FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) has announced that the organization will create an award in the name of John McDonnell, to honor the "all-around" success that the former Arkansas coach has achieved.
The announcement came from USTFCCCA CEO Sam Seemes at the John McDonnell Tribute Dinner that was held Thursday, Sept. 18 at the Randal Tyson Track Center.
The John McDonnell Program of the Year Award will be awarded annually to the best all-around NCAA Division I men’s cross country/trackand field program. The award will honor the institution that has achieved the highest level of success in cross country, indoor trackand field, and outdoor trackand field in each year, based on the institution’s finish at the NCAA Division I Championships.
Scoring will be based on the team’s finish at each NCAA Division I Championship in cross country, indoor track and field and outdoor track and field (i.e. 1st = one point, 2nd = two points, 31st = 31 points) with the lowest total score for all three championships combined determining the award recipient.
The inaugural John McDonnell Program of the Year Award will be awarded at the conclusion of the 2009 outdoor track and field season.
Both a legend in sport and a legend in life, McDonnell has been a part of the Razorback Athletics family for nearly four decades, during which time he single-handedly built one of the best cross country and track and field programs in the country.
McDonnell’s teams won a combined 42 National Championships (11 cross country, 19 indoor and 12 outdoor). His teams posted top ten finishes in cross country, indoor and outdoor track and field in 24 of his 36 seasons in Fayetteville.
McDonnell’s teams won 34 consecutive cross country conference titles (17 in the Southwest Conference and 17 in the Southeastern Conference) and won 12 straight indoor track and field national championships from 1984-1995.
He has 84 career conference championship titles under his belt and he coached 331 individual conference champions. Overall he has coached 187 All-Americans that have earned 656 All-American honors, and 23 Olympians spanning three decades and six Olympic Games.
A member of countless halls of fame including the USTFCCCA Hall of Fame, McDonnell’s stamp on the cross country and track and field coaching profession will be felt for many years to come, even more so now with the inception of the John McDonnell Program of the Year Award.