FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Legendary Arkansas head coach John McDonnell managed to add to his impressive resume when he was named as an inductee into the National Track and Field Hall of Fame. USA Track & Field (USATF) made the announcement on Thursday in New York City, site of the National Track & Field Hall of Fame and host of this Sunday’s New York Marathon.
McDonnell first learned of his selection in October when former Razorback and Olympic gold medalist Mike Conley, USATF President Bill Roe and USATF CEO Craig Masback called to share the good news.
“I was thrilled,” McDonnell said. “It hadn’t crossed my mind that it would happen. When Mike Conley first got on the phone and said that I have some people here that want to talk to you. Bill Roe and Craig Masback told me and I was shocked. It’s a great honor.”
McDonnell is one of seven selected for the Hall of Fame’s Class of 2005 and is the only coach singled out for the prestigious honor. Others include modern track and field athletes Roger Kingdom, two-time Olympic gold medalist, and Mike Powell, a long jump world-record holder.
Veteran athletes include 1960 Olympic shot put bronze medalist Earlene Brown, two-time Olympic (1948, 1952) shot put bronze medalist Jim Fuchs, 1952 Olympian Wes Santee and standout hurdler Fred Wolcott.
"All of us at USA Track & Field look forward to these all-time greats taking their rightful places in the National Track & Field Hall of Fame," USATF CEO Craig Masback said. "All seven made indelible and unique contributions to the heritage of our sport, and they couldn’t be more deserving of this honor."
During his long and distinguished career, McDonnell’s Razorbacks have set a standard in collegiate sports that may never be equaled. To date, he has led his teams to win 41 NCAA championships, the most of any coach in any sport in collegiate athletic history. Additionally, they have produced five national triple crowns, in which they won indoor track, outdoor track and cross country in the same year.
Arkansas athletes have won 105 NCAA event championships under McDonnell’s guidance. He has produced 161 All-Americans that have combined to earn a staggering 614 All-America honors. On 29 occasions he has been named the NCAA coach of the year.
On a conference level Arkansas has claimed 77 league championships under McDonnell, including 32-straight conference cross country titles. The Hogs have 19 conference triple crowns since 1982 and 101 event championships.
The class of 2005 will be inducted Dec. 1, at the Jesse Owens Awards and Hall off Fame Induction Ceremony, held in conjunction with USATF’s 2005 Annual Meeting in Jacksonville, Fla.
To coincide with the 2004 opening of the new National Track & Field Hall of Fame at the Armory Track & Field Center in New York City, the Hall of Fame Steering Committee and Board of Directors modernized the screening, nomination and voting processes. There are now four categories in which individuals may be voted into the Hall of Fame. Those categories are: modern athletes, retired less than 25 years; veteran athletes, retired more than 25 years or more; coaches and contributors. Each category has its own selection committee that chooses the finalists from the list of nominations.
Members of the selection committees examine the nominations and evaluate their merit based on objective criteria. Elections for modern and veteran athletes are held each year. Beginning in 2005, elections for coaches are held in odd numbered years, with contributors elections in even numbered years. The National Track & Field Hall of Fame electorate is comprised of Hall of Fame inductees, members of the National Track & Field Hall of Fame Board and Committees and members of the media.
41 NCAA championships since 1984, including 11 cross country, 18 indoor track and 12 outdoor track.
More national championships (41) than any coach in any sport in the history of college athletics.
Five national triple crowns, including three in a row (1991-94).
19 conference triple crowns since 1982, including eight straight between 1987 and 1995.
26-consecutive conference titles in cross country, indoor track and outdoor track combined from 1987-1995.
68 conference championships in the last 73 events Arkansas has entered since 1981-82.
77 conference championships overall since 1974 including 38 in the SWC and 39 in the SEC (in 43 events).
12-consecutive NCAA indoor track championships (1984-1995), the longest string of national titles by any school in any sport in collegiate history.
Coached all but three of Arkansas’ 161 track All-Americans in school history. Those athletes have earned a combined 614 All-America honors.
Every school outdoor and indoor track record is held by a McDonnell recruit.
32-consecutive league cross country championships (1974-2004).
Has produced 51 individual national champions.
Has coached 23 Olympians spanning three decades and six different Olympic Games, including a gold, silver and bronze medallist.
Named National Coach of the Year 29 times
Named Conference Coach of the Year 41 times
Named District Coach of the Year 58 times