DeLoss Dodds may be best known as the athletic director at the University of Texas, but he also served 14 years as the head track and cross country coach at Kansas State University. During Dodds’s tenure, Kansas State won six Big 8 Conference championships while he coached ten NCAA individual and relay champions and two Olympians.
A 1959 graduate of Kansas State with a degree in physical education and a minor in psychology, Dodds was a prep football, baseball, and track standout whose football career at Kansas State was cut short his freshman year by a knee injury. He won the Big 8 Championship in the 440-yard dash as a junior, anchored a pair of league-champion mile relay teams, and ran a personal-best 45.9-second quarter-mile during his collegiate career.
After spending time in graduate school and serving six months in the Army, he returned to his alma mater as assistant track coach in 1961. He became head coach in 1963 and served in that position for 14 years. During that time, he guided Kansas State to six Big 8 titles (four in cross country/two in indoor track). Two of his athletes – Ken Swenson (800) and Conrad Nightingale (steeplechase) – competed in the Olympic Games.
Since becoming the men’s athletic director at Texas in 1981, Dodds has continued to stay involved in track & field. He was instrumental in restoring the Texas Relays to their previous luster. Dodds raised $25 million to build one of nation’s finest track & field facilities, the Mike A. Myers Track and Soccer Stadium, on the Texas campus.
One of Dodds’s hires, Texas men’s track & field coach Bubba Thornton, will be the head coach of the men’s U.S. Olympic team at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. Dodds also hired USTFCCCA Hall of Famer Stan Huntsman, the men’s U.S. Olympic coach at the 1988 Olympics in Seoul.
Dodds was honored as the 2002 National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) Division I-A West Region Athletic Director of the Year. He also was chosen as the recipient of the 2003 Carl Maddox Award for Sports Management from the United States Sports Academy. The award honors an individual who exhibits mastery of all management function, is well known in the sports arena, and has an abiding belief in the need for ethical behavior in sports management.
Though he retired from coaching in 1976, Dodds left a lasting mark on the sport. In addition to rejuvenating the Kansas State program, Dodds chaired the NCAA Track & Field Rules Committee and was inducted into the Drake Relays Coaches Hall of Fame. He also earned a place in the Longhorn Hall of Honor in 1997.