Arkansas track coach to retire after 36 years - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Arkansas track coach to retire after 36 years

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) - Arkansas track and field coach John McDonnell, who has led the Razorbacks to 42 national titles and 83 conference crowns, will retire at the end of the outdoor season, the school announced Monday.

The 69-year-old McDonnell has won more national championships than any other collegiate coach in any sport.

"It is hard to imagine that any coach in intercollegiate athletics has had more influence on a program than John McDonnell has had on the men's track and field program at the University of Arkansas," athletic director Jeff Long said. "It is impossible to quantify Coach McDonnell's contributions as a coach, educator and mentor. The recognition and pride he has brought to the University of Arkansas and Razorbacks across the nation and around the world is truly legendary."

His most recent national championship was in 2006 in indoor track; his team won the SEC indoor title in 2007 for his last league championship.

McDonnell's 12 consecutive NCAA indoor track championships, from 1984 to 1995, made up the longest streak of national college titles in any sport.

The Razorbacks' track and field program received sanctions from the NCAA last year, though the university has appealed the judgment.

The Razorbacks lost two national titles and received three years' probation for violations involving sprint star Tyson Gay and a former assistant coach. The NCAA handed down its decision in October.

Former assistant Lance Brauman was convicted in 2006 of embezzlement, theft and mail fraud for acts while he was at Barton County Community College in Kansas. Brauman was an assistant coach at Arkansas when he was convicted, and he then resigned.

Under McDonnell, the university developed first-rate track facilities. First to open was the $6.5 million Randal Tyson Track Center, an indoor facility that has been host to NCAA and SEC championships.

In 2006, the program opened John McDonnell Field, a $9 million expansion and renovation of the school's outdoor facility, which has hosted an SEC championship and was designed so it could host the NCAA championship.


(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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