Introducing the Collegiate Athlete Hall of Fame Class of 2023
NEW ORLEANS — The U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) is pleased to announce the 2023 induction class for the Collegiate Track & Field/Cross Country Athlete Hall of Fame. The class of 14 will be enshrined on September 14, 2023, at the Hult Center for the Performing Arts in Eugene, Oregon.
This year’s class features some of the greatest names in collegiate track & field and cross country history. With 70 national collegiate titles, 39 world records, and eight Olympic/World Championships medals achieved while in college, these athletes have left an indelible mark on the sports.
“The USTFCCCA is proud to honor these exceptional athletes for their achievements and contributions to collegiate track & field and cross country,” said Sam Seemes, CEO of the USTFCCCA. “Their accomplishments have inspired countless athletes and fans, and their induction into the Collegiate Athlete Hall of Fame serves as a testament to their enduring legacy.”
Collegiate Athlete Hall of Fame
Track & Field and Cross Country
2023 Induction Class
|Dyrol Burleson||Oregon||Mid-Distance||1959-1962||Cottage Grove, Ore.|
|Michael Carter||SMU||Throws||1980-1984||Dallas, Texas|
|Joetta Clark||Tennessee||Mid-Distance||1981-1984||Newark, N.J.|
|Michael Conley||Arkansas||Jumps||1982-1985||Chicago, Ill.|
|Sheila Hudson||California||Jumps||1986-1990||Rio Linda, Calif.|
|Holli Hyche||Indiana State||Sprints||1991-1994||Indianapolis, Ind.|
|Edwin Moses||Morehouse||Hurdles||1974-1977||Dayton, Ohio|
|Renaldo Nehemiah||Maryland||Hurdles||1978-1979||Scotch Plains, N.J.|
|Sonia O’Sullivan||Villanova||Distances||1988-1991||Cobh, Ireland|
|Julie Shea||NC State||Distances||1978-1981||Raleigh, N.C.|
|Seilala Sua||UCLA||Throws||1997-2000||Fort Lauderdale, Fla.|
|John Thomas||Boston U.||Jumps||1959-1962||Boston, Mass.|
|Wyomia Tyus||Tennessee State||Sprints||1963-1968||Griffin, Ga.|
|Dave Wottle||Bowling Green||Mid-Distance||1969-1973||Canton, Ohio|
INDUCTION CEREMONY: September 14, 2023 — Hult Center for Performing Arts, Eugene, Ore.
The induction ceremony will be open to the public and will be held two days prior to the start of the Prefontaine Classic which has been designated as this year’s Diamond League Final.
“We are thrilled to bring together these legendary athletes for a night of celebration and reflection on their incredible careers,” said USTFCCCA President Caryl Smith Gilbert, the Director of Track & Field and Cross Country at the University of Georgia. “Their stories and achievements continue to inspire generations of athletes, and we are honored to recognize their contributions to the sport.”
The Collegiate Athlete Hall of Fame was established in 2022 to honor the best of the best in collegiate track & field and cross country. The hall of fame recognizes the achievements of athletes who have left a lasting mark on the sport during their time in college.
Eligibility for induction this year was limited to men who had completed their collegiate eligibility prior to 2000 and women prior to 2010.
About the USTFCCCA
The U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) is a non-profit professional organization representing cross country and track & field coaches of all levels. The organization represents over 11,000 coaching members encompassing 98-percent of all NCAA track & field programs (DI, DII, and DIII) and includes members representing the NAIA and NJCAA, as well as a number of state high school coaches associations. The USTFCCCA serves as an advocate for cross country and track & field coaches, providing a leadership structure to assist the needs of a diverse membership, serving as an activist for coaches’ interests, and working as a liaison between the various stakeholders in the sports of cross country and track & field.
Dyrol Burleson was a dominant middle-distance runner, who enjoyed a remarkable college career in the early 1960s.
As a high school student from Cottage Grove, Ore., Burleson had already established himself as a standout athlete by setting a national record in the mile. He enrolled at the University of Oregon and made an immediate impact, breaking the U.S. college freshman record in the mile twice.
