Coughlan Enters Valley Hall of Fame during Arch Madness
March 6, 2009
ST. LOUIS - In an early morning ceremony at the State Farm Missouri Valley Men's Basketball Tournament, in front of his peers, former athletes and family, former Illinois State head track and field and cross country coach John Coughlan was formerly inducted into the MVC Hall of Fame, Friday in the Scottrade Center.
"Being at Illinois State was a privilege," said the 24-time Valley Coach of the Year as he reflected over his 23 years at ISU. "It seemed that everything I touched turned to gold. We recruited athletes that no one wanted and they became great. I feel that I have given back to the profession, because 84 athletes that I coached are now high school track and field coaches.
Coughlan is the most decorated track and field/cross country head coach in Redbird history, having guided the ISU men's program for 23 seasons and the women's squad for eight, from 1977 to his retirement in 2000.
"I have former athletes from 10, 20, 30 and even 40 years ago tell me `coach, it was the greatest time of my life'. And you know, it was great for me too," said Coughlan. "I never envisioned I would have the success that I did, but it was fantastic. I want to thank all my former student-athletes because they were great athletes, but even better people. I am very honored and humbled in accepting this award."
Under Coughlan the Redbirds won 25 conference championships and mentored 291 MVC individual champions. On the national level, Coughlan shepherded 195 student-athletes to the NCAA Championships in 18 different track events, producing 37 All-Americans.
In addition to the Valley Hall of Fame, He is also a member of the Illinois State Athletics, Drake Relays and U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association Halls of Fame.
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