Robert Lyman “Dink” Templeton was a star athlete and talented coach at Stanford University, coaching the cross country and track & field squads from 1921-39.
A rugby, track, and football star at Stanford, Templeton went on to represent the U.S. at the 1920 Olympics in two sports: rugby and track & field. Templeton finished just out of the medals in the long jump, but he won a Gold Medal with the U.S. rugby team. Amazingly, Templeton did not compete in his best event in the Olympics – the high jump – because his “Western Roll” style of jumping was illegal at that time. Templeton also qualified for the 1924 Olympic Team in the long jump.
In 1921, at the age of only 24, Templeton began coaching the Stanford cross country and track & field programs on an informal basis. He formally took the position of head coach just one year later. Among many coaches at the time, Templeton’s belief in year-round training for athletes was considered revolutionary, as it ran counter to the theory that such training would burn out athletes; however, Templeton’s results can’t be argued. He led the Cardinal (then known as the Indians) to three NCAA team titles (1925, 1928, and 1934), three NCAA runner-up finishes, four IC4A team titles, and five IC4A runner-up finishes during his tenure.
Under Templeton’s coaching, Stanford’s individual athletes compiled 19 NCAA individual titles, set 16 world records, and won nine Olympic medals. Among the athletes he coached was Ben Eastman, world record holder in the 400m, 440 yards, 500m, 600 yards, 800m, and 880 yards, and 1932 Olympic Silver Medalist in the 400m. After retiring from Stanford in 1939, Templeton later coached the San Francisco Olympic Club.
Also a graduate of Stanford Law School, Templeton also was a broadcaster and journalist, and he twice served on the U.S. coaching staff at the Olympic Games. He is recognized for his achievements in the Stanford University Athletics Hall of Fame and the USATF Hall of Fame.