Terry Crawford led the University of Tennessee Lady Vols to their first national title in any sport and later established the University of Texas as a women’s track & field powerhouse in the early years of the NCAA era. Her final coaching stint came as the Director of Track & Field/Cross Country at Cal Poly.
A former standout athlete at the University of Tennessee where she was an 800m national champion, Crawford also competed at the international level. She was a member of the 1971 World University Games team and participated in the Pan-American Games that same year. She was also a finalist at the 1968 and 1972 Olympic Trials.
Crawford began her coaching career at her alma mater in 1974, leading the Lady Vols to the 1981 AIAW Outdoor National Championship, the first national championship in any women’s sport at Tennessee. Crawford’s team also compiled six national runner-up finishes in AIAW and NCAA competition. Under her leadership, Tennessee won the first four women’s SEC outdoor championships, as well as the first women’s SEC indoor championship.
In 1984, Crawford accepted the head women’s track & field position at Texas and continued to build on her record of success. Between 1984 and 1992, Crawford’s Longhorns won 18 Southwest Conference Championships – four in cross country, eight in indoor track & field, and six in outdoor track & field. The team also won five NCAA championships during her tenure, including the only triple crown in NCAA women’s history in 1986.
Crawford accepted a new challenge in 1992 as she became head coach of women’s track & field and cross country at Cal Poly. She later became Director of the men’s and women’s programs in 1996. She has directed the Mustangs to three individual national championships in track & field, as well as team conference championships in both men’s and women’s cross country. In her over-twenty-year tenure as a head coach, Crawford has coached twelve Olympians and over 125 All Americans.
Crawford has also served the sports of cross country and track & field in several national leadership roles. She has served as President of the Women’s College Cross Country Association and as President of the U.S. Track Coaches Association (1999-2001). Crawford currently sits on the board of directors of USATF and is the coordinator of Olympic development for women’s middle distance running. She also serves as the chairperson for the USATF Coaches Advisory Committee.
In recognition of her achievements, Crawford has served as a national team coach for numerous competitions, including the World University Games, the Pan-American Games, the World Championships, and the World Cross Country Championships. In 1988, Crawford was selected as the head coach of the U.S. Women’s Olympic Team.
Crawford is honored in the University of Tennessee Athletics Hall of Fame and the Longhorn Women’s Hall of Fame.