2005 HOF Interviews: Kingdom, Powell, McDonnell, Brown, Fuchs, Santee & Walcott

Hall of Fame Class of 2005 Interviews

Tom Surber
USATF Media Information Manager
USA Track & Field
317-261-0478 x317

INDIANAPOLIS - USA Track & Field on Thursday announced that Roger Kingdom, Mike Powell, John McDonnell, Earlene Brown, Jim Fuchs, Wes Santee and Fred Wolcott will be inducted in the National Track & Field Hall of Fame. Below are recent interviews with the inductees.


Roger Kingdom

Q: How did you feel when you received the call from Bill Roe and Craig Masback that you had been elected to the National Track & Field Hall of Fame?

A: It was very good news. As I told those two gentlemen, we work so hard to be good at what we do, and after it is all said and done and the accomplishments are laid out, to have your peers bestow an honor like this and feel as though your accomplishment merit this type of an award is an overwhelming feeling. I was definitely elated.

Q: How did you get started in track?

A: I basically started in track and field by running up and down competing against my parents. We had, in front of our house in Miami, Florida, a road from our house to a cousin’s house about 150 meters apart, and we’d actually race each other. It would be myself, my sister and my other four brothers competing against my parents. When it got to the point where we were good enough to beat them we started competing in school during field days and later on the track team, and the rest is history.

Q: You competed against some great American hurdlers, such as Greg Foster (National Track & Field Hall of Fame, 1998), Renaldo Nehemiah (National Track & Field Hall of Fame, 1997) and Allen Johnson among others. Did you push one another to greater heights?

A: Back in the day when we were actually competing, we were actually both friend and foe. You respected those guys enough to give them their space, but you were foes because you wanted to whip that dude, who is he? (laughter) We pushed each other to greater heights because every one of us was good. But in order to outdo the other one, we all had to work twice as hard. In pushing each other we took the hurdles to a different level. It was first Greg Foster and Renaldo Nehemiah, who did that, and then myself against Greg Foster, and then myself against Colin Jackson and Allen Johnson. In competing against each other in our quest to be the top hurdler we elevated our event and pushed ourselves to be as great as we are.

Q: It seemed that you guys never missed an opportunity to compete against one another, as opposed to some athletes in other events who would avoid competitions in order to protect their world and U.S. rankings. Was that the case?

A: You’re absolutely right. We loved to compete. You can call it ego or whatever you want to call it, but it was our quest to make sure that we did not dodge anyone. We did all that we could so that when the bell rung that whoever was on top was the best hurdler. You can not duck or dodge people and expect to be called the best hurdler. Every time the gun fired you know that you had a world class field in the hurdle event.

Q: Could you talk about winning your two Olympic gold medals and what it means to you?

A: The first gold medal (1984) was very exciting because too many people said I wouldn’t do it. There were a lot of skeptics, so for me to emerge victorious it was a dream come true. It gave me material to talk to young kids about, in as long as you believe in yourself it doesn’t matter how much of an underdog you are, if it’s meant to be it’s going to happen. The second gold medal (1988) I was the favorite and the pressure was on me. I had to make sure that I would execute and do everything I was trained to do to not falter and lose.

Q: At the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, you ran a blistering 12.98 to win the gold. How special was that?

A: It was extra special because I took control of the race, and in doing so I controlled my own destiny and did not get caught up in someone else’s rhythm. If you look back in history, it’s still the largest margin of victory (.30 hundredths of a second) in that race in over 50 years.

Q: What was it like for you to take the world record away from Renaldo Nehemiah by running 12.92 at the 1989 Weltklasse meet in Zurich?

A: The bottom line is that as a high schooler I grew up watching Renaldo run at track meets and dominate the hurdlers. Obviously, when you see someone good like that you try to emulate them. You try to, first of all, be like them and secondly, be better than them. From watching him, and knowing when I won the NCAAs that I would have the great fortune of meeting this guy who I was idolizing, it was a great feeling. To go on and break his record, wow! That was like a dream come true. The feelings that I felt afterwards, especially getting the praises from him afterwards, was definitely something that is hard to describe. The first thing he said to me was ‘congratulations, if anybody is deserving of it, you are.’ That was good coming from him.

Q: Could you describe your style as a hurdler?

