Aug. 6, 2009
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Former University of Illinois women's track and field head coach Gary Winckler is one of six honorees to be inducted into the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Hall of Fame Class of 2009. Winckler earned this prestigious honor for his outstanding achievements and dedication to track and field throughout his 34 years of service as a coach, including 23 years at the helm of Illinois' program.
During Winckler's tenure at Illinois, his team's won 11 Big Ten Championships, and his Illini athletes won 266 individual Big Ten titles and 51 earned All-America recognition 188 times. He was named Big Ten Coach of the Year 11 times and NCAA Coach of the Year three times, cementing his legacy as one of the nation's premier developers of outstanding track and field student-athletes.
Prior to his arrival on the Illinois campus, Winckler coached at Florida State University, leading the Seminole women to the 1984 NCAA outdoor title and the 1985 NCAA indoor title. His 1984 team scored the second-most points (145) in NCAA history at the women's outdoor championships. He coached over 100 All-Americans while at Florida State.
Winckler also has coached 13 different athletes who have reached the Olympic Games in the sprints, hurdles or relays and have won gold, silver and bronze medals. Dating back to 1992, athletes coached by Winckler have appeared in every World Championships and Olympic Games. Included in that group are former Illinois greats Perdita Felicien, Celena Mondie-Milner, Aspen Burkett, Yvonne Harrison, Susanna Kallur and current Illinois head coach Tonja Buford-Bailey.
The remainder of the USTFCCCA Class of 2009 consists of Arthur Gulden (Bucknell University), Franklin Pitcher "Pitch" Johnson (Drake University/Stanford University), Oscar Moore, Jr. (Rowan University), Charles (Chuck) Rohe (Furman University/University of Tennessee) and Duane Vandenbusche (Western State College of Colorado).
"Our sports were fortunate that the six individuals to be enshrined into the USTFCCCA Hall of Fame Class of 2009 chose the profession of coaching cross country and track & field," said USTFCCCA CEO Sam Seemes in a press release. "On behalf of the USTFCCCA we congratulate each of these individuals on their selection and thank them for their years of leadership and service to the cross country and track & field community."
The 2009 Hall of Fame induction ceremony will be held December 16, 2009 at the USTFCCCA annual convention in Orlando, Florida.