Alex Wilson served as track and field and cross country coach at the University of Notre Dame from 1950-72, leading the Fighting Irish to a cross country national title, three individual track and field titles and 28 All-American honors.
A middle-distance track star as a student-athlete at Notre Dame, Alex Wilson was the perfect example of an outstanding athlete and legendary coach. While at Notre Dame, Wilson was undefeated in the quarter- and half-mile events and set a national indoor record of 49.3 for the 440 in 1932. Wilson also won the Amateur Athletic Union 600-yd dash and twice captured the Millrose 600-yd race.
Wilson’s athletic success extended beyond the collegiate ranks and into the Olympic Games. In 1928 and 1932, he competed in the Olympics for his native Canada, earning a silver medal in the 800-meters and a bronze in the 400-meter run in 1932.
Following the completion of his collegiate career in 1932, Wilson became a track and field and swimming coach at Loyola (Ill.), remaining there for 18 years. In 1950, his alma mater called, and Wilson accepted the opportunity to return to South Bend as track and field and cross country coach.
Under Wilson’s tutelage, the Fighting Irish achieved 11 top-10 national finishes and won the 1957 NCAA Cross Country title. He also coached three national champions in track and field events and 28 All-Americans in cross country and track and field. Wilson was honored as the National Cross Country Coach of the Year in his final year as Notre Dame’s coach.
Wilson is honored for his achievements as an athlete and coach in the Canadian Track Hall of Fame and the Helms Athletic Foundation Hall of Fame. In addition, an indoor track and field meet is held in his honor each year at the University of Notre Dame. Wilson died on December 10, 1994, at the age of 87.