Tuesday November 4, 2008Former Gator Coach Jimmy Carnes To Be Inducted in USATF Hall of Fame
Jimmy Carnes, a legendary University of Florida head men’s track and field coach (1965-76), will be inducted into the National Track & Field Hall of Fame’s Class of 2008, USA Track and Field announced Tuesday from its offices in Indianapolis.
The five-member Class of 2008 will be inducted Saturday, Dec. 6 at the Jesse Owens Awards and Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, held in conjunction with USATF’s 2008 Annual Meetings in Reno, Nev.
“Jimmy Carnes is one of the first names you identify with Florida track and field,” Florida Director of Athletics Jeremy Foley said. “His contributions to the sport on a national and international level make him very deserving of this honor. He has not only been a great advocate of track and field, but has also been an outstanding citizen of the Gainesville community in a number of different areas.”
Scheduled to be inducted into the Hall of Fame as a contributor, Carnes was elected as the National Chairman of AAU Men's Track and Field in 1977 and served as the first president of The Athletics Congress/USA from 1980-84, as USATF was known when it began operations. He worked closely to help move the sport from amateur to open rules. Carnes presided over the organization’s annual convention in 1980, when the organization finalized its bylaws and created TACTRUST, which was the first step towards open track competition.
Carnes was the founder of the Florida Track Club and has served as the Executive Director of the United States Track Coaches Association and as a member of the Board of Trustees of the United States Sports Academy. He is a member of the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association Hall of Fame, and the Sports Halls of Fame of both Florida and Georgia.
Carnes served as an assistant coach for the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Team at the Montreal Games in 1976. He was selected head coach for U.S. Men's Olympic Track and Field for the Moscow Games in 1980, which President Jimmy Carter decided the U.S. teams would boycott in protest of the Soviet Union's invasion of Afghanistan. He later became the co-founder of Athletic Attic, a chain of retail sporting goods stores.
During Carnes’ 12-year tenure as Florida’s head track and field coach, he directed the Gators to 15 top-three finishes at the Southeastern Conference Indoor and Outdoor Championships combined, including SEC indoor championships in each of his final two seasons as the program’s head coach. Carnes’ Florida teams went 93-3 overall in dual meets during his career.
Carnes mentored 65 Southeastern Conference individual champions (indoor and outdoor) and 24 All-America selections during his tenure as Florida’s head coach. He also mentored Ron Jourdan (High Jump, 1969), Earmonn O’Keefe (1,000 yd, 1972), Beaufort Brown (600 yd, 1973) and the men’s mile relay (1975) to indoor national championships during his coaching career with the Gators.
Carnes began his collegiate track and field career as a middle-distance runner at Mercer in the 1950s, graduating in 1956. His first coaching job came at Druid Hills High School (Atlanta), where he served as the program’s head coach from 1956-62. During that time, his teams went undefeated in dual meets and captured six state titles. He was a six-time Georgia Coach of the Year selection.
Carnes spent two seasons as the head track and field coach at Furman University, where his teams claimed both the Southern Conference Indoor and Outdoor titles during his first season.
Carnes has served a member of the Advisory Council and the Distinguished Alumni committee of the University of Florida’s College of Health and Human Performance. He also has served stints as the executive director of the Sunshine State Games Foundation and the now-defunct Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports.
Carnes, 68, is a native of Eaton, Ga.
Joining Carnes in the Class of 2008 are Don Bowden, the first American ever to break the four-minute barrier in the mile; Bill Carr, a two-time Olympic Gold Medalist in 1932; Johnny Gray, a four-time Olympian in the 800-meter run; and Bernie Wefers, a three-time USA 100-yard and 200-yard champion.
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