USTFCCCA Coaches Hall of Fame Class of 2015 Announced
NEW ORLEANS – The U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) announced Monday the six coaches who will be inducted into the USTFCCCA Coaches Hall of Fame as the Class of 2015.
Jim Bibbs, Barbara Crousen, Bob Lewis, Billy Maxwell, Don Strametz and Gary Wilson will be enshrined in the Hall of Fame for not only their incredible and historic accomplishments as track & field and cross country coaches, but also the long-lasting impact their contributions have had and will continue to have on the sport.
These six will be honored at the 2015 USTFCCCA Hall of Fame induction ceremony on Tuesday, December 15, at the USTFCCCA Convention in San Antonio, Texas.
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.
Biographies for each of the members of the Class of 2015 can be found below, in alphabetical order.
After nearly a decade as an assistant at Michigan State coaching some of the finest sprinters in the world, Jim Bibbs was chosen to take over the men’s track & field program in 1977, becoming the first black head coach in the school’s history and one of the Big Ten’s first in any sport.
Bibbs continued to helm the men’s program for the better part of the following two decades, retiring in 1995 to conclude a coaching career that spanned 36 years between the Detroit Public School system and Michigan State.
His sprinters were the class of the Big Ten during his Spartan years. In total, Bibbs – a former standout sprinter in his own right – mentored his athletes to 52 conference titles, 26 All-America honors, three NCAA titles and multiple world records.
Two pupils stood tallest among his accomplished list of star sprinters: Marshall Dill and Herb Washington. Both men were Spartan teammates in the early 1970s and combined for three NCAA titles, six All-America honors and 18 Big Ten titles.
Under Bibbs’ guidance, Dill and Washington once set a pair of indoor world records at the same meet – the 1972 Michigan State Relays – and came within .1 of combining for a third. Dill broke the all-time 300-yard dash standard, while Washington took the 60-yard dash record – a record once held by Bibbs, himself. The two joined up as part of the sprint medley relay team that just missed the world record.
Prior to his coaching days, Bibbs was not only a world-class sprinter, but also a fine baseball player. The New York Yankees offered him a Class A contract upon graduation from Ecorse High School, but he instead chose to attend Eastern Michigan to earn his degree.
He joined the track team (freshman baseball was unavailable at EMU) and soon after broke the world record in the 60-yard dash at 6.1. He went on to win three consecutive Illinois Intercollegiate Athletic Conference titles at 100 and 220 yards.
Bibbs also found success at other levels of the sport. In five seasons as the head coach at his alma mater Ecorse High School, he coached the boys’ team to a fourth-place state finish in 1964, third-place in 1965, runner-up in 1966 and finally the state title in 1967.
He also founded and coached the women’s Detroit Track Club. During those same years from 1964 through 1967, he coached the club to national relay titles.
He served as the coach of the women’s track & field team at the 1967 Pan Am Games, guiding Team USA to eight wins in the 11 events.
NCAA team championships in every sport at every level of the NCAA are all special in their own way. However, very few and far between are the national titles that transcend those boundaries as milestone achievements in sport.
In 2008, McMurry’s Barbara Crousen won one of those national titles.
In a come-from-behind, 35-31, victory over Cortland State at the NCAA Division III Outdoor Track & Field Championships in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, Crousen became the first woman in NCAA history to coach a men’s team to a national title in any sport.
Nearly a decade later, that short list of female coaches with men’s NCAA team titles still only includes her – twice, as McMurry went on to win a second national title in 2012 – and Jennifer Michel of Western State (2011 men’s NCAA DII cross country).
In winning the 2008 national crown, her Warhawks’ performance was as dramatic as it was historic. McMurry entered the meet-finale 4×400 relay with 29 points, four behind leader Cortland, which had failed to qualify a team to the final. The odds were against Crousen’s Warhawks, who had qualified to NCAAs as the 14th and final team and had barely made the final as the seventh-fastest of the nine advancing teams in the prelims.
