ABILENE, Texas –
Former ACU head track and field coach Don W. Hood was recently inducted into the Texas Track and Field Coaches’ Association Hall of Fame.
Hood was inducted – along with five other Texas track and field legends – during ceremonies Jan. 4 at the Crowne Plaza-Addison. Joining Hood in the 2013 induction class was former Lampasas and University of Texas great Johnny “Lam” Jones, former Dallas Roosevelt High School and SMU sprinter Roy Martin, long-time announcer John Pritchett, University of Texas and Olympic star Eddie Southern, and the most decorated female track and field athlete in Texas high school history, Ychilindria Spears of Luling.
In 11 seasons as the men’s head track and field coach at ACU, Hood’s teams won eight NCAA Division II titles and one NAIA championship. Not only did he produce great teams, including the 1984 squad that compiled 246 points at the NCAA Division II Outdoor Track & Field Championships, but he also produced outstanding vaulters – his calling card. Among his stable were Billy Olson, Brad Pursley and Tim Bright.
Hood’s 1984 squad captured first in the 200, 400, 800, 1500, pole vault, triple jump, and both relays – of which the relays set meet records (39.20 / 3:03.28) on its way to outpacing the runner-up by 117 points.
A member of the Pole Vault Summit Hall of Fame and USTFCCCA Hall of Fame, Hood’s athletic career commenced on a football scholarship to Abilene Christian. A graduate of Tulare Union High School in California, Hood coached track & field at four Texas high schools before landing an assistant’s job at Wichita State in 1968. He became Howard Payne University’s head coach in 1972 and embarked on his legendary career at ACU in 1976.
Jones ran anchor for Lampasas in the 1976 UIL AAA State Championships. Procuring the baton anywhere from 30 – 60 meters behind, Jones found 5th and 6th gear to pass the entire field, clinching gold in both the 4×4 and the overall team title. Soon after – at age 18 – he’d be a 1976 Olympic Gold Medal winner as 2nd leg of the U.S. 4×1.
Considered among the greatest high school sprinters in United States history, Martin blazed the 200 meters in 20.13, a record still standing after 28 years. He set Memorial Stadium track on fire and electrified over 30,000 spectators at the UIL state meet a year after finishing fourth in the 200 at the 1984 U.S. Olympic Trials, earning an alternate’s spot on the Olympic team.
A native Texan, Pritchett has been announcing high school and collegiate sports since 1964. He currently holds the post of Director of XC / TF Meets for Northwood University, and he also serves in the same capacity for Texas Wesleyan University.
“At the state track meet in May 1955, the sensational senior rewrote the record book. Eddie was clocked at 20.7 seconds in the 220-yard dash, best ever by a high-school student in Texas or any other state. Then he turned right around and broke the state and national records in the 440-yard event with a time of 47.2 seconds.”
Spears is the most decorated track & field athlete in Texas history, amassing 14 gold and 2 silver state medals and a team state championship where she earned 42 of Luling High School’s 48 points. Spears, who transformed the UIL state meet into a showcase for her jumping prowess, owns the national triple jump record (44-02.25) and Texas long jump mark (21-03.25).
Information provided by ACU athletics department.