A: One of the things I’ve always felt is that in order to be a hurdler you have to be aggressive. I watched a lot of the other hurdlers and they had a lot of finesse. Greg (Foster) and Nehemiah came close to being a combination of aggressive with a great deal of finesse and grace. When I got in there I didn’t have that grace that they had, but the one thing I did have was a very strong will and that made me very aggressive. My thing was, with a lack of flexibility, was if I can’t get over it, run through it. That contributed to my success, because as we worked on my flexibility over the years I was able to now clear the hurdles better, step down more aggressively off it, and then run to the tape. I think a lot of that came from my football background, and if you look at all the hurdlers out there now, you’ll notice that the majority of them are big powerful hurdlers and they’re trying to follow that lead. If anybody left a mark on the hurdles, or became a pioneer of that aggressiveness, then I think you can say that I did.

Q: After such a long and successful track career, what’s it like to be a college coach?

A: I’m going into my third season as the track and field coach at California University Pennsylvania, and my first season as the head coach, and I’m very excited about that because it gives me an opportunity to give back to my sport, the sport that I love so much. I sit here and nurture my athletes all the time. I think that it’s very important that they learn the process and the history of the sport before they grow and move on. If they actually learn the history of the sport they learn more about their events and they get excited about seeing the people. That excitement trickles down to better performances because now they want to put forth more effort. I do not coach or train with an ironclad fist. I am not a drill sergeant and this is not a boot camp, but I make it conducive for my athletes to learn. I joke around and have fun at practice to loosen my athletes up. Therefore, while they’re loose, we can maximize their efforts. If I’m too intense on the track my athletes get tight and make mistakes, and if they make errors it’s hard for them to rebound. So if we’re having fun and they’re loose, they enjoy being out there and when they’re done with their time here at Cal they love it. They always come back around the program because they had fun and ran their personal bests several times.

Mike Powell

Q: What was it like for you to hear that you had been elected to the Hall of Fame?

A: It felt great. I kind of knew what the requirements were for me to get in on paper. I heard that I should be notified by the end of September, and when October rolled around I began to get a little nervous, so they called me a couple days into October and I was really happy about it.

Q: How did you first get involved in track and field?

A: I left Philadelphia when I was about 11 years old and came to sunny, southern California, and just being a kid in southern California you play every sport. You play football during football season and basketball and track, swimming and tennis. Whatever it was, I was an active kid and track was one of the sports that I got better at as I got into high school - that and basketball.

Q: When did you first realize that long jumping would be your forte?

A: I came out of high school as a seven-foot high jumper, and I was recruited in college as a high jumper. My freshman year in college I jumped 24-7, which was pretty good for a freshman. The first jump of my sophomore year I went 26-5 and a half, and at that point I became a long jumper.

Q: Could you talk about your career at UCLA?

A: It was like a dream come true. I wanted to go to UCLA right out of high school, and I felt that way from the time I saw Willie Banks beat USC in the dual meet back in 1975 and they carried him on their shoulders. From then on I wanted to be a Bruin. When I came out of high school I didn’t get recruited by them and ended up transferring to UCLA for one season of competition and two years of school, and this is definitely where my greatest memories have come from.

Q: How tough was it for you during your career to constantly have to compete against fellow Hall of Famers Carl Lewis (2001), Larry Myricks (2001) and Mike Conley (2004)?

A: I was always the underdog, the skinny kid (laughter). I was always used to having to overcome big odds. I had to work my way up, fighting over some of the athletes I faced in college such as Leroy Burrell, who people forget jumped 27-5, and Eric Metcalf, who went to the NFL, so we got rid of him. I was able to get up to Mike Conley’s level and then get to the level when I could finally beat Larry Myricks, and then that day finally came along when I set the world record and beat Carl Lewis. It was a long uphill battle, but everything happens in the time it’s supposed to and it worked out well for me.

Q: We’d be remiss if we didn’t discuss the incredible battle you had with Carl Lewis at the 1991 World Championships in Tokyo when you won the gold medal and set the existing world record. What do you remember about it?

A: The energy in the stadium. It seemed that everybody came to see Carl Lewis break the world record since he had broken the record in the 100 meters, but anyone who followed the long jump had to know that I was getting close to beating him. In my mind I was going there to beat him and set the world record, so the stage was set.

Q: What was your focus like standing on the runway just before you broke the world record?