In the summer of 1959, before he was even eligible to compete for the university, Burleson won the 1500-meter title at the AAU Championships and then went on to capture gold in the same event at the Pan-American Games. He also won the 1500 meters in the U.S.-USSR dual meet.
Burleson’s college career was nothing short of phenomenal. He never lost a collegiate race at any distance and won three consecutive NCAA titles in the mile/1500 meters from 1960 to 1962. He set collegiate and American records in the 1500, mile, and two mile. He became the second American to break four minutes in the mile and also anchored Oregon relay teams to collegiate records three times, including a world record in the 4xMile.
Michael Carter, a dual-sport athlete at Southern Methodist University (SMU), excelled in both track & field and football. As an All-American in football and winner of seven NCAA Division I shot put titles, he established the record for the most titles in a single discipline, both indoors and outdoors.
Carter claimed the NCAA Indoor Championships shot put titles in 1980 and 1981, setting meet records along the way. In his sophomore year, he also finished as runner-up in the NCAA Outdoor Championships discus competition.
His sole defeat in the shot put at an NCAA championship came in 1984, in a memorable face-off against UCLA’s John Brenner at the outdoor championships. Despite a last-round personal record of 21.76m (71-4¾), Carter fell short by just 16cm (5-¼“), narrowly missing out on his eighth NCAA crown.
In his senior year at SMU, Carter went on to secure an Olympic silver medal. Beyond his track and field accomplishments, he was an All-American nose tackle on two top-ranked SMU football teams, later enjoying an All-Pro NFL career and winning three Super Bowl rings.
Carter’s legacy continued with his daughters, Michelle and D’Andra, both becoming NCAA champions in their respective events. Michelle, a competitor for the University of Texas, made history in 2016 as the first American woman to win Olympic gold in shot put.
Joetta Clark rose to prominence as a member of the University of Tennessee’s powerful track teams in the early 1980s. Over the course of her collegiate career, she claimed an impressive nine national collegiate titles, which included five individual wins and four as part of championship-winning relay teams.
Joetta’s primary event was the 800 meters/880 yards, where she secured three of her five individual national titles. She also excelled in the now-discontinued 1000 yards/meters event, winning two additional titles. Clark’s versatility made her an invaluable asset to the Lady Vol relay teams, as she could competently participate in relay legs ranging from 400 to 1200 meters.
During her time at Tennessee, Joetta amassed a staggering 87.5 points in the AIAW and NCAA Championships, combining indoor and outdoor national championships. She also set a total of 10 collegiate records, combining individual and relay events, with four of those coming in national championship finals.
As the first track star in her family, Joetta paved the way for her siblings J.J. (Villanova) and Hazel (Florida) to also excel in the sport. By 2022, Joetta’s daughter, Talitha Diggs, carried on the family legacy at the University of Florida, winning national titles of her own.
Michael Conley, nearly 40 years after his reign, is still regarded as one of the most-dominant jumpers in history. Throughout his collegiate career, Conley amassed a total of 62 points at the NCAA Division I Outdoor Championships, making him the highest-scoring male field eventer in the history of the competition.
Conley’s journey to greatness began when he won his first NCAA title as a sophomore in 1983, taking home the indoor triple jump championship. His success continued into his junior and senior years, where he added eight more titles in a remarkable fashion.
In 1984, Conley made history by becoming the first athlete to sweep all four available single-year horizontal jump titles in the NCAA. He managed to replicate this incredible double-double feat in 1985 while also showcasing his prowess on the track, finishing as the runner-up in the 200 meters and contributing to the Razorbacks’ sixth-place finish in the 4×100 relay.
Conley’s outstanding performances played a significant role in Arkansas’ indoor (20 points) and outdoor (28.75 points) team championships in 1985, as the Razorbacks achieved the first-ever collegiate triple crown, which also included a cross-country victory from the previous fall.
During his collegiate years, Conley earned medals at the inaugural World Championships in 1983, where he won bronze in the long jump, and at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, where he took silver in the triple jump. These achievements cemented Conley’s reputation as a formidable international competitor in both events that spanned far into the next decade.
Sheila Hudson is known for her remarkable jumping abilities. Over the course of her college career, Hudson earned six national collegiate titles, including a historic “double-double” at the NCAA Division I Championships where she became the first woman to sweep the horizontal jumps in both indoor and outdoor events.
