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World Champion: Coach Clyde Hart Wins Award

By Meg Cullar

Photograph by Robert Rogers/Baylor Photography

The trophy case of Baylor’s legendary track and field coach Clyde Hart ’56 has been busting at the seams for quite some time, but now Hart has added an award that is the granddaddy of them all.

Hart was named the World Coach of the Year by the International Amateur Athletic Federation (IAAF) at the World Athletics Gala in Monte Carlo. Hart and his wife–Maxine Barton Hart ’56, a former Baylor business professor–attended the black-tie dinner in Monte Carlo on November 22, and Hart’s award was presented by Prince Albert II of Monaco. Sanya Richards, the world champion 400-meter runner who is coached by Hart, won the award for Female World Athlete of the Year, and sprinter Usain Bolt took Male Athlete of the Year.

Hart said he was particularly gratified to receive this award because it was from an international group. “In the IAAF, the United States is a very small part,” he told he Baylor Line. “It’s nice to know that your body of work has been noticed by people around the world.”

Hart said he was surprised to be nominated and that he only found out about the nomination about ten days before the presentation. But when he was invited to fly to Monte Carlo for the weekend with his wife, he didn’t hesitate to start packing.

“Actually, the first thing that came to my mind was that the gala was on the day of my wife’s birthday,” Hart said. “This gave me a real out to be able to tell her I was going to take her to Monte Carlo. It was really a first-class event.”

When Sanya Richards accepted her award, she thanked Maxine Hart for sharing Coach Hart with her, Maxine said. “Then she wished me a Happy Birthday. Sanya is a real sweet young lady.”

Maxine said the Harts had met Prince Albert before, at a birthday party for Michael Johnson, the gold-medalist formerly coached by Hart, during the Sydney Olympics in 2000.

Currently the director of track and field at Baylor, Hart retired as Baylor’s head track coach in 2005 after forty-two years at the helm; he also continues to coach Baylor’s 400-meter sprinters. Hart’s previous coaching honors include USA Track and Field’s Nike Coach of the Year in 2004 and 2006 and NCAA National Indoor Coach of the Year in 1986 and 1996. He was named conference coach of the year five times while head coach at Baylor.

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