INDIANAPOLIS – Some of the greatest athletes of their generations, including track & field legends Joetta Clark Diggs, Andre Phillips, Randy Williams and Willie Steele, are joined by coach Dr. Ken Foreman as the 2009 inductees into the National Track & Field Hall of Fame. The Class of 2009 was announced Tuesday by USA Track & Field.
The Class of 2009 will be inducted Saturday evening, December 5, at the Jesse Owens Awards and Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, held in conjunction with USATF’s 2009 Annual Meeting in Indianapolis, Ind.
“All of us at USA Track & Field congratulate these five talented individuals on their election to the National Track & Field Hall of Fame,” said USATF Chairman and President Stephanie Hightower. “Their contributions have added tremendously to the legacy of USA Track & Field, and we all look forward to their induction ceremony next month in Indianapolis.”
A seven-time winner of the women’s 800 meters at the Millrose Games, Joetta Clark Diggs won numerous individual national championships and is a four-time Olympian.
Andre Phillips did his part in adding to the amazing legacy of U.S. men’s 400m hurdles greats by winning gold at the 1988 Olympic Games and ending his career with nine top ten world rankings.
During his career as one of the world’s elite athletes, Willie Steele won an Olympic gold medal and was ranked as the world’s finest men’s long jumper on four occasions.
Randy Williams was elected to the Hall of Fame in his first year for consideration in the Veteran Athlete category. Williams was a two-time Olympic medalist in the long jump and was ranked #1 in the world in 1972.
Noted especially for his contribution to women’s track and field, coach inductee Dr. Ken Foreman founded and coached the Falcon Track Club, served three stints as the head coach at Seattle Pacific University and was the head coach for a U.S. Olympic Team, World Outdoor Championships team and a U.S. World Cross Country Team.
About the National Track & Field Hall of Fame
There are four categories in which individuals may be voted into the Hall of Fame. Those categories are: Modern athletes, retired less than 25 years; Veteran athletes, retired more than 25 years; Coaches; and Contributors. Each category has its own selection committee that chooses the finalists from the list of nominations. Members of the selection
committees examine the nominations and evaluate their merit based on objective criteria. Elections for Modern and Veteran athletes are held each year.
Beginning in 2005, elections for Coaches are held in odd numbered years, with Contributors elections in even numbered years. Hall of Fame inductees, members of the National Track & Field Hall of Fame Board and Committees and members of the media comprise the electorate for the National Track & Field Hall of Fame.
Class of 2009 biographies
Biographies for the “Class of 2009″ for the National Track & Field Hall of Fame follow:
JOETTA CLARK DIGGS: During an amazing career that lasted nearly 25 years, Clark Diggs was recognized for being one of the greatest, and most consistent, women’s 800m runners in U.S. history. A four-time Olympian (’88, ’92, ’96, ’00), who competed in five Olympic Trials, Clark Diggs was a six-time U.S. Indoor champion (’88, ’89, ’90, ’96, ’97, ’98); five-time U.S. Outdoor champion (’88, ’89, ’92, ’93, ’94); a four-time NCAA champion; and a two-time bronze medalist at the World Indoor Championships (’93, ’97). She was the 1986 Olympic Festival champion, the gold medalist at the 1980 Pan American Games and the 1980 USA Junior Champion. She is also well known for her success at the Millrose Games at Madison Square Garden in New York, where she won seven times.
ANDRE PHILLIPS: In winning the gold medal in the men’s 400m hurdles at the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul, Andre Phillips picked the best possible time to notch his only career win over his idol and fellow National Track & Field Hall of Famer Edwin Moses. Phillips, who won the 1985 World Cup, the 1985 USA Outdoor title and was the 1981 NCAA 400m hurdles champion, was nine times ranked top ten in the world by Track & Field News, and ranked #1 globally in 1985, 1986 and 1988. He was world ranked #3 in the 110m hurdles in 1985.
WILLIE STEELE: Recognized as the world’s finest men’s long jumper of the late 1940s, Willie Steele was the favorite to win at the 1948 Olympic Games. Despite a sore ankle that allowed him only two attempts, both of Steele’s jumps were good enough to win the gold over the world’s best. A two-time USA Outdoor champion, Steele was the 1948 Olympic Trials champion, a two-time NCAA long jump champion, was considered the world’s best long jumper in 1942 and 1946, and was world ranked #1 by Track & Field News in 1947 and 1948. He died on September 19, 1989.
RANDY WILLIAMS: The Olympic Games men’s long jump gold medalist in 1972 and silver medalist in 1976, Randy Williams qualified for the 1980 Olympic Team, but did not compete because of the U.S. boycott. Williams won numerous national titles during his career including the USA Outdoor crown in 1973, he was USA Indoor champion in 1973, the NCAA Outdoor champion in 1972 and the NCAA Indoor champion in 1973. Williams was world ranked four times by Track & Field News, and was ranked #1 in the world following the 1972 season.
DR. KEN FOREMAN: The head coach at Seattle Pacific University from1950-1957, 1965-1978, 1985-1999, Foreman founded the Falcon Track Club in 1955 and served as the squad’s coach in 1977. Foreman also founded the SportsWest T.C., which he directed 1977-1998. Foreman’s Falcon TC squad captured the AAU cross country title in 1972, and he is well known for coaching National Track & Field Hall of Famer Doris Brown Heritage (5-time World Cross Country women’s champion 1967-1971). Olympians he coached included Kelly Blair-LaBounty, Lorna Griffin, Pam Spencer and Sherron Walker. Foreman-coached athletes won 14 AAU titles (outdoor, indoor, cross country) by two athletes and one AIAW title. Foreman was named the U.S. women’s head coach for the 1980 Olympic Games, and served as the Team USA head coach at the 1983 World Outdoor Championships. He was the U.S. World Cross Country Team coach in 1967, 1970 and 1973, served as the AAU Women’s LDR Chair from 1968-1974, and was the recipient of the AAU/USATF Joseph Robichaux Women’s T&F Award 1978.
For more information on the National Track & Field Hall of Fame, visit: www.usatf.org.