A: Before my last jump Carl Lewis had jumped 29-2 3/4, and it was the best jump ever under any conditions, and luckily it was windy. I figured then that I’d better get it going now and not wait until the last jump. For some reason, with Carl jumping that far and with the crowd energy being so high, I was able to have a real moment of clarity and I was able to visualize, which I do a lot of, but I was able to see everything I wanted to do running down the runway, very specifically each step, the feeling, the sounds, everything. It must be like the feeling when Michael Jordan is playing and the basket looks so big that he couldn’t miss. What I saw was the jump happening, and I saw everything from running down and jumping through the air and landing and hearing the crowd respond. I just went.

Q: When Carl Lewis took his final jump, it looked like you were in deep prayer. What were your thoughts at the time?

A: I was waiting to see Carl do what he always did, and win on his last jump. I thought he would break my record after my jump, but the wind fortunately turned around and he had some negative wind in his face, so I guess it was meant for me that day. Carl was meant for the gold medal at the Olympics and the world record was meant for me.

Q: How were you emotionally when the competition ended?

A: It’s something that lives with me every day. It’s a part of me, because when that moment happened for me it wasn’t just me setting the world record or beating Carl Lewis, or becoming a world champion. It was the realization that with all the disappointments I’ve had in my life, that it was okay. The face that I was a skinny little peanut-headed kid, it was okay. Or any dates I didn’t get with any girls, it was okay. Or any fights I might have lost, it was okay (laughter). It meant a lot to me.

Q: You’ve just accepted a position as a member of the coaching staff at UCLA. What’s that like for you?

A: It’s another dream come true for me. I’m back home at the place where everything got started for me. I’m coaching the men’s and women’s jumps and I’ve got my hands into everything. We’re recruiting on both sides, so I have a lot of responsibilities. I love being here, and I love passing on what I’ve learned, not only from my coaches here like John Smith, but also the athletes I was around when I competed here like Willie Banks (National Track & Field Hall of Fame, 1999) and being on the track at the same time with Jackie Joyner-Kersee (HOF, 2004) and Florence Griffith Joyner (HOF, 1995) and Greg Foster (HOF, 1998) and Gail Devers and Mike Marsh and Danny Everett and Kevin Young and Steve Lewis. I’ve been around a lot of great athletes and I feel really blessed to be where I am, so I’m just here trying to give back what I learned.


John McDonnell

Q: What was your reaction when you received word about being elected to the National Track & Field Hall of Fame?

A: I was thrilled. 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.

Q: How did you first get involved with track and field?

A: I got involved with track because I had a younger brother who ran track. I played soccer, and I just helped him out one time when he ran an 880-yard time trial and he asked me to help pace him. He gave me a 50-yard head start and I took off like a jack rabbit and he never caught me. He said that I could be a pretty good runner and that’s how I took up running.

Q: How did you begin your coaching career?

A: I went to school at the University of Southwestern Louisiana, which is the University of Louisiana at Lafayette now. I was older when I went to school there, and the head coach Bob Cole told me that I was a good distance runner and that the young guys could go with me. I made up the workout, which whatever it was I did, they did, and we all ran pretty good. That gave me the idea that I’d like to coach because I saw some of the guys improve a lot.

Q: When you got the job at the University of Arkansas did you have any idea that you would be as successful as you have been?

A: Oh no. In the early 80s we were pretty good. We finished second and third a lot, and I felt that I’d be one of those guys who would never win the big one. Then all of a sudden in 1984 we won the indoor championship first and in the fall we won cross country. After we kicked down the door it became a lot easier. When I look back on it, I realize that I put a lot of pressure on athletes when I shouldn’t have. So I learned to lay back a little bit and take them to the big dance and let them compete.

Q: What is it that sets your program apart from everyone else?

A: It’s hard to put your finger on it because I’m just doing what comes natural to me. Some people might differ, but I think I have a good relationship with my athletes. I’m tough on them, but away from the track I’m their best friend. When it comes to practice, they’re professionals and I’m a professional, and that’s the way we act. Away from the track they have to be special, they can’t be like everyone else. You have to live the part. It doesn’t matter how hard you work if you don’t live the proper lifestyle away from the track.

Q: Do athletes come into your program not wanting to be part of a group that might let you down by not being successful? Is that a motivating factor for them?

A: Since you mentioned that, this happened back in 1985 when I had a young man from Ireland named David Taylor. In cross country, as a senior, when he finished his race at the cross country championships he fell to his knees and put his head in his hands and I think he said a prayer. After that he raised up and put his hand in the air and said ‘I’ve never been on a team that lost a conference championship at the University of Arkansas.’ That’s a long time ago and we haven’t lost it since. That kind of tradition has been handed down, not so much by me, but from one bunch of athletes to another. This is what’s expected and we set our goals high.

