FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – A tribute dinner to honor legendary Arkansas head track and field and cross country coach John McDonnell has been scheduled for Sept. 18, 2008, it was announced by Arkansas Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics Jeff Long.
The John McDonnell Tribute Dinner – A Celebration of His Legacy will take place at the Randal Tyson Track Center on the Thursday night prior to Arkansas’ home football game against the University of Alabama.
McDonnell will retire following the 2008 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships after 36 years. He has led the Razorbacks to 42 NCAA championships and 83 conference championships in his tenure. McDonnell’s 42 national titles are more than any coach in any single-gender program in the history of collegiate athletics. He has won five national triple crowns, 20 conference triple crowns, 34 consecutive cross country conference championships, including 17 straight in the Southeastern Conference, and has been named national, regional or conference coach of the year a total of 140 times.
“We invite everyone to be a part of a tribute to the most successful coach in NCAA Division I history,” Long says. “While we are still planning all of the details, we wanted to make certain everyone has marked their calendars in order to be with us for this very special and memorable event.
“The University of Arkansas and the Razorback program owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to Coach McDonnell and his family for their years of service and dedication to this Institution. John’s work with the hundreds of student-athletes, on and off the track, has enriched their lives in ways that only teachers and coaches can. Many coaches are hailed as the best, but no one can dispute that John McDonnell is the best track and field coach in the history of the NCAA and we want to provide a fitting recognition for his unparalleled success.”
The evening event will include appearances by former Arkansas track student-athletes as well as other notable representatives from the world of intercollegiate athletics and the track and field community.
More information on the event will be released when as it becomes available. For those interested in becoming a sponsor of the event, contact Patti Metcalf-Kimbrough at (479) 575-6904.