CARBONDALE -- SIU alum Connie Price-Smith, the winningest female athlete in American history in the shot put and discus, will be inducted into the USA National Track and Field Hall of Fame in New York City in November.
The five-person class was announced Thursday by Team USA. Price-Smith, who is already a member of the SIU Hall of Fame and the Missouri Valley Conference Hall of Fame, joins Butch Reynolds, Leonard "Buddy" Edelen, Al Feuerbach and Frank Zarnowski in this year's class.
“This year’s class of National Track & Field Hall of Fame inductees is more than deserving of the highest honor in our sport,” USATF President Stephanie Hightower said in a news release. “Each has spent a lifetime sacrificing their talents making track & field a more inspiring dream for those to come. USATF is grateful for their contributions and proud to celebrate them in this way.”
Reynolds broke the world record in the 400-meter dash in 1988 in a time of 43.29 seconds and established the Butch Reynolds Care For Kids Foundation for youth in his community. Edelen was a pioneer in the marathon. Feuerbach, a three-time Olympian, won the Pan American Games gold medal in the shot put in 1971 and set the world record in 1973.
Zarnowski, who is going into the hall as a contributor, has extensively promoted the decathlon. He is being honored for his contributions to the events as a public address announcer, author, Olympic television commentator, historian, coach and meet director.
Price-Smith, a former basketball player at SIU who threw late in her career, won 25 national titles in the shot put and discus, combined. She made every U.S. national team from the 1987 World University Games to the 2001 World Indoors. A four-time Olympian in both the shot put and discus, she was the first American woman to have a top-10 world ranking in the shot put for five straight years (1995-99).
Price-Smith won two Pan Am Games gold medals in the shot put (1995 and 1999), a silver in 1991 and a bronze in the discus in 1987. She spent 14 years at the helm of the Salukis' track and field programs and was the head coach for Team USA's women's team at the Rio Olympics. She is currently in her second season as the head coach at the University of Mississippi.
Inductees will receive a commemorative Hall of Fame ring from U.S.A. Track and Field during the Black Tie and Sneakers Gala at The Armory in New York City on Nov. 3. USATF will also recognize 2016 Legacy Award winners Jackie Joyner-Kersee and Dick Fosbury. Tickets can be purchased online at usatfgala.com.
The USATF National Track & Field Hall of Fame was established in 1974 and is the premier honor for athletes, coaches and contributors. The hall is currently maintained by The Armory Foundation in New York City, which opened in January 2003.