FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – A seven-foot, six-inch bronze statue of legendary Arkansas men’s track and field coach John McDonnell was dedicated on Friday afternoon at the entry of the new Razorback Track and Field Champions Plaza at John McDonnell Field, the Razorbacks’ outdoor track and field home.
“We are pleased to pay tribute to Coach McDonnell and the hundreds of Razorback men’s and women’s track and field student-athletes who have helped build an unparalleled tradition of success at the University of Arkansas,” Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics Jeff Long said. “The statue celebrates the greatest coach in the history of intercollegiate athletics while welcoming fans to a beautiful plaza that will highlight the extraordinary accomplishments of Razorback student-athletes. We are so proud of Coach McDonnell and all those who have contributed to our championship history. Now thanks to this stunning addition, fans can celebrate that remarkable legacy all year long at one of the nation’s finest outdoor track and field venues.”
The most successful coach in the history of intercollegiate athletics, McDonnell coached the University of Arkansas men’s cross country and track and field programs for 36 seasons (1972-2008) and led the Razorbacks to unprecedented success including 40 NCAA team championships and 84 conference titles. Razorback student-athletes earned more than 650 all-America honors under McDonnell and 27 of his student-athletes went on to compete in the Olympics. McDonnell was a 30-time national coach of the year.
Designed by Modus Studio of Fayetteville, the Razorback Track and Field Champions Plaza celebrates the individual and team accomplishments unmatched by any track and field program in the country and salutes a coach with a championship resume that is unparalleled.
The seven-foot, six-inch foot bronze statue of Coach McDonnell stands at the entry of the outdoor track facility bearing his name. A monumental gate will mark the new entry to the field, alongside a total of 52 nine-foot pillars which also illuminate at night in a commemorative National Championship Garden and Olympic/World Championship Garden.
Additional plaques celebrating team conference championships and men’s all-Americans will be displayed near the gated entry in the Razorback Track and Field Champions Plaza. Also, installed at the base of the scoreboard along the sidewalk are plaques highlighting the incredible accomplishment of five triple crowns earned by the Razorback men’s track and field program.
The final piece of the project will be completed later this month with the enclosing of the back of the scoreboard of John McDonnell Field. A metal screen will shroud the existing scoreboard while highlighting the iconic Razorback Logo. The 18×38-foot backlit Hog will be the largest to date on the campus with Razorback Red LED lighting.