Aug. 14, 2008
NEW ORLEANS – Former Irish head track and field coach and standout student-athlete Alex Wilson will be inducted into the USTFCCCA Hall of Fame this December, along with seven other members of the 2008 class.
“I was very fortunate to know him,” current Irish track and field head coach Joe Piane said. “I’ve never heard anyone say a disparaging word about him. He was the consummate gentleman and coach.”
A middle-distance track star at Notre Dame, Alex Wilson is a perfect example of an outstanding athlete and legendary coach. While at Notre Dame, Wilson was undefeated in the quarter- and half-mile events and set a national indoor record of 49.3 for the 440 in 1932. He set records in both the 440 and 880 races. Wilson also won the Amateur Athletic Union 600 and twice captured the Milrose 600.
In 1928 and 1932, he competed in the Olympics for his native Canada and won a silver in the 800-meter race and a bronze in the 400-meter run in 1932.
In 1950, after 18 years as a successful track and swimming coach at Loyola (Ill.), he returned to coach at Notre Dame. During his 23 years with the Irish, his teams finished in the national top 10 11 times. Wilson guided three track national champions, 28 track and eight cross country All-Americans and led the Irish to the cross country national championship in 1957. His teams appeared in the meet a total of 18 times.
He was voted into the Canadian Track Hall of Fame in 1954 and in 1967 he was elected to the Helms Athletic Foundation Hall of Fame for his contributions as a track coach in the United States.
Wilson was also honored as national coach of the year by the NCAA Cross Country Coaches Association in 1972 and an indoor track and field meet is held in his honor each year at Notre Dame.
Wilson died on Dec. 10, 1994, at the age of 87.
Joining Wilson in this year’s class are Charlie Craig, Kim Duyst, Mark Guthrie, Dean Hayes, Dave Murray, Gary Pepin, and Peter Tegen. The 2008 Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony is scheduled for December 17th, 2008 at the J.W. Marriott Desert Ridge Resort and Spa in Phoenix, Arizona – site of the 2008 USTFCCCA Convention.