Joe Yancey’s coaching career covered roughly 50 years; as co-founder of the New York Pioneer Club, he tutored a number of talented track & field athletes, including six Olympic Gold Medalists.
A star athlete at Saratoga High School, Yancey attended Virginia State College before transferring to and graduating from New York University in 1935. In 1936, he helped found the Pioneer Club and became its volunteer coach. The Pioneer Club was the first interracial track club in the U.S.
As the Pioneer Club’s coach, Yancey coached numerous indoor and outdoor national champions, including 18 Olympians who competed on five different Olympic Teams. These Olympians included Olympic Gold Medalists Andy Stanfield, Lou Jones, Herb McKenley, George Rhoden, Arthur Went, and Lloyd LaBeach.
Yancey is recognized several Halls of Fame, including the Black Athletes Hall of Fame, the USATF Hall of Fame, and the Harlem Professionals, Inc. Hall of Fame. In 1983, he was the recipient of the Bob Giegengack Award for outstanding service to track & field.
In New York City, the track & field in Macomb’s Dam Park is named in Yancey’s honor, and a senior housing facility on 142nd Street bears his name.