USTFCCCA Mourns Passing Of Hall of Famer Ken Foreman

SEATTLE – Ken Foreman, the legendary track and field coach whose accomplishments stretched from Seattle Pacific all the way to the United States Olympic team, passed away on Sunday at the age of 96.

Foreman, who is regarded as the patriarch of the Seattle Pacific athletic program, coached track, cross country and basketball during his five decades at the school and served as the athletic director from 1952-57. He was largely behind the effort to construct Royal Brougham Pavilion, the gymnasium where Falcons athletes still compete.

But it was on the track where he made by far his biggest impact. During three tenures as the program’s head coach – 1950-77, 1965-78, and 1985-99 – he produced 159 All-America athletes and 13 top-10 teams.

USTFCCCA Hall of Fame Class of 2011: Ken Foreman

It was through Foreman’s efforts that Seattle Pacific was a pioneer in establishing highly successful women’s track and cross country programs. He recognized the talents and abilities of female athletes and worked to develop them into national and international-caliber performers long before other coaches and college programs were doing so.

Foreman was particularly noteworthy as a teacher of technique, and that was true not only for track events, but for field events, as well. Along with the 159 All-Americans, 26 of his athletes won national collegiate championships. Foreman-coached athletes also won 14 AAU titles, spread among cross country, indoor track, and outdoor track.

He was selected to the coaching staff of 14 U.S. international track teams, including his role as head women’s track coach for the 1980 Olympic team. He also served as the Team USA head coach for the 1983 World Outdoor Championships and 1986 Goodwill Games. Some of the Olympians he coached through the years were former Seattle Pacific stars Pam Spencer, Lorna Griffin, and Sherron Walker.

Foreman was a charter member of the Seattle Pacific Athletic Hall of Fame in 2003. Several of his Falcon athletes are also in the school’s hall, led by international distance running star and coach Doris Brown Heritage, who was a five-time world cross country champion. Foreman also is a member of numerous other Halls of Fame, including USA Track & Field, the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association, and the Washington State Track & Field Coaches Association. The training track, which he designed on the east side of Brougham Pavilion, bears his name.

Following his retirement from SPU in 2000, Foreman relocated to Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, and coached the track and cross country teams at Konawaena High School. He also authored several books about track and field technique and his career in coaching.

Born on August 29, 1922, Foreman was a college All-American at the University of Southern California as a gymnast and track and field thrower. The 25-foot rope climb was a men’s gymnastics event at the time and Foreman established an NCAA record on that apparatus and won two national championships before graduating in 1949.

Previously, as a high schooler in 1940, he became the interscholastic world record holder on the rope climb. After the outbreak of World War II, Foreman enlisted with the Coast Guard and served in the Pacific theater.

Foreman earned a doctorate at USC and the exercise physiologist worked extensively in the development of field tests to identify individuals having significant athletic potential.

Plans for a memorial service at Seattle Pacific will be announced at a later date.