Ronnie Delany Inducted to NCAA Hall of Fame

Marking the recent 100th staging of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) track and field championships, Ronnie Delany was one of 30 past winners to be inducted to the inaugural Collegiate Athlete Hall of Fame.

The Irish Olympic Champion’s name stands strong alongside global stars such as Jesse Owens, Wilma Rudolph, Jim Ryun, Henry Rono, Steve Prefontaine, Carl Lewis, Jackie Joyner and Merlene Ottey, in an honour befitting one of Ireland’s most decorated and loved athletes.

Each of the 30 names were chosen solely on their accomplishments while a collegiate athlete: between them they won 205 individual NCAA titles, also breaking 99 world records or winning 19 Olympic gold medals, in or out of college.

Delany’s NCAA career was indeed stellar, winning four individual outdoor titles during his four years at Villanova University from 1955-58, during which time he also won Olympic 1,500 metres gold in Melbourne 1956. In his final year he completed an 880 yard/mile double, after winning the mile and finishing second in the 880 yard in 1957: those points helped secure Villanova their first and only NCAA outdoor team title.

“My favourite memory of the NCAA championships, well obviously the first one, but it was great to win the mile and half-mile double,” Delany told the Eugene audience from his home in Dublin. “Especially when maybe you got a half-hour between races, and in those days you know nothing about dehydration, rehydration, it was win or bust.”

Marcus O’Sullivan, current head track and field coach at Villanova, collected the award on Delany’s behalf, his best NCAA placing being second in the 1,500m in 1984. O’Sullivan is not alone in being one of Ireland’s best athletes to fall short of an outdoor title, John Treacy, Noel Carroll and Mark Carroll among them too.

Words from the Irish Times article HERE

Watch the ceremony and read the Villanova report HERE.

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