Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Vol. 2 No. 67 Willie May R.I.P.

Remembering Willie May

Another great hurdler passed away earlier this year, and we only became aware recently.  Willie May former Indiana University athlete and noted track coach and athletic director in the Evanston Township Schools, in the Chicago suburbs,  died on March 28 of this year.   Mr. May won many Big Ten events and was a silver medalist behind Lee Calhoun in the 110 HH at Rome in 1960.   Below is the obitiuary announcement from the Chicago Tribune.

George has posted a blog about the death of Willie May.  As I believe I have mentioned to some, maybe all, of you, Willie was my roommate on the European tour in 1959 and we also both were on the 63 Pan Am Games in Brazil.
Ernie Cunliffe

   Thanks for including the article about Willie May.  He and I roomed together for one week in 1979 when we were both speakers at an Olympic Development clinic in Rhode Island.  He was a true gentleman and a wonderful roommate.  He showed me the movie of the 1960 Olympic finals, still convinced he beat Lee Calhoun.  I thought he did too after watching the movie.  He was a true advocate of young people via the sport of track and field and later as a principal.  He was one fine human being.                    Bill

(Bill Schnier has been the Men's track coach at the University of Cincinnati for 37 years.   He coached David Payne the silver medalist in the 110HH at Beijing. )

Willie L. May, 1936-2012

Evanston track coach 'was nobility' on campus

April 04, 2012|By Jonathan Bullington, Chicago Tribune reporter

US Olympic Trials 1960
Lee Calhoun and Willie May

Willie L. May brought home a silver medal in the 110-meter hurdles from the 1960 Olympic Games in Rome before beginning a long, successful run as a track and field coach at Evanston Township High School.
Mr. May, 75, died of complications from amyloidosis, a rare blood disease, on Wednesday, March 28, at St. Marys Hospital in Rochester, Minn., which is affiliated with the Mayo Clinic, said his daughter Karen May. He was a resident of Chicago's South Side.
Mr. May was born in Tuscaloosa, Ala., but his family moved north and settled in south suburban Robbins when he was a boy. Mr. May attended Blue Island High School, now Eisenhower, where he found his niche with the track and field team.
In the 1955 Illinois high school track and field championships, Mr. May won both hurdle events and ran a leg in his team's winning 880-yard relay, leading Blue Island to the team crown.
He went on to Indiana University, where he won seven Big Ten championships in the hurdles from 1957 to 1959. His talent led to a spot on the U.S. team in the 1960 Olympic Games in Rome, where Mr. May finished a close second in the 110-meter high hurdles to winner Lee Calhoun. The two men were part of a U.S. medalist sweep in the event.
Three years later, he captured another silver medal at the Pan American Games.
With his competition days behind him, Mr. May followed his former high school teammate, Ron Helberg, to Evanston Township High School, working as Helberg's assistant coach on the track and field team. The two men led the school track team to four state championships in the early 1970s.
Mr. May became head track coach in 1975, and helped guide the team to 26 conference championships — including 24 straight from 1976 to 1999 — and a state championship in 1979.
In 1983, Mr. May added the title of athletic director to his list of duties, a post he would hold for 16 years. He also served as a physical education teacher, retiring from both positions in 2000. Though he retired as head track coach in 2006, Mr. May continued to be part of the high school's track team as an assistant coach up until his death.
"He liked working with kids and helping them develop their talents and achieve success, in academics as well," his daughter said.
In an email to the Evanston high school community, athletic director Chris Livatino captured the esteem in which Mr. May was held at the school, writing, "In a word, he was nobility."
"While all of the trophies and medals distinguish Coach May in the history books, what will always define Coach May for me was the grace, humility and strength with which he carried himself and his teams at Evanston Township High School," Livatino wrote.
Mr. May is also survived by his wife of 47 years, Norma; another daughter, Kristian Stewart; and two grandsons.

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