It’s been a long time coming for long retired track and field coach Ed Temple. But finally, he’s getting his due. After a storied 44 years as women’s track coach at Tennessee State University and serving as head coach of the women’s track team at two Olympics, Temple is getting an honor that have eluded him for a long time.
It’s hard to imagine how that can happened when all Temple did was produce USA National Track and Field Hall of Fame runners such as Wilma Rudolph, Wyomia Tyus, Madeline Manning, Edith McGuire and Mae Faggs for perhaps the greatest American track team ever-the Tennessee State Tigerbelles.
Temple will be honored and formally inducted into the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame, along with a host of individuals on July 12, representing the 2012 class. The honored is well-deserved and should have come a lot sooner.
Temple is a track and field titan. Without his contributions to track and field, the sport and the rest of the world would not have come to know the legendary Rudolph.
Rudolph became the first American woman to win three gold medals at the Summer Games when she pulled off the hat trick at the 1960 Rome Olympics. Without Temple running the show at TSU, the world would not have come to know the determined Tyus, who became the first person-man or woman-to win back-to-back 100-meter Olympic titles (1964 & 1968).
During his coaching tenure, Temple coached 40 Olympians, who brought home 23 Olympic medals. The medal count would encompass 13 gold medals, six silver medals and four bronze medals for Temple and his world-class runners. Temple guided the Tigerbelles to 24 national track championships.
Many people the bottom line of Temple’s assembly line of talent. But his success as a coach has everything to do with what he stands for. What Temple stands for is structure, discipline and doing things the right way-his way. If his way wasn’t on cue with his runners, Temple would remind them who was in charge-gold medal and all, said Tyus.
“Coach Temple basically treated every girl the same,” Tyus said in an excerpted part of an interview that will be published this year in an upcoming book on the Tennessee State Tigerbelles. “We all came in on the same level. He would always say there is a right way, there is a wrong way and there is my way. You didn’t play with his rules. There was no foolishness. He basically treated us all the same way. He didn’t care if you won three gold medals.
“I would never miss a practice. If you missed a practice, you wouldn’t miss another one because of what you did after practice. You never missed a practice. I don’t care if you were sick. You followed the rules. We, as Tigerbelles, believed in the rules because they worked. Of course, as family, you’re going to have some who didn’t like it.”