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
1921-2021
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
Angela Williams Stands Tall In History
June 1, 2002

Angela Williams of Southern California was the first athlete (man or woman) to win four consecutive 100-meter titles at the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships.

Carlos’ Triple Leads “Speed City” Spartans
June 21, 1969

John Carlos of San Jose State became the first athlete to complete the sprint triple at the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships with victories in the 100, 200 (220) and 4×100 (440-yard) relay.

Southern’s Milburn Clears All Hurdles In His Way
June 9, 1973

Rodney Milburn of Southern capped a legendary collegiate career 47 years ago when he won the 120-yard high hurdles title at the 1973 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships in a meet-record time of 13.1.

Oregon’s Burleson Races To Meet’s First Sub-4 Mile
June 16, 1962

ON THIS DAY: Dyrol Burleson of Oregon recorded the first sub-4 minute mile in meet history at the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships. Burleson finished in 3:59.8 and used a 55.2 closing lap to seal the deal.