Q: When you look back at all your success, what comes to mind first?

A: I would say the guys that got me started. I always look to Niles O’Shaughnessy, an Irish miler that I brought over here in 1973. Randy Melancon, a kid from Lafayette, Louisiana, and Mike Conley. Those are the trailblazers that set Arkansas apart. Not only are they great athletes, but they’re great people. Mike Conley, you couldn’t have met a better guy, and the same goes for the others. They started it all. It wasn’t easy to get guys to come to Arkansas back in those days. Those guys were so impressive that other kids who came in said ‘wow, those guys are pretty classy.’ With all the success that Mike Conley had, he never changed. Not even a little bit. He’s the same laid back, casual type of guy.

Q: With all the success you’ve had, what keeps you motivated?

A: When you’re a number one team you have a target on your back, and that keeps me going because you know that everybody is coming after you. The other thing is to have some people come out for the team who are doing excellent, who are walk-ons. I love to see those type of kids. An example is Daniel Lincoln, who was a walk-on. To go on and see him win four national championships, I get a tremendous thrill out of seeing those kids improve and see the smiles on their faces with the gratification that they get out of it. And, of course, every kid likes a national championship ring, and most of our guys who come here get one. Being around these kids you get caught up in it. You have to change with the times, but you can’t forget what got you there. Hard work done intelligently is the key.


Earlene Brown (died in 1983)

Jim Fuchs

Q: What are your thoughts about being elected to the National Track & Field Hall of Fame?

A: To say the least it’s a great thrill. To be recognized by the people you competed with and people who are interested in track and field to recognize me as one of the outstanding athletes is a very pleasing event for me. I’ve had ups and downs in my career, and this has to be one of the highlights. I’m very proud to have the longevity of doing something in sports, and it’s one of the things I’m most proud of. When I won 88 consecutive competitions, which went into the Guinness book, I guess it’s ranked fourth now in history, is one of the things you think about and remember. Carrying the flag at the Pan American Games was another great thrill to be elected by my teammates to do that. It’s a culmination of all the things that have gone on, to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.

Q: How did you get started in track and field?

A: Growing up in Chicago, it seemed that I could run fast, and I won the Chicago 100 and 220 for three years, and then I won the Illinois state 100 yard dash and I believe tied the state record. When I went to Yale, I injured my knee playing football and they decided to operate on it. I was lying in the hospital bed with my left knee in a cast and I was thinking about how I could stay in shape without using my left leg. I decided to put the shot until I could start sprinting again. It seemed that with the technique they were using at the time that I could do it. I tried to make it one motion, and I remember a physiology teacher saying that your legs are three times stronger than your arms, so instead of your knee bending up and down he suggested that I turn my foot back the opposite direction so I could drive up and out. So I went out to the track and the coach said ‘I know what you’re doing and it looks alright to me,’ and the next year I made the Olympic Team, and the year after I broke the world record. Then I started fooling around with the discus, which was fun, and I won the discus and the shot in the Pan American Games (1951).

Q: Between 1949 thru 1950, you won 88 consecutive shot put competitions and set the world record four times. What was that like?

A: I never cared what anybody else was doing because I had to compete against myself. Adrenaline used to come into my system, which made me twice as strong with the concentration and so forth. My father used to follow my activities and I never wanted to let him down and that also gave me an incentive in doing things.

Q: Between that span of time you won bronze medals at the 1948 and 1952 Olympics. Considering how dominant you had been during that period, did you consider that a great accomplishment or a disappointment?

A: In 1948 I went into the hospital because I had a strep throat, and I really wasn’t well. I felt I did my best. In Helsinki (1952) on the first day of practice I was warming up and a shot slipped out of my hand and a tendon was severed on a finger on my shot put hand. They had to put it in a cast and that was the end of my practicing. During that time I asked a Swedish reporter if he would take me over to where the Russians were practicing, and this was during the time of the Cold War. When I got there I was wearing my U.S. Olympic Team blazer and they thought it was wonderful that I was there. One of the Russian shot putters said that they used pictures of my technique as an example to their throwers. The next day there was a tremendous amount of publicity about my visit and Stalin (longtime leader of the Soviet Union Josef Stalin) told his people to send over who they could trust to our camp so that we didn’t overshadow them with the public relations. The day of the shot put competition I had them cut the cast off my hand and I took one throw and broke the Olympic record, but my teammates (Parry O’Brien-gold; Darrow Hooper-silver) so that’s when I got the bronze, which was disappointing.

