FAYETTEVILLE — The University of Arkansas has long established itself within the tradition of NCAA cross country and track and field. That legacy includes the talents of Vernon Hune, the first African-American to compete for the Razorbacks’ track and field team. Specializing in the hurdle events, Hune doubled as a runner for the cross country team.
Hune was part of the Razorback cross country tradition during the 1970 and 1972 seasons and added to his resume as a three-year member of Arkansas’ track and field team. In a feat rarely, if ever, seen, Hune was able to translate his sprinter’s prowess on the track into a long-distance mentality needed to navigate the cross country courses.
On January 27, 1973, Hune and the Razorbacks competed at the first-ever indoor meet held by the University of Missouri and its home facility of the Hearnes Center Fieldhouse. On his way to victory in the 60-yard low hurdles, Hune clocked in at a time of 7.3 to establish the track record. He was part of a Razorback trio that posted facility records that day in Columbia.
In 1970 and 1972, Hune and the cross country team ran to third- and fourth-place finishes, respectively, at the conference championship meet. During his final season, the Razorback cross country team competed in just its fourth NCAA Championship and came away with a 26th-place result.
Hune’s athletic career at the University of Arkansas was guided by two prominent figures in the sport of track and field. He began his time in Fayetteville under the leadership of Ed Renfrow and later was a member of the first cross country team coached by John McDonnell.
In honor of Black History Month, Razorback Athletics is honoring “Trailblazer” stories celebrating the success and accomplishments of some of the first African-American student-athletes in University of Arkansas history.