Baylor Dedicates Clyde Hart Track and Field Stadium

  • Clyde Hart Track and Field Stadium. (Matthew Minard, Baylor Marketing and Communications)
  • Clyde Hart Track and Field Stadium. (Matthew Minard, Baylor Marketing and Communications)
  • The 13,500-square-foot Lewis A. and Mary Woodall Training Center, featuring an indoor practice facility, Clyde Hart Track and Field Stadium. (Matthew Minard, Baylor Marketing and Communications)
  • The 13,500-square-foot Lewis A. and Mary Woodall Training Center, featuring an indoor practice facility, Clyde Hart Track and Field Stadium. (Matthew Minard, Baylor Marketing and Communications)
  • Coaches offices, Clyde Hart Track and Field Stadium. (Matthew Minard, Baylor Marketing and Communications)
  • Current and former Baylor Track and Field student-athletes were among the special guests at the dedication of the Clyde Hart Track and Field Stadium. (Matthew Minard/Baylor Marketing and Communications)
  • Donors and special guests ran a ceremonial "first lap" around the signature green track at Clyde Hart Track and Field Stadium. (Matthew Minard/Baylor Marketing and Communications)
  • (L to R) - Richard Woodall, Coach Todd Harbour, Coach Clyde Hart and Baylor President Ken Starr led donors and special guests on a ceremonial "first lap" around the signature green track at Clyde Hart Track and Field Stadium. (Matthew Minard/Baylor Marketing and Communications)
  • Clyde Hart Track and Field Stadium. (Matthew Minard/Baylor Marketing and Communications)
Dec. 5, 2014

$18.1 million on-campus facility honors Baylor’s longest-tenured coach and one of track’s greatest coaches

WACO, Texas (Dec. 5, 2014) – Just months after opening McLane Stadium, the magnificent new on-campus home of Baylor football on the banks of the Brazos River, Baylor University today dedicated its newest “jewel on the Brazos” – the $18.1 million Clyde Hart Track and Field Stadium.

Under beautiful blue skies with the stadium scoreboard showing an un-December-like temperature of 75 degrees, hundreds of current and former student-athletes, coaches and support staff, donors, Baylor Regents and administrators and other special guests attended the dedication honoring Hart, Baylor's longest-tenured coach and one of track’s most successful coaches in the sport’s history. With the completion of the Hart Track and Field Stadium, every Baylor sport now has its home on campus.

“The addition of Clyde Hart Track and Field Stadium to the athletic complex now occupying both sides of the Brazos River is a key part of the physical transformation taking place across the campus of Baylor University as we pursue excellence in all areas of the University’s operations,” said Baylor President and Chancellor Ken Starr.

“It was the vision of those Baptist pastors and Judge Baylor to have a university capable of enlargement and development to meet the needs of all the ages to come,” President Starr said. “Coach Hart, in your honor, this is now meeting the needs of literally a generation to come. How fitting and proper it is that we have a dedication here on the track where records will be set that we honor Clyde Hart by saying thank you for your generosity and making this possible and saying to a great man, ‘Well done and keep up the great work.’”

The Clyde Hart Track and Field Stadium will accommodate 5,000 spectators and participants. It was designed by Kansas City-based Populous, which planned McLane Stadium, and built by Austin Commercial and Flintco, which also constructed the football stadium.

In addition to a state-of-the-art track and outstanding venues for field events, Clyde Hart Track and Field Stadium will offer a range of facilities and amenities including:

• The 13,500-square-foot Lewis A. and Mary Woodall Training Center, featuring an indoor practice facility;

• The Bob and Brenda Barkley Champions Plaza recognizing winners of Olympic and NCAA titles;

• A 6,000-square-foot team facility containing the Winston Wolfe Clubhouse; and

• A 10,300-square-foot team building containing hydrotherapy pools, a training room, offices and meeting rooms, and storage space.

“It’s a dream come true,” Hart said of the new facility. “It was very hard for me to visualize a football stadium much less a track stadium on this piece of property. It’s amazing the job and the work that went in to making this area not only a football stadium but a track and a park for the city of Waco. I look out of my window every day and try to figure out what else could have been done, and there’s not anything. It’s more than I ever dreamed possible.”

Honoring Coach Hart

On Feb. 14, 2014, Baylor’s Board of Regents approved naming the new facility in honor of Hart, a 1956 Baylor graduate who served 42 years as Baylor’s head track and field coach before retiring in 2005 to become director of track and field. His five decades of leadership elevated Baylor track and field to monumental heights while earning a worldwide reputation as "Quarter-Miler U" and international exposure on the Olympic stage. One of the nation’s most successful and prominent programs, Baylor's track and field teams have produced nine Olympic gold medals, 36 NCAA championships and more than 600 All-America performances.

