Sooner Track & Field History

Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma
JUNE 08, 1999
John Jacobs, the first track & field coach at the University of Oklahoma, began the Sooners tradition of excellence as his team won the first indoor conference meet held. From the beginning, OU has not only had great teams but also great individuals and some of the finest coaches in the nation. With the addition of womens track in 1974, the strength of the program increased yearly.

J.D. Martin began his career in athletics at OU in 1958, competing in the pole vault. In 1960, Martin won the NCAA pole vault title and later set the world record when he cleared 159 3/4".

Martins accomplishments as the Sooners head coach are just as impressive. As he enters his 33rd year at the helm, Martin continues to produce athletes that have been competitive not only in the conference, but at the national level as well. Martin has coached 171 All-Americans, both men and women. OU had only five other All-Americans before Martin took over, and two of those were won by Martin himself.

Kay Gooch, arguably the greatest runner in school history, finished her career at OU in 1994. She was an eight-time All-American in both track & field and cross country as well as holding numerous school and national records. Her time of 8:58.85 in the 3,000-meter run finished the 1994 indoor season as the fastest time in the world. She is the only Sooner woman to ever win two NCAA titles; the 1993 outdoor 5,000 and the 1994 indoor 3,000.

Nationally, the Sooners mile relay teams are always seen as a threat. OU has won the NCAA indoor mile relay championship five times (1967, 1982, 1983, 1984 and 1996). The 96 team made up of Roxbert Martin, Ryan Kite, Justin Chapman and Danny McFarlane set an NCAA record at the NCAA national indoor meet in Indianapolis. Their time of 3:04.46 is the fourth fastest indoor time in the history of the world.

OU has also had athletes competing at the international level. Tom Churchill was the Sooners first Olympian as he finished fifth in the decathlon in 1928 at Amsterdam. Glenn Dawson and Neville Price are the only two Sooners to ever place in the Olympics twice. Dawson finished sixth in the steeplechase in 1932 and eighth in the same event in 1936. Price finished 11th in the broad jump in 1952, but improved to seventh in 1956. More recently, Sooners Jason Rouser and Roxbert Martin competed at the centennial games in Atlanta. Martin ran in the 400 meter dash and Rouser was a member of the gold medal-winning 4x400-meter relay team.



Sooner Sports Properties, LLC, is the multimedia rights holder for athletics at the University of Oklahoma.
Sooner Sports Properties is a joint venture of Learfield Communications and Tyler Media, LLC.


Sooner Sports Powered by FOX Sports is a multi-platform network that provides distribution of 1,000+ hours of Sooner sports programming annually on a variety of FOX Sports outlets, including FOX Sports Oklahoma, FOX Sports Southwest, and FOX College Sports.