After 42 years as Baylor's head track and field coach, Clyde Hart retired his position June 14, 2005, to become director of track and field. Hart's nearly five decades of leadership has seen Baylor track and field reach monumental heights while earning a world-wide reputation as "Quarter-Miler U."
His pupils have won an Olympic gold medal in six straight Olympics (1996-2012) and at least two gold medals in five consecutive Olympic Games (2000-2012). In just the men's 400-meter event, Jeremy Wariner (2004) and Michael Johnson (1996, 2000) captured Olympic gold in three straight Games. All-told, Hart has coached nine Olympians who have won a total of 13 Olympic gold medals, one silver and three bronze with Johnson claiming five gold medals, Wariner and Sanya Richards-Ross three, and Darold Williamson and Reggie Witherspoon one each.
From the time he took over the program from his mentor, Jack Patterson, in 1963, through the 2013 season, Hart has coached 34 national champions (14 individual and 20 relay) and 545 All-America performances -- 419 men's All-America honorees (131 individual and 288 relay) and 126 women's All-Americans (45 individual and 81 relay).
His men's 4x400-meter relay teams have earned outdoor All-America status in 24 of the last 25 years and captured 20 NCAA titles combined in indoors and outdoors. His 2004 4x400-meter relay team set a then-NCAA indoor record with a 3:03.96 clocking and his 1997 unit set a then-World record at the Big 12 Outdoor Championships. All-told, Hart's teams have turned in 10 World-record performances (nine individual and one relay) and nine NCAA record efforts.
Last season, Hart's 4X400-meter men's relay team (Isaiah Duke, Everett Walker, Drew Seale, Richard Gary) won the Big 12 Indoor Championship title. At the NCAA indoor meet Blake Heriot, Justin Allen, Seale and Gary placed sixth. In outdoor competition, the team captured three meet titles and the squad of Heriot, Duke, Joe Barb and Seale took sixth at the NCAA Outdoor Championships.
In 2012, the 4X400-meter men's relay team directed by Hart registered an All-American finish at the NCAA Indoor Championships as Zwede Hewitt, Justin Allen, Seale and Heriot placed seventh. In outdoor competition, the team tallied a runner-up finish at the Big 12 Conference meet. The squad of Allen, James Gilreath, Seale and Zwede Hewitt finished ninth at the NCAA Outdoor Championship to miss out on the event's final for the first time since 1979.
Also during the 2012 season, Hart guided Olympian Richards-Ross at the London Games. Richards-Ross won the gold medal in the women's 400 meters, and anchored the USA to a gold medal in the 4x400-meter relay.
In 2011, Hart's 4x400-meter men's relay teams held their spot as one of the top relays, earning All-America honors both indoors and outdoors. The indoor version claimed the silver medal, while the outdoor team came in fourth at the NCAA Championships and added its 22nd Drake Relays title in the event. The Bears also earned runner-up finishes and Big 12 honors in the indoor and outdoor 4x400-meter relays. Individually, Marcus Boyd earned All-America honors in the indoor 400 meters with an 11th-place finish.
The 2010 season featured more All-American performances for Hart's 4x400-meter relay squads, including a runner-up finish at the NCAA Indoor Championships. The Bears captured 4x400-meter titles at the Texas A&M Invitational and the prestigious Drake Relays, before going on to earn a sixth-place finish at the NCAA Outdoor Championships, achieving All-America status. Individually, Boyd earned All-Big 12 honors and qualified for the NCAA Outdoor Championships in the 400 meters.
In 2009, the Baylor 4x400-meter men's team put together one of the most impressive streaks in collegiate track and field. The Bears took a streak of wins and national titles that began in 2007 to the finals of the 2009 NCAA Outdoor Championships. The 4x400 relay took the NCAA indoor crown, then continued a streak of 42 straight wins until a third-place finish at the outdoor championships.
During the 2008 season, the Bears captured two more national titles, winning the indoor and outdoor 4x400-meter relays for the second-straight year. The Bears' time of 3:00.22 at the NCAA Championships ranked as the second-fastest in Baylor history, and the fifth-fastest collegiate time ever. Baylor claimed the indoor and outdoor titles in the same season for the fifth time in school history and only the 11th time ever.
Also during the 2008 season, Hart coached Richards-Ross at the Beijing Olympics. She won the bronze medal in the women's 400 meters, and anchored the USA to a gold medal in the 4x400-meter relay, passing Russia in the final straightaway to take first place.
In 2007, Hart's charges won both the indoor and outdoor NCAA titles in the men's 4x400-meter relay, the fourth time in Baylor history and the 10th time in collegiate history that feat was accomplished. The Baylor men swept the top three spots in the 400 meters at the indoor and outdoor Big 12 Championships, while freshman LeJerald Betters became the 12th-fastest quarter-miler in Baylor history when he clocked 45.33 to win the Big 12 title.