Q: Could you talk about your career aside from track and field?

A: I was with NBC during my athletic career in their executive training program. I was there for 11 years before I went with Curtis Publications and the Saturday Evening Post, where I became a vice-president. After that I joined another media company in Mutual Broadcasting and was president of the sports division. In 1970 I started my own firm in the out-placement business and had that until 1994. In 1982 George Steinbrenner and I started the Silver Shield Foundation, which raises funds to educate the children and firemen who are killed in the line of duty in New York. We’ve expanded since then to include all the state troopers in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, and all the law enforcement people within a 75-mile radius of New York, which includes Long Island. The Port Authority is also a part of our recipient group. It was run on a very modest basis until 9/11 and since then it’s been almost a full time activity.

Wes Santee

Q: What does it mean to you to be elected to the Hall of Fame?

A: I was really thrilled. It is really the ultimate and I’m very appreciative.

Q: How did your career in track and field begin?

A: When I was in grade school, in order to get to school I had to run a lot of times because of bad weather and there weren’t school buses in those days. You had to get there on your own. I just ran to play. I didn’t have any brothers or sisters when I was young, so my brother was seven years younger and my sister was fourteen years younger, so they really weren’t much of a playmate. So I just ran and in gym class they told us to run to the grain elevator and back and it was a mile down and a mile back and I was able to do that faster than anybody else. So one day the coach told me that perhaps I could run as fast as Glenn Cunningham (National Track & Field Hall of Fame, 1974) sometime, and, of course, Glenn Cunningham was from Elkhart, Kans., and set the state (mile) record in the 1930s at 4:28.4. So that became a goal when I got into high school and started running the mile, and I got seventh in the state meet my freshman year, first my sophomore year, first my junior year and second my senior year. In the regionals my senior year I broke Cunningham’s record and ran 4:26 even. That’s how it all got started.

Q: How much did having Cunningham as an example where you grew up inspire you to attend the University of Kansas?

A: Once I understood and followed Cunningham’s career, he held every record in the state of Kansas, and when I got into college everywhere I went in the USA he held most every record. In the late 1930s he ran 4:04.4, and you talk about who is the greatest miler in the past, how can somebody run that fast on dirt horse tracks (laughter) and now you consider the great shoes and tracks we run on today, you have to look at Cunningham and think he was one of the all-time greats, without question.

Q: What is it like to be part of the trio of great University of Kansas milers along with Glenn Cunningham and Jim Ryun (National Track & Field Hall of Fame, 1980)?

A: I spoke with Glenn Cunningham a lot of times when I got into college. He would come to the track meets and I’d see him at lots of functions. When Jim Ryun came along, he was 15 years behind me and I was 20 years behind Cunningham. The three of us got together at the Kansas Relays a few years ago and ran a lap for the crowd and it was quite a sight. We have a picture in the state of Kansas Sports Hall of Fame of the three of us running on the track, and you’ll never see that again (laughter). It was incredible. We’ve had some great milers at Kansas, but I believe that Cunningham, myself and Ryun are by far the best of all of them, with all due respect to the others who have come along. For the three of us, all from western Kansas, to all go to the University of Kansas is pretty exciting.

Q: You qualified for the 1952 U.S. Olympic team in the 5,000 meters, but not in the 1,500 meters. What happened at the Trials in Los Angeles?

A: I ran the 5,000 meters at the NCAA Championships, where I really didn’t have that much competition at the college level, so I qualified for the Olympic Trials. From there it was on to the AAU Championships, where I ran the 1,500 meters and won that, which qualified me for the Trials in the 1,500 and 5,000. At the Trials, the 5,000 was on Friday with the 1,500 on Saturday. If you go back and look at the history of Kansas track back then, I would often run as many as three or four races during a weekend, particularly at the Texas, Kansas and Drake Relays. So to run two races on a weekend was routine for me. We decided that we’d run the 5,000 meters, and if I qualified I’d be on the Olympic Team, and then see if I could run the 1,500 meters and then drop out of the 5,000m if that was accomplished. There was nothing in the rule books that said we could not do that, so that’s what we proceeded to do. I finished second to Curtis Stone (5,000m), so for a 19-year-old farm boy from western Kansas, I’m on the Olympic Team and I was pretty excited. The next day I came out to run the 1,500 meters and much to my surprise, as I’m standing at the starting line, two great big guys come up and grab me by the arms and usher me off the track saying that the officials decided that I wasn’t good enough to run both of them and I couldn’t drop out of one and pulled me off the track. About that time the gun sounded and the 1,500 meters was underway, and of course Bobby McMillen won it. I like Bobby McMillen, but he never outran me in the 1,500 meters. So he goes on to the Olympics. With all due respect to the other runners, I was probably by far the most qualified to run two heats (1,500m) and the final. Bobby ran and finished second to Josy Barthel (LUX). I always ran faster than both of them and I should’ve been in that race. It’s one of those what-ifs in your life that you’ll never be able to resolve.