Anchored by Hanneus Ollison, who ultimately had a hand in 34 of McMurry’s 35 points, Crousen’s squad stepped up to the occasion and finished third in a race in which third, fourth, fifth and sixth were all separated by less than a second.
Four years later in 2012 her squad once again claimed the national title, this time in much more comfortable fashion as the Warhawks scored 66 points to topple runner-up UW-La Crosse. That team featured four national champions and 29 total All-America efforts.
With a McMurry transition to NCAA DII starting the following year in 2013 and Crousen announcing her retirement the year after in 2014, that national title capped an era in which her men and women accumulated eight top-four national finishes and a combined 16 top-10 efforts.
Crousen took over the McMurry program in 1998 following 32 years of coaching in the Texas public school system and it only took her two seasons to shape the Warhawk women into a top-10 national program. Her women finished ninth in 2000, before going on to make the podium the next year with a fourth-place finish and take national runner-up honors in 2002.
Her men followed a similar trajectory just a few years later, starting with a 10th-place showing in 2004 before building up to fourth in 2006, the national title in 2008, a runner-up finish in 2009, a third-place trophy in 2011 and the final national crown in 2012.
During that time, her teams claimed 14 American Southwest Conference men’s titles and 10 more women’s crowns. In all, she coached her athletes to a combined 61 individual national titles, 244 All-America honors, and more than 200 individual conference titles.
She was twice named the USTFCCCA National Coach of the Year, and earned multiple national honors as a high school coach. She was inducted into the Texas Girls Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2012.
Only five schools in NCAA Division III men’s track & field history have national team titles from both the NCAA Indoor Championships and NCAA Outdoor Championships on display in their respective trophy cases. It’s an exclusive list: UW-La Crosse, Lincoln (Pa.), North Central (Ill.) UW-Oshkosh and Frostburg State.
But only one of those schools owns the distinction of pulling off the very first indoor and outdoor team championship sweep in DIII history: Frostburg State, coached by Bob Lewis.
In 1986 – at the mid-point of his 31-year tenure leading the men’s track & field program and both genders’ cross country squads at the small Maryland university – Lewis led his men to the NCAA Division III indoor team title in the championships’ second year of existence and followed that up in the spring with the outdoor team crown.
He nearly pulled off the double again the following year, finishing less than 10 points behind team champion UW-La Crosse for third indoors and winning a second consecutive national outdoor title.
To this day, only six men’s teams have ever won back-to-back NCAA Division III outdoor team titles.
His career at Frostburg State was defined by a consistent presence at the national level – his teams scored at the NCAA Outdoor championships in 23 of his 31 years – with the Bobcats’ presence made most known during the late 1970s through the early 1990s.
Including those three national titles, this era in his career saw his men finish inside the top-10 nationally nine times during the outdoor season, four times during the indoor campaign and twice in cross country. His outdoor teams were particularly successful, with a four-year run of top-five finishes beginning in 1985 with a fifth-place showing and wrapping up with a fourth-place effort in 1988 – sandwiching the two national crowns.
In 2001 Lewis led Frostburg State to a top-10 finish in his fourth different decade, as his Bobcats finished tied for third at the NCAA Outdoor Championships with UW-Stevens Point.
Overall, 68 of his track & field athletes combined for 113 All-America honors, including 16 outdoor national event titles and five more indoor event crowns. Among those athletes he coached on his 112 varsity teams throughout his career was racewalker Carl Schueler, who won the 1978 NAIA two-mile race walk title and went on to qualify for the Olympics in four consecutive cycles from 1980 through 1992. He finished sixth in the 50km race walk in 1984.
Frostburg State’s success at the national level was built on the strength of regular-season prominence. His men’s and women’s teams won 29 conference titles in cross country, and his track & field teams added another 29 conference titles, as well as a pair of ECAC Indoor titles.