Hart was named the 2006 Nike Coach of the Year, earning the award for the second time in his career, for his work with world quarter-mile champions Wariner and Richards-Ross. Both Wariner and Richards-Ross swept the 2006 IAAF Golden League meets and went undefeated during the outdoor season. Richards-Ross also set the American record in the event with a time of 48.70.
Also in 2006, both Baylor's men's and women's 4x400-meter relays swept both the indoor and outdoor Big 12 titles and each earned All-America honors outdoors. Individually, Angel Perkins was an All-American in the 400 meters, while Reggie Witherspoon was among the top 10 nationally in the event and swept the indoor and outdoor Big 12 titles and even added the indoor 200-meter title, a feat never before accomplished in conference history.
In his final season as head coach at Baylor, he guided Williamson to his first-ever individual national title in the final 400-meter race of his career at the NCAA Outdoor Championships. Williamson also captured an unprecedented fourth straight Big 12 400-meter title, anchored the Bears' to their eighth straight Big 12 4x400-meter relay crown both indoors and outdoors and anchored the squad to All-America performances at the NCAA Indoor and Outdoor Championships.
The 2004 campaign was a career year, even by the legendary coach's standards. Wariner, then a sophomore, captured the gold medal in the 400 meters, leading the United States to a 1-2-3 sweep at the Olympic Games in Athens. Wariner became the first quarter-miler in history to sweep the four major titles in the event, including the U.S. Championship and the NCAA Indoor and Outdoor crowns. Later, Wariner would hand the baton to junior teammate Williamson as the Baylor duo led the U.S. 4x400-meter relay to nearly a five-second victory for the gold medal. Wariner ran third and Williamson anchored all year as the duo led the Bears to the NCAA Indoor title with a collegiate record time of 3:03.96 and completed an undefeated season in the relay with the NCAA Outdoor championship. The 4x400-meter relay has a 20-year streak of All-America finishes and has produced 15 national titles (one women's) under Hart's leadership since 1985.
Hart was named the 2004 Nike Coach of the Year and was inducted to the Baylor Wall of Honor, the highest award bestowed upon Baylor letterwinners. Former pupil Michael Johnson was inducted into the United States Track & Field Hall of Fame and his 200-meter performance at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta was deemed the greatest track and field moment in the last 25 years by USATF. Wariner was honored as the Mondo National and Regional Outdoor Track Athlete of the Year, while Williamson was named Big 12 Outdoor Track Athlete of the Year.
The season was also memorable on the women's side as junior April Holliness won the NCAA Midwest Regional title in the long jump and became a four-time All-American by finishing third at the NCAA Outdoor Championships. Junior LaKadron Ivery earned All-America honors in the 200 meters, while senior Jordan Willmann was an All-American in the pentathlon.
In 2003, eight athletes earned All-America honors, including Holliness in the long jump and Willmann's outstanding performance in the heptathlon. Wariner was an All-American by finishing seventh in the 400, while the men's 4x400-meter relay squad of Brian McDonald, Williamson, Wariner and Jamen Saziru placed fifth.
In 2002, the quartet of Zsolt Szeglet, Charles Sterling, Michael Smith and Williamson combined for the national title in the 4x400-meter relay. Bayano Kamani and Smith combined for a 1-2 finish in the 400-meter hurdles, an NCAA championship first, while Floyd Thompson finished fifth in the 800 meters and Jim Autenreith tied for sixth in the pole vault. On the women's side, the 4x400-meter relay team of Tiffany Wise, Chava Demart, Keisa Brown and Barbara Petrahn ran to a fourth-place finish in the event. Petrahn and Demart also earned individual All-America honors, as Petrahn finished fifth in the 400 meters, and Demart placed fifth in the 400-meter hurdles. In 2001, Hart led the men's team to a third-place finish and the women's team to a 21st-place finish at the NCAA Outdoor Championships.
Those accomplishments are just a few in a long list by Hart, a coach widely regarded as one of the best in the country. Selected as USA Track & Field's 2004 and 2006 Nike Coach of the Year, Hart is a member of the Baylor Wall of Honor, the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame, the USA Track & Field Coaches Association Hall of Fame, the Texas Sports Hall of Fame and the Baylor Athletic Hall of Fame. He served as an assistant coach on the United States' 2000 Olympic team and was named the U.S. Olympic Committee's National Track & Field Coach of the Year in 1996, 2004 and 2006.
A two-time (1989 and 1996) NCAA national indoor coach of the year, four-time (1981, 1984, 1989 and 1996) Southwest Conference indoor coach of the year and one-time (2005 women's indoor) Big 12 coach of the year honoree, Hart is married to the former Maxine Barton, a professor emeritus of Information Systems at Baylor. Their family includes sons Greg and Scott, daughter-in-law Kim and grandchildren Ryan, Mason and Kennedy Ann.