7 things you should know about Baylor track and fieldMarch 22, 2012
With the Summer Olympics coming later this year and Baylor's long history of success in track and field even at the highest levels, we thought we'd get you ready for London 2012 with a look at...
7 things you should know about Baylor track and field
By Jeff Brown
- The program has been a consistent winner for more than half a century. Since hiring the program's first full-time head coach in 1956, Baylor track and field has earned 36 NCAA titles, 597 all-America performances, five team and 175 individual conference titles. And during it all, just three men have led the program: Jack Patterson (1956-64), Clyde Hart (1964-2005) and Todd Harbour (2005-present).
- Track and field brought Baylor its first athletic national titles. Willie Caldwell won the 500 meters at the 1985 NCAA Men's Indoor National Championships to claim Baylor's first men's title in any sport, and Angelique Banket, Alayah Cooper, Yulanda Nelson and Jennifer Jordan teamed to win the 4x400-meter relay at the 1998 NCAA Women's Indoor National Championship for BU's first women's title.
- Today's squads continue that legacy of excellence. As head coach, Harbour oversees six varsity sports: men's and women's cross country, men's and women's indoor track and field and men's and women's outdoor track and field. In his six full seasons at the helm of both programs, Harbour's squads have finished in the top 20 nationally 16 times, including six top-10 seasons.
- Baylor track and the Olympics go hand in hand. Pupils of longtime Baylor head coach (now director of track and field) Clyde Hart won Olympic gold medals in the 400 meters at three straight Olympic Games: Michael Johnson in 1996 and 2000, then Jeremy Wariner in 2004. All told, seven Baylor Olympians have won a total of nine gold medals and one silver.
- Baylor's 4x400-meter relay is the stuff of legend. At the 2009 NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships, Baylor won the NCAA title for the fifth straight time, tying the NCAA record for consecutive titles in the event. The only other school ever to achieve that feat? Baylor, from 1990-92. All told, the Bears have 19 national championships in the event.
- Harbour was a legend on the Baylor track long before ever becoming a coach. His school records for the 1,500 meters and the mile run, set in 1980 and 1981, still stand; in fact, his 3:50.34 run as a senior remains the fastest mile ever run by a collegiate athlete. He was inducted into the Baylor Athletic Hall of Fame in 1992.
- The coaching staff keeps it all in the (Baylor) family. In addition to Harbour, BSED '81, and Hart, BBA '56, the program's assistant coaches are also all Baylor graduates: Danny Brabham, BSED '73; Michael Ford, BBA '97; Stacey Smith, BSED '00, MSED '02; and Jon Capron, BSED '03, MSED '05. Harbour, Hart and Brabham have also each had at least one child graduate from Baylor.