ABILENE, Texas -- J. Oliver Jackson, who coached track and
field athletes at Abilene Christian to four Olympic gold medals and
15 world records, died Wednesday. He was 87.
Jackson died at home of natural causes with family members at
his side, said Lance Fleming, the Abilene Christian sports
Jackson, a former president of the U.S. Track and Field Coaches
Association, was head track and field coach at Abilene Christian
for 16 years, from 1948-63. His teams won NAIA national collegiate
titles in 1952, 1954 and 1955. In 1964, he coached the national
team during its pre-Olympic tour.
"With the passing of Oliver Jackson, we have lost one of our
legends," Abilene Christian President Royce Money said. "He was
one of the true giants in track and field coaching circles, and it
was his coaching that helped Bobby Morrow achieve immortality at
the 1956 Olympic Games in Melbourne, Australia."
At Abilene Christian, Jackson coached three U.S. Olympic team
members: Morrow, quarter-miler Earl Young and pole vaulter Billy
Morrow, a sprinter, won gold medals at the 1956 Olympics in the
100 meters, 200 meters and 400-meter relay. Young won a gold medal
in the 1960 Olympics in Rome in the 1,600-meter relay and Pemelton
finish eight in the pole vault in the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo.
A 1959 Sports Illustrated article called Jackson "probably the
best relay coach in the United States."
Jackson was inducted into seven halls of fame, including the
U.S. Track and Field Coaches Association, the NAIA and the Texas
Sports Hall of Fame.
He was also an accomplished athlete who won the long jump at the
Texas high school state championship. He went on play football at
Abilene Christian and was named in 1966 to Sports Illustrated's
Silver Anniversary team honoring the best senior college football
players from the 1941 season.
Jackson is survived by his wife of 63 years, Biddie, three
daughters, six grandchildren and one great grandchild.
Jackson's memorial service is scheduled for 1 p.m. Saturday at
Highland Church of Christ in Abilene.