Hall of Fame coach will be recognized at 2017 USATF Outdoor Championships.
Sophomore Bear makes final of 400 meters with time of 45.19.
Bears capture 10 event titles Saturday in final home meet of 2017 season.
Bears set one school record, notch five top-five NCAA marks Saturday in Waco.
Bears have 75 athletes competing at Clyde Hart Track & Field Stadium Saturday.
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 guided Baylor track and field to monumental heights, while earning a world-wide reputation as “Quarter-Miler U.”
His pupils 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 2016 season, Hart has coached 34 national champions (14 individual and 20 relay) and 556 All-America performances -- 429 men’s All-America honorees (133 individual and 296 relay) and 127 women’s All-Americans (45 individual and 82 relay).
His men’s 4x400-meter relay teams have earned outdoor All-America status in 25 of the last 28 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 mark 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 was a part of the program’s first Big 12 indoor women’s track and field championship as the team scored 129.5 points for the conference crown. The women’s 4x400-meter relay team of Taylor Bennett, Kiana Hawn, Kiana Horton and Leticia De Souza secured the Big 12 indoor title and went on to run a school-record time of 3:30.60 at the NCAA Indoor Championships to earn All-America honors. During the outdoor season, sophomore Wil London earned his second consecutive Big 12 400-meter title to give Hart his 13th title in the event. The men’s 4x400-meter quartet of Maxwell Willis, London, Chris Platt and George Caddick won the Big 12 title after running a time of 3:04.60 at the conference meet. The team went on to qualify for the NCAA Outdoor Championships along with London in the 400 meters. London finished eighth in the 400 meters to earn his first outdoor All-America honor.
In the summer, Hart worked with London and saw the local product run a world-leading leadoff leg time of 44.08 in the 4x400-meter relay at the 2017 World Championships in London. His efforts led Team USA to a silver medal in the event. London also ran the leadoff leg in the semifinals, when USA posted a world-leading time of 2:59.23 that edged Trinidad & Tobago by just 12 hundredths of a second (2:59.35).
In 2016, Hart mentored freshman Wil London to a breakout season. The Waco, Texas, product, was named Big 12 Freshman of the Year after he ran a season-best time of 46.24 to place fourth in the 400-meters at the indoor conference meet, which earned him a spot in the NCAA field. London also ran the opening leg for Hart’s 4x400-meter relay. At the Big 12 meet, the foursome of London, Richard Gary, Caleb Dickson and George Caddick produced the second-best time in school history, 3:04.16, to win the Big 12 event title. London went on to earn indoor All-America honors in the 400-meters by finishing eighth, while the relay crew was third at the national meet. Hart’s women’s 4x400-meter crew of Taylor, Bennett, Kiana Hawn, Kiana Horton and Olicia Williams also won a Big 12 indoor title, but were disqualified for not crossing the finish line with the baton at the NCAA meet. Outdoors, London again starred as he captured the Big 12 400-meter crown to give Hart his 12th title in the event. Junior George Caddick earned All-Big 12 honors in the 400-meters both indoors and outdoors, but both Caddick and London did not advance to the finals in the event outdoors. The men’s 4x400-meter relay placed second, while the women were fifth at the Big 12 meet, but both earned a trip the NCAA Outdoor Championships. The men’s crew of Dickson, London, Brandon Moore and Caddick failed to advance to the finals by just .01 seconds. Outside the collegiate season, London captured the 400-meter event title at the USATF Junior Outdoor Championships and silver in the event at the IAAF World U20 Championships, while helping the USA squad win gold in the 4x400-meter relay as the anchor.
In 2015, Hart’s 4x400-meter men’s relay team won both the indoor (Richard Gary, Moore, Kevin Harris, Caddick) and outdoor (Gary, Harris, Moore, Caddick) Big 12 titles. He coached Caddick to the individual 400-meter conference outdoor title in a personal-best time of (45.90) and helped the sophomore reach the NCAA Outdoor Championships in the event. On the women’s side, Hart guided Raena Rhone to NCAA Indoor and Outdoor Championship appearances in the 400-meters. Hart’s men’s 4x400-meter crew went on to advance to the NCAA Outdoor meet, but after Harris suffered an injury at the regional meet the lineup of Gary, Chris Platt, Moore and Caddick placed 13th in prelims to miss qualifying for the event’s finals for only the second time since 1979.
In 2014, Hart’s 4x400-meter relay men’s squad again produced an All-American performance as Blake Heriot, TJ Holmes, Drew Seale and Caddick turned a season-best time of 3:04.89 to finish seventh at the NCAA Outdoor meet. Earlier in the year at the Big 12 Outdoor meet, Hart’s crew (Holmes, Seale, Caddick and Heriot) was first for the 13th time in Big 12 history and the first time since 2009. Hart also mentored Holmes, a freshman, to All-America honors in the 400-meter hurdles with a fourth place showing at the NCAA outdoor meet.
In 2013, 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 placed sixth at the NCAA Outdoor Championships to conclude another year for Hart with double All-American relays.
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 gold 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 and 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-meter relay won the NCAA indoor crown, and 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 was the second-fastest in BU 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 overall.
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 claim 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 the 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 the indoor and outdoor Big 12 titles and 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, 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, Ga. 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-meters, 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 and 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 USA’ 2000 Olympic team and was named the USOC National Track and Field Coach of the Year in 1996, 2004 and 2006.
Hart is 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.
He 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.