Robinson Brothers Make NCAA T&F History

Celebrating A Century of NCAA Track & Field Championships

Robinson Brothers Make NCAA T&F History

Can you name the first set of siblings to win NCAA track & field titles?

We’ll give you a hint: Their last name is Robinson.

Jackie Robinson and older brother Mack went to different colleges in different years: Jackie to UCLA in 1939; Mack several years earlier to Oregon. Both topped the podium at the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships, coincidentally at the same location (University of Minnesota’s campus in Minneapolis).

Mack – a nickname for Matthew – gave the Robinson family its first NCAA title in 1938 when he won the 220-yard dash in a meet-record 21.3, breaking the mark of 21.5 formerly held by Jesse Owens from 1936. While Mack wasn’t in that 1936 NCAA final, he did compete later that year at the Berlin Olympics, earning the silver medal behind Owens in the 200 meters.

Jackie, four-and-a-half years younger than Mack, added another NCAA crown to the Robinson family trophy case two years later in 1940 when he won the long jump in 24-10¼ (7.57m). He was in second place entering the final round of the event before uncorking his winning attempt. Just a few weeks earlier, Jackie opened his season at the Pacific Coast Conference Championships with a world-leading 25-0 (7.62m).

Many know Jackie for famously breaking the color barrier in Major League Baseball in 1947 with the Brooklyn Dodgers. Baseball was one of four sports in which Jackie excelled while at UCLA, alongside basketball (led the conference in scoring), football (led the nation in punt return average) and, of course, track & field. He remains the only athlete in UCLA history to letter in four sports.

Jackie and Mack were honored by the city of Pasadena in 1997 with nine-foot-tall bronze sculptures of their heads outside of City Hall.

posted: June 29, 2020
The NCAA's First Championships

The NCAA and collegiate track & field will mark a momentous milestone in the spring of 2021 -- the 100th anniversary of the NCAA Championships and with that, the NCAA Track & Field Championships. In June 1921, the University of Chicago hosted the first track & field championships in NCAA history.

This point can’t be emphasized enough: Not only was the event the first for NCAA track & field, but the first championships for any sport under the sponsorship of the NCAA.

To celebrate, over each of the next 365 days, the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) will celebrate moments, student-athletes, and coaches that have made a century’s worth of championships special. From humble beginnings to important historical milestones to the modern-day, collegiate track & field has evolved with the American society.

The 2021 edition of the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships begin with preliminary round action on May 27-29 in Jacksonville, Fla., and College Station, Texas. The championships final site and culmination of the celebration is slated for June 9-12, 2021 at the newly rebuilt Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore.

Memorable Moments
A Crowning Moment For Rogers In 2017
June 10, 2017

Back in 2017, Raevyn Rogers of Oregon dazzled at the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships with a victory in the 800 and a sizzling anchor on the winning 4×400 relay.

Oxy’s Gutowski Vaults To Record Heights
June 15, 1957

Bob Gutowski of Occidental won the pole vault at the 1957 NCAA Outdoor Championships with a clearance of 4.82m (15-9¾), a mark that surpassed the world record but was never ratified.

Guthrie-Gresham Generates Greatness
June 2, 1995

Diane Guthrie-Gresham of George Mason broke the collegiate record in the heptathlon with 6527 points at the 1995 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships.

Conway Raises The Bar In 1989
June 3, 1989

Hollis Conway of Southwestern Louisiana set the American record and collegiate record in the high jump at the 1989 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships!

Conley Soars; Razorbacks Complete Triple Crown
June 1, 1985

Mike Conley scored 28¾ points to lead Arkansas to its first outdoor team title, which completed the vaunted “Triple Crown,” as the program also captured the cross country and indoor titles already in the academic year.