He was inducted into the Frostburg State Hall of Fame in 2010.
Nebraska, Texas, LSU, Tennessee
Wherever Billy Maxwell has coached and in whichever role he played on those coaching staffs, there’s been one constant throughout his career: winning.
Maxwell has enjoyed tremendous success throughout a career as a sprints, hurdles and jumps coach – and an exceptional recruiter – that spans back to the mid-1960s. He’s been a part of national championship-winning staffs as an assistant coach at Tennessee, won a national title as the head coach at LSU, and coached contenders at Texas and Nebraska – where he has coached for more than two decades.
In total, he’s coached 28 NCAA Champions and more than 350 All-Americans.
After jump-starting his career with a pair of state titles in four years as a high school head coach at Columbus High School in Georgia, he began a long a fruitful collegiate coaching career in 1970 as a men’s assistant under 1995 USTFCCCA Hall of Fame Stan Huntsman.
During that 12-year stint in Knoxville, he and his athletes – including Olympian Willie Gault – contributed to a pair of national titles, three more national runner-up finishes and four more third-place finishes. The men won an NCAA outdoor title in 1974.
His Volunteer sprinters, hurdlers and jumpers combined for more than 100 All-America honors, 19 national event titles and a pair of world records in the men’s 4×200 relay and men’s shuttle hurdles relay.
Following the 1982 season, Maxwell made the move to Baton Rouge to helm the men’s and women’s LSU programs. His five year tenure with the Tigers included a third-place national finish at the 1985 NCAA Indoor Championships, a runner-up outdoor finish in 1986 and culminated in 1987 with an NCAA Indoor Championships crown – the program’s first-ever national title in women’s track & field and the start of an era of dominance for LSU.
While his stop at LSU was short it was also filled to the brim with accomplishments. Fueling the team success was an astounding 189 All-America honors earned under his leadership, including 26 NCAA champs.
Maxwell’s next stop was at Texas in 1991 as an assistant for the sprints, hurdles and jumps, where he remained until 1995. During that time, he coached 14 All-Americans.
In 1996 he made the move to Nebraska, his home of the last 21 years. His tenure started out with a bang as the Cornhusker men notched a program-best runner-up finish during that 1996 season, and he’s been producing many of the Big 12’s and then the Big Ten’s finest sprinters and hurdlers. During Nebraska’s time in the Big 12 his athletes claimed 25 conference titles, and they’ve picked up where they left off in the Big Ten with eight more since 2011.
Three Cornhuskers have won national titles under his watch, most recently Miles Ukaoma in the 400-meter hurdles in 2014. Those three headline the group of 42 All-Americans Maxwell has coached.
Cal State Northridge
Few NCAA Division II programs in the 1980s were as successful in track & field and cross country as the Cal State Northridge squads coached by Don Strametz, who would later lead the Matadors to more success at the NCAA Division I level.
For more than three decades Strametz guided the CSUN track & field and cross country programs. After a successful run as the Locke High School coach from 1974 through 1979, he took over the CSUN cross country teams in 1979, the women’s track & field team – which had just won three consecutive AIAW national titles – in 1981 and the men’s track & field program in 1985. He remained at the helm of each until his retirement in 2011.
The first third of his career was accentuated by success at the NCAA Division II level. His women’s cross country program was particularly exceptional, having finished as the national runners-up at the NCAA Division II Cross Country Championships back-to-back years in 1985 and 1986.
In 1989, Strametz and the Matadors made the most of their final year at the NCAA Division II level, as Darcy Arreola won the national individual title and CSUN took fourth-place overall. Their 1989 showing was the sixth time the CSUN women had finished top-five at the NCAA Championships.
That same year, his men finished fifth at the NCAA Cross Country Championships, making their third top-10 finish during Strametz’s tenure.
Those men’s cross country runners combined with the Matador sprinters, jumpers and throwers in the spring for a national runner-up performance at the NCAA Division II Outdoor Track & Field Championships. His women finished a program-best fifth overall for the second season in a row, capping a streak of six top-10 finishes.
