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Metcalfe earns induction into another hall of fame
August 7, 2008

Ralph Metcalfe

Ralph Metcalfe
     NEW ORLEANS — Ralph Metcalfe, an Olympic gold-medal sprinter and the men's track and field coach at Xavier University of Louisiana more than 70 years ago, will be inducted next week into the African American Ethnic Sports Hall of Fame in New York City.

Metcalfe, who died in 1978 at age 68 after being elected four times to the U.S. House of Representatives as a Democrat from Illinois' first congressional district, will be honored following a reception and luncheon starting at noon on Aug. 16 at the Adam Clayton Powell State Building in Harlem, 163 West 125th St.

It will be the eighth time Metcalfe is inducted into a hall of fame.

Metcalfe earned gold at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin in the 400-meter relay and a silver medal in the 100-meter dash. Four years earlier, at the Olympics in Los Angeles, Metcalfe sprinted to a silver in the 100 and a bronze in the 200. He was known as the "World's Fastest Human" during the early '30s.

Metcalfe accepted Xavier's offer to join its coaching staff and faculty immediately after the '36 Olympics. He coached the men's track team to four consecutive Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference outdoor championships (1938, 1939, 1940 and 1941) and missed out on the Gold Rush's fifth straight title in '42 after joining the U.S. Army during World War II. Metcalfe returned to Chicago, his longtime home, after the war.

Among Metcalfe's star athletes at Xavier were Herbert Douglas, the bronze medalist in the long jump at the 1948 Olympics and the 1945 AAU national champion; Joshua Williamson, the '45 AAU co-national champion in the high jump; and shot-putter Lilburn Williams, the 1939 AAU national champion. A few months after Metcalfe's departure, during the spring of 1942, Xavier became the first HBCU (historically black college or university) to win a relay at the prestigious Penn Relays in Philadelphia. Xavier won the men's 440-yard relay in 41.7 seconds.

Next week's induction class includes boxer Alex Ramos, a former USBA and AAU champion, and Abner Haynes, who in 1960 was the American Football League's first Most Valuable Player, Rookie of the Year and rushing champion.

Ralph Metcalfe in Halls of Fame
YearOrganization
1951 Wisconsin Athletic Hall of Fame
1959 Drake Relays Athletes Hall of Fame
early 1970s Chicagoland Sports Hall of Fame
1972 Marquette University M Club Hall of Fame
1975 USATF National Track and Field Hall of Fame
1980 Georgia Sports Hall of Fame
1996 Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Hall of Fame
2008 African American Ethnic Sports Hall of Fame
NOTE: Xavier University does not have an athletics hall of fame.

 

 
Gulf Coast Athletic Conference
National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics

The Xavier Gold Rush and Gold Nuggets compete in Division I of the NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics) as a member of the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference (GCAC). Xavier fields men's teams in basketball, cross country and tennis and women's teams in basketball, cross country, tennis and volleyball.

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