Aug. 13, 2007
USTFCCCA to honor Tom Jones with Hall of Fame induction
Whether it was winning a pair of NCAA titles while at UCLA or successfully coaching four major-college programs, Tom Jones lived and breathed track and field.
"Track was Tom's passion and purpose in life," said his wife, Sandy Jones.
That life will be celebrated on Dec. 18 in Phoenix when Jones is inducted into the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame dinner will be held in conjunction with the annual USTFCCCA convention.
Joining Jones in this year's Hall of Fame class are Lew Hartzog, Cyrus Jones, Beverly Kearney, John Mitchell, Irv Mondschein, Jim Sackett and Karl Schlademan.
Tom Jones passed away in March at age 63 following a lengthy battle with cancer. Over three decades, he served as the head track and field coach at North Carolina State (1978-84), UTEP (1984-88), Arizona State (1988-92) and Florida (1992-2007).
At North Carolina State, Jones guided the Wolfpack to back-to-back AIAW women's cross country championships in 1979-80. At his four head-coaching stops, his athletes earned 335 All-America honors and won 12 conference team championships.
He was named Southeastern Conference coach of the year seven times while at Florida. Jones was named national women's coach of the year three times - twice indoors (1997 and 2002) and once outdoors (1997).
The most successful of his athletes was Maicel Malone, the Arizona State standout who won a gold medal in the 4 x 400 relay at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta.
Jones was born in Van Nuys, Ca. He attended Madera High School and Reedley College before transferring to UCLA. At the 1966 NCAA Outdoor Championships in Bloomington, Ind., Jones won the 220-yard dash and ran a leg on the Bruins' first-place sprint relay as UCLA won the men's team title under Hall of Fame coach Jim Bush. When he was battling cancer, Jones was drawing up workouts up until the very end, his wife said. Sandy Jones said she's particularly happy that her late husband will be inducted into the Hall of Fame along with Mitchell. Jones served as an Alabama assistant under Mitchell before getting his first head-coaching position at North Carolina State.
"I'm grateful and appreciative of Tom being inducted and appreciated by his fellow coaches," Sandy Jones said. "Tom's greatest satisfaction came from helping athletes reach their full potential on and off the track. He possessed a tremendous strength of character."
In 2003, Florida was honored as the USTFCCCA All-Academic Team of the Year. In the first two NCAA Graduation Success Rate reports, the Florida women's track and field team had perfect scores in 2005 and 2006.
For more information on the inductees in this year's USTFCCCA Hall of Fame class, see www.ustfccca.org.