“We are very blessed to have such remarkable facilities up and down the Brazos River for our student-athletes and coaches to use as they train and perform on a national level,” said Ian McCaw, vice president and director of athletics at Baylor. “Our track and field program has long been one of the hallmarks of excellence within Baylor Athletics—not only competing at the highest level within collegiate athletics, but with Coach Hart’s longtime leadership, the entire nation has had the opportunity to see Olympic champions carry the Baylor name. It is our privilege to honor Coach Hart for his longtime service to the University and to Baylor Athletics through the naming of the Clyde Hart Track & Field Stadium.”

Emceed by John Morris, longtime Voice of the Bears and assistant athletic director for broadcasting, the dedication ceremony included a Q&A between Morris and Hart, as well as remarks from McCaw; President Starr; Head Track Coach Todd Harbour; and Baylor Board of Regents Chair Richard Willis. Assistant Track and Field Coach Stacey Smith, B.S.Ed. ’00, M.S.Ed. ’02, the most-decorated women’s athlete in program history, concluded the ceremony with a prayer of dedication.

Coach Hart, Coach Harbour, Chairman Willis and Judge Starr then led donors and special guests to the starting blocks. Following the firing of the starter’s pistol by 12-time All-American and 1989 NCAA Outdoor 400 Meter Champion Raymond Pierre, B.B.A. ’89, they ran a ceremonial “first lap” around the signature green track. Guests then took self-guided tours of the new facility.

“It’s an overwhelming experience culminated with today,” Harbour said. “It’s an honor and a privilege to be where I am today as a head coach and following in Coach Hart’s footsteps. I can’t tell you the joy I have in my heart to see all of you here today. The last few days all I’ve been thinking about are all the people who have been a part of this and made this [stadium] happen. It truly is one of the greatest facilities in the country today. I can’t say thank you enough.”

Alumni support

Former track and field athletes and Baylor supporters rallied around the program’s return to campus. During the 1920s, Baylor track and field teams competed at Carroll Field on the Baylor campus before moving off campus to Waco Stadium (later called Municipal Stadium) around 1940. In 1960, Baylor opened Baylor Track Stadium, later known as the Hart-Patterson Track and Field Complex on Clay Avenue near Floyd Casey Stadium.

In April 2012, the University received a lead gift from Baylor track letterman Richard Woodall, B.B.A. ’80, MS.Eco. ’81, and his wife, Donna, in honor of his father and mother, Lewis and Mary Woodall. A native of Atlanta, Georgia, Woodall was a student-athlete at the University of Kansas before transferring to Baylor in the fall of 1978. He ranks sixth in the 5,000 meters on Baylor's all-time performance list, with a time of 14 minutes, 15.65 seconds. Now based in California, Woodall spent his career in the oil and gas industry.

Following the Woodalls’ lead, others made major gifts to Clyde Hart Track and Field Stadium that have enabled the realization of the facility’s fully desired scale and components. Overall, more than $8 million in private gifts were committed to the project, led by several key members of the Baylor family. Winston E. Wolfe (Class of ’64) of Memphis, Tennessee, whose philanthropy has supported the track program for decades, made a financial commitment that made possible the Winston Wolfe Clubhouse. The generosity of Bob (B.B.A. ’79, J.D. ’80) and Brenda Barkley of Dallas is recognized through the naming of the Bob and Brenda Barkley Champions Plaza. David (B.B.A. ’85, M.B.A. ’87) and Amy (B.S. ’85) Hodge of Champaign, Illinois, and their company, Gill Athletics, also generously answered the call as one of the earliest donors to the new facility.

“As we worked to raise the support to build this facility, there was one theme that resonated throughout the entire process—our track and field alumni stepped forward as the leaders in the project,” McCaw said. “I truly believe that this is a reminder that the benefits of a collegiate athletic experience last longer than a season. They believe in a Baylor education and the Baylor experience – the academic, athletic and spiritual experience – and they value leadership and sacrifice.

“Our hope is that today’s student-athletes will remember this,” McCaw said in his remarks at the dedication. “The gift they have been given is much larger than an opportunity to compete. They have been given the opportunity to learn among some of the best in the field – both inside the classroom and on the field, and soon they will be given the opportunity to take these lessons into their own professions where we hope they will grow and thrive like you.”

“For 170 years, people have really tried to build something special here at Baylor,” Willis said. “We want to have the best athletics in the United States, and if you look at all of our facilities, they are incredible for a university our size. We also focus on top-tier academics, but the key to our success is that we are built on faith in Jesus Christ. The foundation that we have at this university is that faith has been able to deliver us to all the great things we have.”

Baylor’s 2015 track and field season will begin in January. The Clyde Hart Track and Field Stadium will host a pair of outdoor collegiate meets – the Baylor Invitational on April 3, 2015, and the Michael Johnson Classic on April 18, 2015 – plus a high school championship meet in mid-May. The new track stadium also will serve as a training facility for the elite former athletes training for the Olympics and World Championships.

ABOUT BAYLOR UNIVERSITY

Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution, characterized as having “high research activity” by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The University provides a vibrant campus community for approximately 16,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions. Baylor sponsors 19 varsity athletic teams and is a founding member of the Big 12 Conference.

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