The head coach at UCLA from 1947-64 and a former Bruin student-athlete, Elvin “Ducky” Drake led the Bruins to the 1956 NCAA outdoor team title. During his career, seven of his athletes won nine NCAA individual titles and 12 national AAU crowns.
A 1927 UCLA graduate, Drake returned to his alma mater as an assistant coach from 1929-44. In 1947, he took over the reins of the program as head coach. Named the NCAA Track & Field Coach of the Year in 1956, Drake also coached a number of outstanding individual athletes. These athletes included Olympic Gold Medalist Rafer Johnson, who won the decathlon at the 1960 Olympic Games. Johnson edged out Bruin teammate C.K Yang, who captured the silver medal in one of the most dramatic duels in Olympic history.
Other Olympians coached by Drake include 1952 Gold Medalist in the javelin Cy Young (no relation to the baseball player) and Bronze Medalists Craig Dixon (1948) and George Roubanis (1956). Drake retired from coaching in 1964 but continued to serve as UCLA’s head athletic trainer until 1986.
Drake also famously addressed the football team before every UCLA-Cal game from 1972 until his death in 1989. UCLA went 18-0 against Cal during this streak. In 1973, the UCLA track stadium was named in his honor, and in 1984, he was inducted into the UCLA Athletic Hall of Fame as a charter member. Drake is also honored in the Mt. SAC Relays Hall of Fame and the USATF Hall of Fame.