Hudson’s success on the national stage was marked by her record-breaking performances and ability to deliver in high-pressure situations. In the 1987 NCAA Division I Outdoor Championships triple jump, she held the lead through five attempts before being overtaken by Pac-10 rival Yvette Bates. Hudson responded with an incredible jump of 13.78m (45-2½), setting a world record and clinching victory.
The following year, Hudson once again found herself trailing at the NCAA Outdoor Championships. However, she came back to win with an all-conditions world best of 13.92w (45-8w), showcasing her determination and resilience.
After taking a year off, Hudson continued to excel, this time indoors. In 1990, she won the NCAA Indoor Championships long jump by nearly a foot and then went on to set a world indoor best in the triple jump with a jump of 13.94m (45-9) on her final attempt.
Hudson completed her historic double-double by winning the NCAA long jump with a personal record of 6.73m (22-1) before claiming the triple jump title and extending her own collegiate and American record to 14.04m (46-¾). Overall, Hudson’s remarkable performances and consistency at the highest level of competition have cemented her as one of the greatest jumpers in college track and field history.
Holli Hyche, an exceptional sprinter from Indianapolis, was a dynamo for the Indiana State Sycamores. With a total of seven individual titles, she holds the record for the most NCAA Division I championships ever won by a sprinter, male or female.
Hyche’s ascent to stardom began during her junior season at Indiana State, where she clinched the university’s first-ever NCAA titles in any track and field event, both indoors and outdoors. At the 1993 NCAA Division I Indoor Championships, she dominated the competition by winning both the 55- and 200-meter races.
However, Hyche’s success didn’t stop there. She continued to make her mark by sweeping the 100 and 200 NCAA titles outdoors, setting a low-altitude meet record with a time of 22.34 in the 200-meter event.
In 1994, Hyche further solidified her reputation as a formidable athlete by successfully defending her indoor sprint titles, including a meet-record time of 22.90 in the 200-meter race. This feat was particularly impressive, as she broke the previous record of 22.95, which she had set herself in the preliminary run.
During the outdoor season of 1994, Hyche broadened her contributions to the Sycamores by anchoring the 4×100 relay team to a third-place finish. She then turned her attention back to individual events, where she claimed another 100-meter title and finished as the runner-up in the 200-meter race.
Edwin Moses, hailed as one of the greatest hurdlers of all time, revolutionized the sport with his innovative 13-step approach and incredible record-breaking performances as a collegian, ultimately winning Olympic gold.
Initially, Moses didn’t view hurdling as his main event. However, during his junior year at Morehouse College, a Division III program, he rapidly became the nation’s fastest 400-meter hurdler, smashing collegiate records with blazing times of 48.9 and 48.8 seconds.
Though a stumble which led to a fall at the 1976 NCAA Division III Championships prevented him from claiming a collegiate title that year, Moses showcased his extraordinary talent later that summer. He clocked an all-dates collegiate best of 48.86 seconds at the AAU Championships before setting an American record of 48.30 seconds at the U.S. Olympic Trials. Moses then dominated at the Montreal Olympics, breaking his own American record twice and finally shattering the world record with a jaw-dropping 47.64 seconds, capturing the gold medal.
This incredible feat made Edwin Moses the first NCAA Division III athlete to win an individual Olympic gold medal in track and field as a collegian.
In 1977, Moses seized his first national collegiate title, winning the NCAA Division III 400-meter hurdles in a record-setting 49.59 seconds—a record that still stands. Later that summer, he further demolished his world record with a stunning 47.45 seconds, defending his AAU champion title.
Renaldo Nehemiah left an enduring legacy in the sport, particularly in hurdling. Known as “Skeets,” Nehemiah set an astounding seven indoor and two outdoor world records during his time as a collegian, with his 13.00-second record in the 110-meter hurdles remaining unbeaten by a collegian for 40 years.
Nehemiah first made a name for himself as an 18-year-old freshman at the University of Maryland. He set his initial world record at the 1978 Millrose Games, winning the 60-yard hurdles with a time of 7.07 seconds. Later that year, he claimed an NCAA Division I Indoor Championships title, setting a meet record of 7.11 seconds in the first of four rounds.
