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Dr. J. on Running

USATF Hall of Fame Class of 2000

Dellinger, Cheeseborough, Robinson and Seidler

Published October 23, 2000 in The Post-Standard.

By Dr Kamal Jabbour, Contributing Writer

USA Track and Field recently announced the election Bill Dellinger of Eugene, Oregon, to the National Track and Field Hall of Fame. An accomplished distance runner and track coach, Dellinger is arguably one of the greatest coach-athletes in the history of American distance running.

Dellinger was born on March 23, 1934, in Grants Pass, Oregon. He attended Springfield High School, then went to the University of Oregon in nearby Eugene where he trained under coach Bill Bowerman. He excelled at his sport, winning three national titles and setting several national records.

In 1959, Dellinger won the gold medal in 5,000 meters in the Pan American Games. He also competed in the 1956, 1960 and 1964 Olympic Games, and won the bronze medal in the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, the last American to win an Olympic medal in the 5,000 meters.

After coaching track in high school and junior college, Dellinger returned to Oregon in 1966 as cross-country coach, and became head track coach in 1973. During his tenure, Oregon won the 1984 NCAA outdoor track title and four NCAA cross-country championships.

Among the athletes that Dellinger coached were Steve Prefontaine, Alberto Salazar, Joaquim Cruz and Mary Slaney. He returned to the Olympics in 1984 as an assistant coach for the American team. He retired from coaching at the end of the 1998 cross-country season, and currently lives in Eugene.

In addition to Dellinger, three other Olympians were selected for induction in the National Track and Field Hall of Fame: Chandra Cheeseborough of Nashville, Tennessee; Arnie Robinson of San Diego, California; and Maren Seidler of Tucson, Arizona.

Cheeseborough, 41, is one of those rare athletes who made an Olympic team while still in high school. She won the 200 meters at the 1975 Pan American Games, and competed in the 1976 Olympics. Her best performance came at the 1984 Olympics, when she was second in the 400, and won gold medals in both the 4x100 and 4x400-meter relays.

Robinson, 52, won the bronze medal in the long jump at the 1972 Olympics, then took the gold medal in 1976. A seven-time national champion, Robinson was also the 1971 champion and 1975 runner-up at the Pan American Games. He later became a junior college track coach.

Seidler, 49, was a member of three Olympic teams in the shot-put between 1968 and 1976. He competed internationally 21 times, one of the highest totals on record. She also raised the national shot put record 16 times and won 19 national titles.

The Class of 2000 brings to 184 the number of inductees into the National Track and Field Hall of Fame, located in the RCA Dome in downtown Indianapolis. The Induction Ceremonies will take place in Albuquerque, N.M., on Saturday, December 2, during USATF's Annual Meeting.

Kamal Jabbour runs and writes on the hills of Pompey, New York. His RUNNING Column appears in The Post-Standard on Mondays. Dr.J. created, webcasting live Every Lap of Every Race. He receives email at

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