CONVENTION: Class of 2016 Inducted Into USTFCCCA Hall of Fame
ORLANDO — Service and selflessness were buzzwords throughout Wednesday’s proceedings at the 2016 USTFCCCA Convention and it was only right that those same words would echo through the speeches of the inductees into the USTFCCCA Coaches Hall of Fame later that night.
Wednesday’s marquee event in the Coquina Ballroom at the Orlando Grande Lakes Resort saw six coaches enter the hallowed fraternity: Terry Franson, Pat Healy, Mike Holloway, Bob Kitchens, Marty Stern and Bubba Thornton.
Franson led Azusa Pacific to 11 team titles, including seven in a row from 1983-1989. To this day, no team in NAIA history has won more than four in a row other than APU and Life (Ga.), which accomplished the feat from 1987 to 1990.
Healy spent most of his career at UW-La Crosse and turned the program into a NCAA Division III powerhouse. From 1992 to 2014, the Eagles finished in the top-4 21 times between the NCAA Division III Indoor and Outdoor Track & Field Championships and swept the proceedings in 2015 to give Healy his two NCAA team titles.
Unlike his five fellow Hall of Fame inductees, Holloway is still coaching — and doing an incredible at that. Holloway has won six NCAA team titles at Florida, including the most recent NCAA DI Outdoor crown.
Kitchens started his career at West Texas A&M, but found his footing at Mississippi State and UTEP. The former walk-on sprinter at Texas Tech mentored numerous NCAA champions as well as collegiate and world record holders.
Stern spent a decade at Villanova, the success from which led him to his induction on Wednesday. His women’s cross country teams won five consecutive NCAA titles, a feat no team has matched before or since.
Thornton spent 31 years at the helm of the track & field programs at his alma mater TCU as well as Texas. Arguably the biggest claim to fame in Thornton’s career was that he coached the Horned Frogs’ 4×100 team in 1989 to a collegiate record of 38.23A that still stands to this day.