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Cleve Abbott

Inducted: 1996, coach

Born: December 9, 1894 - Yankton, South Dakota
Deceased: April 16, 1995

Career Highlights

  • As coach of women's track and field at Tuskegee Institute, Abbott won 14 national outdoor championships

One of the pioneer coaches of women's track and field, Cleve Abbott was head coach of the women's team at Tuskegee Institute from 1936 to 1955. During that period, his Golden Tigers won 14 national outdoor titles, including eight in a row. Tuskegee athletes won 49 indoor and outdoor individual titles. Six of his athletes were on the Olympic team, including gold medalists Alice Coachman and Mildred McDaniel. Three of his athletes -- Coachman, McDaniel and Nell Jackson -- have been inducted into the Hall of Fame. He was still coaching at Tuskegee when he died in 1955. An outstanding athlete while in high school and college, Abbott was hired to teach and coach at Tuskegee Institute in 1915 by the great educator, Booker T. Washington. He had exceptional success as Tuskegee's football coach, winning nine national titles over a 32-year period. In addition to being an outstanding coach, Abbott served on the women's committee of the former National AAU (a predecessor of USA Track & Field) and twice was on the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Committee. He is also a member of the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame.

high school: Watertown (Watertown, South Dakota), 1912
undergraduate: South Dakota State (Brookings, South Dakota), 1916

Coach / athletic director

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