Sept. 25, 1997
Villanova Honors 100th Anniversary of Track & Field
VILLANOVA, Pa. - On Oct. 4, 1997, Villanova University Track & Field will take center stage, as the University celebrates 100 years of excellence in the sport during a series of festivities throughout the day.
The celebration will begin at the Villanova vs. James Madison football game, when six track & field greats will have their jerseys retired at halftime. In a tradition that began four years ago, the six honorees will be presented with a framed singlet and have their names displayed on a wall of The Pavilion.
Eamonn Coughlan, a four-time Olympian for Ireland and one of the greatest distance runners ever at Villanova, returns to have his jersey retired. Coughlan is a four-time NCAA indoor and outdoor individual champion, a six-time IC4A indoor and outdoor champion, and earned nine Championship of America Watches at the Penn Relays while at Villanova. Joining him will be Marty Liquori, a 1968 U.S. Olympian in the 1500m, and five-time NCAA indoor and outdoor individual champion. Liquori, inducted into the NCAA Silver Anniversary Hall of Fame in 1995, won six IC4A titles indoors and outdoors, and rates as one of the most recognizable track figures in the nation. Liquori was a member of Villanova's 1970 NCAA Champion cross country team.
Don Paige will also be honored at the retirement ceremony for his outstanding achievements as a middle distance runner at Villanova. Paige earned a spot on the 1980 U.S. Olympic team in the 800m run, and tallied NCAA Outdoor individual titles in the 800m (twice) and 1500m. At the indoor NCAA Championships, Paige was a three-time 1000y champion.
Phil Reavis, a 1956 U.S. Olympian in the high jump and NCAA Outdoor Champion in the event, will be one of the highlights of the retirement ceremony. Reavis won both the indoor and outdoor IC4A individual champion in the high jump every year from 1956-58. He is the first jumper in Villanova history to make an impact on both the collegiate and international track & field scene. Villanova's first-ever NCAA Outdoor individual champion was won by Browning Ross in 1948, when he captured the 3000m steeplechase title. Ross returns to the Main Line for the ceremony after a storied career in which he competed in that same event for the U.S. Olympic Team at the 1948 London Games and 1952 Helsinki Games.
Rounding out the 1997 Villanova track retirement class is Vic Zwolak, a member of the 1964 U.S. Olympic team in the 3000m steeplechase. Zwolak won two NCAA Outdoor titles in the event in 1963 and 1964, and still rates as the only Wildcat to ever win the NCAA individual championship in cross country. In addition, he was a member of two relay teams that captured Penn Relay championship placques, and won two IC4A titles.
Following the retirement ceremony at the football game, the festivities will continue that evening at a banquet held in the Villanova Room at the Connelly Center on the campus of Villanova University. Liquori will serve as emcee of the evening that will feature nearly 400 guests. In addition to the six retirees, many Wildcat greats will be in attendance, including Alex Kramer, a member of Villanova's 1935 track team. Kramer ran with Jumbo Elliott on several successful Penn Relay squads. Kramer, along with Joe Fenstemacher (Class of '34) will be the oldest members attending the banquet and are 87 and 88 years of age.
Also in attendance will be current Wildcat head coach and former U.S. Olympian John Marshall, former Olympic gold medalist Larry James, two-time Olympian and three-time NCAA Champion Vicki Huber, Irish Olympian and Indoor World Champion Marcus O'Sullivan, two-time Irish Olympian Frank Murphy, NCAA Outdoor Champion Ed Collymore, NCAA Indoor Champion Ken Schappert, and Olympian for Puerto Rico Rolando Cruz.