In total, he coached 10 NCAA Division II individual national champions in outdoor track & field between the men and the women.
Strametz and the Matador programs made the jump to the NCAA Division I level the following season, and it didn’t take long for him to deliver the school’s first DI national champion. Already an NCAA DII cross country champ, Arreola won the outdoor 1500 meters national title in 1991 – CSUN’s very first season in DI.
His men’s program produced two different national champions in the long jump in back-to-back championships in 2007 and 2008. First, Dashalle Andrews claimed the 2007 outdoor NCAA crown, followed by Rendell Cole taking the 2008 indoor title.
Those three national champions are among the 11 outdoor DI All-Americans and five indoor DI All-Americans Strametz coached during his time at CSUN.
His teams found great success at the conference level in Division I, combining for 21 league crowns in the Big West and the Big Sky. More than 100 of his athletes earned all-Big West honors, in addition to nearly 150 All-Big Sky honorees.
He was inducted into the Mt. SAC Relays Hall of Fame in 2011.
Minnesota, UW-La Crosse
For nearly four decades, Gary Wilson was a fixture on the Midwest track & field and cross country scene and a nationally successful coach at both the NCAA Division I and Division III levels, whose influence on the sport remains visible long beyond his 2013 retirement.
Four times a national champion while coaching at UW-La Crosse from 1977 through 1985, Wilson spent nearly three decades building a perennial national contending program at Minnesota until retiring in 2013. It was there he co-founded the Roy Griak Invitational, which has become one of the premier cross country invitationals in the country at both the high school and college levels.
While at UW-La Crosse, he guided both the women’s cross country and men’s track & field programs throughout his entire tenure, in addition to taking over the women’s track & field squad in the early 80s. Once under his tutelage, the women’s track & field squad went on to win three consecutive national titles. They claimed the final AIAW Division III title, followed by a pair of NCAA Division III titles in 1983 and 1984.
His women’s cross country teams in La Crosse reached similar heights, including a stretch from 1982 through 1984 during which the Eagles were runners-up, national champions, and runners-up.
By the time his run in La Crosse came to an end in 1985, Wilson had coached the Eagles to a combined 21 Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletics Conference titles, and would 12 years later be inducted into the school’s athletics Hall of Fame.
His tenure at Minnesota would begin that same year and last all the way through 2013. Wilson helmed the women’s cross country program for the duration of his career as a Gopher, and guided the women’s track & field program through 2006, after which he took on an assistant coaching role.
His Golden Gophers made 15 appearances at the NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships as a team, highlighted by a program-best ninth-place finish in 2005. That showing kickstarted a five-year streak of top-12 national team finishes, which included three consecutive Midwest Region titles from 2007-09 and a pair of Big Ten crowns in 2007 and 2008.
The 2005-2006 academic year was a good one for Wilson and his Minnesota women. In what would turn out to be his final season as the head track & field coach, he guided the Golden Gophers to their first-ever Big Ten Outdoor Championships team title and coached Heather Dorniden to the NCAA Division I Indoor 800 meters title – the first individual crown in program history. Dorniden’s title propelled Minnesota to a 12th-place national team finish for the best showing in program history.
Following that outdoor Big Ten title, his athletes scored a then school-record 14 points at the NCAA Outdoor Championships for a 19th-place finish – just one spot shy of the program bests to which Wilson guided the team in 1990 and 1991. That marked the 14th season in which Wilson’s teams scored at the NCAA Outdoor Championships.
By the end of his run as the cross country coach following the 2012 season his athletes had earned nine All-America honors, won a Big Ten individual crown and finished top-five in the conference 23 times.
He served as the president of the Women’s Intercollegiate Cross Country Coaches Association in 1994 and 1995, and was inducted into the Drake Relays Hall of Fame in 1997