Nehemiah’s sophomore year in 1979 proved to be nothing short of remarkable. He broke the indoor 60-yard hurdle record, finishing in under 7 seconds with a time of 6.95 seconds (and 6.89 seconds for the slightly longer 55-meter event). In the spring, Nehemiah continued to rewrite the record books, setting a world record of 13.16 seconds in April before reducing it to an iconic 13.00 seconds in early May.
During the NCAA Outdoor Championships, Nehemiah went even faster, winning his only outdoor crown with a wind-aided 12.91 seconds. This time was the fastest in world history at that moment and remains the quickest time by a collegian under all conditions.
Apart from his exceptional hurdling skills, Nehemiah also excelled on the track without hurdles. He anchored the Terrapins to three Penn Relays titles, including the 4×100 in 1978 and the 4×200 and 4×400 in 1979, the latter featuring a blazing 44.3-second split.
Sonia O’Sullivan, an exceptional distance runner, made a lasting impact on NCAA Division I cross country, indoor track and field, and outdoor track and field, winning a total of five national championship titles across the sports.
During the 1990-91 academic year at Villanova University, O’Sullivan achieved a unique feat by winning titles in all three sports, making her the first woman to secure a distance Triple Crown in Division I history. Following her cross country victory in November, she went on to win the indoor 5000-meter title in March and successfully defended her outdoor 3000-meter title in June.
In addition to these accomplishments, O’Sullivan unexpectedly set a world record during the 1990-91 season. Initially aiming for an NCAA qualifying mark in the 5000 meters at the Boston University Terrier Classic in late January, she surpassed all expectations by shaving more than five seconds off the world record with a time of 15:17.28. This impressive performance remained a collegiate record for 13 years.
After winning the gold medal in the 1500 meters at the World University Games that summer, O’Sullivan’s illustrious career as a Villanova runner culminated in the fall of 1991 when she led the Wildcats to their third consecutive NCAA Division I cross country team championship. O’Sullivan’s individual title in her final run for Villanova secured her place in history as the first woman in the division to achieve back-to-back national cross country crowns.
Julie Shea, a trailblazing distance runner, became the first female collegian to claim seven national collegiate distance titles. Her impressive accomplishments began with a 5000-meter victory at the 1979 AIAW Track & Field Championships. Later that year, she secured her second title by winning at the 1979 AIAW Cross Country Championships.
Shea’s next three titles came in quick succession at the 1980 AIAW Championships. She achieved a historic feat, becoming the first woman to win a national collegiate distance triple by claiming victories in the 10,000-meter event on Friday, followed by the 5000-meter and 3000-meter events on Saturday. Her triumph in the 10k race was particularly significant, as Shea set a collegiate record of 33:02.32 while leading a 1-2-3 sweep of NC State runners, including her younger sister Mary in second place.
In her senior track season in 1981, Shea demonstrated her versatility, setting an all-time collegiate best of 2:30:54 in the Boston Marathon. Less than six weeks later, she returned to the track for her final collegiate appearance, winning a third consecutive AIAW 5k title, marking her seventh and final national title.
Seilala Sua made history throughout her illustrious career, from her first NCAA title to her seventh and final one.
Sua’s historic journey began with her first national victory at the 1997 NCAA Division I Outdoor Championships discus, where she became the first freshman, male or female, to win the event. Six of her titles were claimed at the NCAA Division I Outdoor Championships, making her the woman with the most individual titles in the meet’s history.
Between 1997 and 2000, the UCLA star won the discus event four times, joining Suzy Favor of Wisconsin as the meet’s second female athlete to achieve four consecutive victories in the same event. Favor had previously accomplished this in the 1500 meters from 1987 to 1990.
Sua swept the shot put and discus at the 1999 and 2000 NCAA Outdoor Championships, making her the first thrower, male or female, with back-to-back wins in a pair of events in the meet’s history
Collectively, Sua’s seven titles, including the 2000 indoor shot put, made her the most successful female thrower at the NCAA Division I level in both indoor and outdoor meets. Nicknamed “Sly” by her teammates, Sua accumulated 69 career points in the NCAA Division I Outdoor Championships, ranking her second all-time for a woman, just behind fellow Bruin Gail Devers, who scored 71.25 points.
