coast distance coaching scene for nearly a half-century, Jim Hunt created a lasting legacy at Humboldt State which was affirmed with an NCAA Division II men’s cross country title in 1980.
During his tenure at Humboldt State from 1967 to 1986, Hunt’s teams in cross country and track & field won six Far Western Conference titles and produced 64 All-Americans and 11 national champions, culminating in the 1980 national title in the school’s first year in Division II.
Hunt’s prized pupils included Mark Conover, who won the 10,000 meters Division II title in 1981 and followed that up with the individual cross country title that fall. Conover would earn nine All-America honors among all NCAA divisions, competing in a time when Division II and III champions would be invited to compete in the Division I championships. Conover would go on to represent the United States as a marathoner at the 1988 Summer Olympic Games in Seoul, South Korea.
Prior to the move to Division II, Humboldt State competed at the Division III level, where the men’s cross country program finished runner-up three of its last four seasons in 1976, 1977 and 1979. With a score of 152, Hunt’s 1977 squad was barely edged out by champion Occidental with 149 points.
Hunt’s impact on the school’s track & field program resounds to the present day, as 10 men’s school records in track & field that were set during his time there remain atop the program’s all-time record books, including all four distance events ranging from 1500 meters to 10,000 meters.
Following his run at Humboldt State he was hired as the head track & field and cross country coach at UC Davis from 1989 to 1993, where he guided the women’s cross country program to a runner-up finish at the 1991 NCAA Division II cross country championships with four All-Americans, among three other top-10 team finishes. The men’s cross program finished fourth that same season with two All-America selections.
His men’s track & field teams finished in the top 20 at the NCAA Division II outdoor championships in three of his four seasons, while the women finished as high as tied for 24th. Between both cross country and track & field at UC Davis during this four-year stretch, 28 student-athletes claimed All-America honors.
Hunt moved on to Sierra College to serve as the school’s head cross country and track & field coach from 1993 to 2000.
He returned to UC Davis as an assistant distance coach in 2000 before his retirement in 2003. His indoor and outdoor track & field runners combined for 26 All-America honors during that four-year stretch.
In addition to his collegiate coaching career, he also coached the USATF Men’s Development distance and middle distance programs from 1981 to 1992; served as the West Team coach at the U.S. Sports Festival in 1981; and was the international director of distance running and racewalking for Special Olympics International. He has continued to hold clinics for distance runners and coaches even following his retirement from collegiate coaching.
Much can change over the course of five decades, but at Augustana College (Ill.) at least one thing has remained constant for the better part of a half-century: head men’s track & field and cross country coach Paul Olsen. In 47 years as the head track & field coach and 45 years with cross country, Olsen has guided the Vikings to success at both the conference and national level in both sports.
He first took over the cross country program in 1966, and since then the Vikings have appeared at the Division III championships 24 times. Among those appearances are 10 top-10 team finishes, including a 1980 team that finished runner-up by just four points. The year prior his team finished fourth, and he has guided the program to two fifth-place finishes in 1974 and 1992. Individually, his runners have earned All-America honors 24 times with three individual national champions.
His success at the conference level in cross country has been just as consistent. The Vikings won back-to-back College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin (CCIW) titles in 1969 and 1970, and have finished runner-up in the conference 28 times and finished no lower than fourth. Seven individual conference titles have been won by five runners wearing Augustana colors since Olsen has taken over.
After taking over the cross country program in 1966, he took the helm of the men’s track & field program just a few short years later in 1969 and has guided it to the same levels of success as he did the fall program. Right out of the gates Olsen mentored the track & field program to five CCIW titles in his first six and five straight CCIW titles from 1980 to 1984; all told, 12 CCIW team crowns to his credit with the most recent in 2010.
His guidance has resulted in 213 individual league titles and 27 relay titles outdoors, and 31 individual indoor crowns and seven relay championships.
Nationally, his outdoor squads have recorded 13 top-10 finishes, including national runner-up showings in 1975 and 1981. During a five-year period from 1992 to 1996 the Vikings recorded five consecutive top-10 finishes, culminating in a fourth-place finish in 1996. Indoors his teams have posted four top-10 finishes, including sixth-place results in both 1995 and 1998. In all, he has coached 22 national champions and 162 All-America selections.
He is a professor in the English department at Augustana, and is reported as one of the most popular teachers on campus. He has been honored by the American Association for Higher Education and has delivered the final lecture at graduation 11 times.
Photos courtesy: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport; NavySports.com; theACC.com; HSUJacks.com; Augustana.edu