Q: What was your reaction when you were pulled off the track?

A: When two people grab a hold of you and pull you off the track saying that they’ve decided that you can’t run you’re so dumbfounded you don’t know what to say. About that time I saw my coach come running out of the chute at the Coliseum and I went to him and he said that all the officials got together and decided that they won’t allow you to run and drop out of the 5,000 meters. That’s kind of the story of my life with the NCAA, the Olympic Committee and the AAU. I had more battles with them than I care to recite. We’re in the process of writing a book about my life and we’ll tell that story.

Q: What was your experience like running the 5,000 meters at the 1952 Olympics?

A: I was stuck running the 5,000 meters, and the coaching is so much better now than it was then. I can recall asking who I should watch in my heat, and there wasn’t any U.S. officials there for me to ask. Finally, somebody told me Herb Schade (GER) was a pretty good runner and would probably run a steady race and I should follow him. What I didn’t know, and what nobody else seemed to know that should have known, was that Herb Schade and (Alain) Mimoun of France and (Emil) Zatopek of Czechoslovakia were in each of the three heats in the 5,000 meters. We started out and I followed Schade the first 3,000 meters and he ran 8:23 and I ran 8:25, and the best I had ever run 3,000 meters was 8:44 (laughter). So obviously I was running way over my head and it wasn’t long before I ran completely out of gas and didn’t qualify.

Q: On June 4, 1956 you set the 1,500m world record (3:42.8) as an intermediate time when you were running a mile race at the Compton Invitational. What do you recall about that day?

A: We had quite a race. I took off with about 600 yards to go and sprinted the rest of the way in. People said that it was the fastest second half of a mile that had ever been run. They had officials and tape set up at the (1,500m) finish and I went through that flying away. I ran 4:00.7 that night for the mile and just missed it by a hair (breaking the four-minute barrier). The Compton Invitational had a great crowd and it was just a great night to have a sold out stadium and people cheering for you. It was a great experience.

Q: Along with Roger Bannister, you were one of a handful of athletes who had a shot at being the first man ever to break the four-minute barrier in the mile. What was that era like for you?

A: It was a fabulous time for track and field. Everywhere I went, particularly in the U.S., the crowd was cheering for you. I tell my grandkids, who look at the current stars in sports in the papers every week, that I used to be in the paper every week, coast to coast in all the major papers. Of course, I didn’t have to compete with as many basketball, baseball and football teams as there are now. We were on the movie newsreels every weekend and it was quite spectacular.

A: What did you do after your running career came to an end?

Q: I still ran while I was in the Marine Corps, and following that I went back to Kansas and got in the insurance business and stayed in the Marine Corps reserve and worked my way up, which was not easy to do. I retired as a full-bird colonel and was the national president of the Marine Officers Association. I had quite a career in the military, although it was from the reserves side. I ran an independent insurance agency in Lawrence, Kansas, with 10 underwriters working for me and had quite a nice insurance business for many years. I finally sold that and retired back in the early 1990s. Then I did something a little unique. One of my friends owned one of the cemeteries in Lawrence, Kansas, and he called me up and wanted to know if I’d come to work for him, and I said I don’t know why (laughter). What he wanted me to do was to work for him at Lawrence Memorial Park Cemetery, where Dr. James Naismith, the inventor of basketball, is buried. He wanted me to come up with the idea and concept of a monument for Dr. Naismith, which we did. From there I got into the cemetery business, where I work part-time with one of the cemeteries in Wichita, Kansas

Fred Wolcott (died in 1972)

For more information on the National Track & Field Hall of Fame, visit www.usatf.org.