John Thomas, a high-jumping prodigy, made history as the youngest-ever male high jumper to set a world record at just 17 years old. As a freshman at Boston University in 1959, Thomas cleared 6-11⅛ (2.11m) indoors, marking the beginning of an extraordinary career.
During his first two years in college, Thomas broke or tied the world record an impressive 15 times. One of his most notable records occurred at the 1959 Millrose Games, where he achieved the first-ever indoor 7-foot (2.13m) clearance. This accomplishment was later recognized by meet director Howard Schmertz as his number one “Most Memorable Millrose Moment” during the celebration of the meet’s 100th edition in 2007.
Thomas continued to push the limits, concluding the 1959 winter season with a 7-1¼ (2.16m) win at the AAU Indoor Championships – a height surpassing the outdoor world record at the time (2.16m/7-1). As a sophomore in 1960, Thomas added four more entries to the indoor world record book, defending his Millrose and AAU titles and raising the indoor world record to 7-2½ (2.19m).
During his first collegiate outdoor season, Thomas set his first outdoor world record, clearing 7-1½ (2.17m) to win the Penn Relays. He also achieved the first 7-foot clearance at the NCAA Championships, earning the first of his two titles. His final world record, 7-3⅞ (2.22m), was set during his career at the U.S. Olympic Trials. Thomas also earned a bronze medal at the 1960 Rome Olympics while a collegian, leaving a lasting legacy in the world of high jumping.
Wyomia Tyus elevated Tennessee State’s reputation as the epicenter of women’s speed in the 1960s. As a freshman, Tyus clinched the gold medal in the 100 meters at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, following in the footsteps of her Tigerbelle teammate and 1960 Rome gold medalist, Wilma Rudolph.
During her collegiate years from 1963 to 1968, Tyus set or tied world records eight times, both indoors and outdoors. Her first world record came in the Toyko Olympic quarterfinals, matching the global best of 11.2 seconds.
At a time when women’s collegiate national championships were not yet established, Tyus remained unbeatable in the 100 meters at the AAU national championships from her freshman through junior seasons (1964-66). She also dominated the indoor scene, securing three AAU 60-yard titles between 1965 and 1967.
In 1968, Tyus continued to make history at the Mexico City Olympics during her final year as a collegiate athlete. She earned a second consecutive gold medal in the 100 meters, becoming the first person, male or female, to win two Olympic golds in the century event.
Dave Wottle, a remarkable middle-distance runner, dominated the track during his final two years at Bowling Green. His success extended beyond collegiate competition, as his five NCAA titles were complemented by a gold medal at the 1972 Munich Olympics following his junior year.
Wottle’s prowess wasn’t limited to a single event; he claimed three of his five NCAA crowns in the 1500 meters/mile, while his Olympic gold came in the 800 meters. He first made his mark as a sophomore in 1970, finishing as runner-up in the NCAA Outdoor Championships mile. After an injury-plagued 1971 season, Wottle returned with an extraordinary 1972 campaign.
During that Olympic year, Wottle clinched the NCAA 880 yards title indoors and anchored Bowling Green’s distance medley relay team to victory. Outdoors, he captured the NCAA 1500 meters title before embarking on an unforgettable summer of 800-meter races. After winning the AAU title, he triumphed at the U.S. Olympic Trials, setting a world record with a time of 1:44.3.
Wottle’s dramatic victory in the 800 meters at the Munich Olympics marked the end of his junior year. He made a thrilling comeback from last place with 200 meters remaining, securing victory by a mere 0.03 seconds – the closest finish in the event’s Olympic history – with a time of 1:45.86.
Wottle’s final track race for Bowling Green was equally memorable, as he won the mile at the 1973 NCAA Outdoor Championships, donning his trademark golf hat. He led eight runners to break the 4-minute barrier, a feat that had only occurred once before worldwide. Wottle’s meet record of 3:57.1 is likely to stand, as the event has been contested at 1500 meters since 1976.