ACU all-time great and United States Olympic gold medalist Earl Young is one of six Texas track and field legends who have been selected for induction into the Texas Track and Field Hall of Fame in January.
Aside from Young, the class includes five-time Olympian high jumper Amy Acuff (Corpus Christi Cal Allen High School and UCLA), pole vaulter Dave Clark (North Texas State), Sue Humphrey (assistant track coach at Texas, as well as Arizona State and Cal State-Long Beach), sprinter Dean Smith (Texas), and former Texas track and field coach Bubba Thornton.
The class will be inducted on Friday, Jan. 9, 2015, at the Crowne Plaza-Addison as part of the Texas Track and Field Coaches' Clinic of Texas festivities. The Texas Track and Field Hall of Fame is sponsored by the Texas Track and Field Coaches' Association.
In 1960, Earl Young became the youngest track athlete to ever win a medal at the Olympic Games. He was 19 when he took the baton as 2nd leg from teammate Jack Yerman as part of the gold-medal 4x400 relay team in Rome. The squad’s time of 3:02.2 set an Olympic and world record.
Young was recruited to ACU out of his home state of California by head coach Oliver Jackson. Jackson’s brilliant plan was to fly to California and bring a secret weapon to help close the deal: ACU legend and Olympian Bobby Morrow. At Abilene Christian, Young sprouted to 6 feet, 4 inches tall and possessed a full-gallop stride of 8 feet. Legend has it that Young was so well conditioned that head coach Oliver Jackson once took Young’s pulse while sleeping and found his resting heart rate to be 31 beats per minute.
In the 1960 Olympics, Young also competed in the open 400, finishing 6th with a time of 45.9, tying the previous Olympic record. Young appeared on the June 19, 1961 cover of Sports Illustrated, won a silver medal in the 400 at the Pan American Games in Sao Paulo and was a member of American national teams that traveled to Moscow, Poland and Britain. Twice named Mr. ACU (1961 and 1962), Young was inducted into ACU’s Sports Hall of Fame in 1989.
With Young's induction into the hall, the Wildcats will now have four greats in the Texas Track and Field Hall of Fame: James Segrest (2010), Billy Olson (2011), Don W. Hood (2012) and Young.
* Information for this story provided by ACU Athletics *