Track legend head coach set for hall of fame induction
Houston track and field head coach Leroy Burell has been named a 2017 inductee into the USA Track and Field National Hall of Fame, said team spokesman Roman Petrowski in a news release.
The induction into the Hall of Fame will become official Nov. 2 during the USATF Black TIE and Sneakers Gala in New York City. Burrell will be joined by Bryan Clay, Patty van Wolvelaere, Lindy Remigino and Bill Squires, according to the news release.
“It’s amazing that, when I thought about it, I made it before Michael Marsh, Steve Lewis, Danny Everett and Kevin Young, who were all multiple Olympic gold medalists,” Burrell said, according to the news release. “So it’s a tremendous honor. It gives you a chance to look back on your career and notice that you accomplished some really great things. Being recognized for that is incredibly rewarding.”
Burrell has had a long career in track and field. He first gained attention when he earned All-American honors as a senior for Penn Wood High School in 1985. He was then named Eastern Track Athlete of the Year after winning the 1985 class 3A State Championship, according to his UH biography.
After high school, he came to Houston and made his mark by breaking the freshman long jump record, previously held by Lewis.
In 1990, Burrell won the NCAA indoor long jump title for the second year in a row. According to his biography, the senior runner ranked as the world’s top sprinter after winning 19 of 22 races in the 100 meter the same year — just four years after he tore his ACL.
Burrell and Lewis both took part in the 1992 Olympic games in Barcelona and won a gold medal in the 4×100 relay, setting a new world record with 37.40 seconds.
The Pennsylvania native would again see gold when he ran the anchor leg for the USA relay team at the World Championships in 1993 hosted by Stuttgart, Germany.
Burrell retired in 1998 after years of accomplishments and record-breaking performances, leaving a permanent mark as a legendary track and field star.
The longtime legend is now the head coach of the UH track and field program, which has seen its fair share of success since he has taken over the team.
Inductees into the Hall of Fame will receive a commemorative ring from the USATF at the Armory in Washington Heights.
“I was surprised,” Burrell said. “They called me while I was in my office, and it threw me for a little bit of a loop. As time has passed, it’s started to sink in a little bit more. I’m sure that as we get closer to the induction ceremony in November, it will get even more emotional. It’s a great honor.”