USATF Past President and legendary coach Larry Ellis dies aged 70.
Larry Ellis, the 1984 U.S. mens Olympic track and field coach and
past president of USA Track & Field, died Tuesday afternoon at his home in Skillman,
New Jersey. He was 70.
Ellis was a legend in coaching circles after spending 13 years at Jamaica High School in Queens, N.Y., and 22 years at Princeton University. Among the athletes he coached were 1968 Olympic long jump champion Bob Beamon and current USATF CEO Craig Masback.The Englewood, N.J., native, who received a heart transplant in 1995, most recently was the U.S. mens head coach at Septembers IAAF World Cup in Johannesburg, South Africa.
IAAF President Primo Nebiolo met with Larry Ellis for the last time on that occasion: "The loss of Larry Ellis is a great blow to athletics world-wide. He made a tremendous contribution to improving the quality and standing of our sport in the United States and worked tirelessly and with passion to the end. It is a great shock to learn of his death just a few short weeks after we met at the World Cup in Johannesburg. He was a marvellous administrator and friend, who brought a great depth of practical experience and sensitivity to the office of President of USA Track & Field."
"This is a great loss for USA Track & Field and the world of track and field," said Masback. "Its also a great loss for me personally. He was far more than my college coach, he was a mentor, an inspiration, a leader and someone who very substantially shaped my whole life by both his guidance and example. He was the one that said to me that anything was possible in track and field and in life. He gave me the belief that I should pursue my dreams. Ill forever thank him for that."
Current USATF president Patricia Rico said, "This represents the loss of a great coach and a great leader of USATF. Larry was a wonderful husband and father, and one who devoted his entire life to the sport of athletics. He served as a mentor to countless coaches and athletes. After enduring a heart transplant during his presidency, Larry came back to lead the organisation with great skill and enthusiasm. Larry Ellis was a tremendous contributor to our sport who will never be forgotten."
Also an outstanding athlete, Ellis first gained acclaim at New York Citys DeWitt Clinton High School, where he won cross country and mile titles. He was an NCAA All-American at New York University, taking third in the 1951 880, and went on to run for the New York Pioneer Club. In 1950 he won the Canadian indoor 1000-yard title. Ellis was elected USATF president at the organisations Annual Meeting in Louisville in 1992, and held that position until 1996. During his presidency the organisation underwent a corporate makeover, changing its name from The Athletics Congress to USA Track & Field. He is survived by his wife, Shirley, three daughters and one son.