Clyde Littlefield: The life of a Texas legend

"Patience becomes few Texans. Nor do they wear modesty well...Though Texas-born, Texas reared, this mild mannered gentlemen has built up a reputation through the years as a calm, kindly and infinitely patient man" - Zipp Newman, News Sports Editor.

It has been said that sprinters are born, not made. Clyde Littlefield was a born sprinter; and not only a sprinter, but a born athlete. He earned 12 letters in three sports at the University of Texas, he played on 8 undefeated sports teams, never lost in high hurdles and only lost once in the low hurdles. In 1914, he equalled the collegiate world record in the high hurdles. As a coach he began at Greenville, Texas public schools and lead the 1919 football team to an undefeated season, outscoring opponents 283-0. In his 43 years with the Texas track program, his teams won 25 Southwest Conference championships and produced numerous world records. His seven years coaching football were highlighted by two Southwest Conference Championships. This timeline explores the life and experiences of the legendary Clyde Littlefield. May his success live on to inspire and motivate present and future generations of UT athletes.

Born

Clyde Littlefield was born in Eldred, Pa to John Wesley and Mable Littlefield. At age 11 he moved with his family to Beaumont, Tx.

Attends Peacock Military Academy in San Antonio, Texas

Littlefield played baseball from 1909-1910; this was his first organized athletic competition. He was also the captain of the 1910 football team, which were academy champions of Texas.

Attends Marshall Training School

At Marshall Training School Littlefield continued his early success in sports. He was a jack-of-all-trades. He played on the 1911-1912 Championship football team, played basketball, played baseball and also ran track.

Attends The University of Texas

Littlefield had quite an illustrious athletic career at UT. He was on eight undefeated sports teams including football (1), track (4), and basketball (3). He won 12 letters while at UT, only missing out on baseball because he did not have enough time to commit to the sport. Although he did not earn a letter in baseball, he did pitch two varsity games. He batted 1000 during his time on the team. He equalled the collegiate world record in the high hurdles in 1914 and was never beaten. He was only beaten once in low hurdles. In 1915, he was the SWC scoring champion in basketball as well as an All American. He was also an All SWC halfback in football. While on the football team he played multiple positions including, but not limited to, halfback, and quarterback. Not only was he on three athletic teams, but he was also a part of the Kappa Alpha order and Sigma Delta Psi athletic fraternity.

Coach at Greenville, TX public schools

In 1916, Littlefield was hired as coach (football, basketball and track), teacher and athletic director at Greenville, TX public schools. In that same year, Littlefield coached the track team to a state championship. In the three years he coached football, he only lost only one game. In 1919 they won an un-official state championship and outscored opponents 283-0.

World War 1 Service

Littlefield completed basic training and duty as first sergeant at Camp Mabry in Austin, Texas. He was then transferred to officers school at Camp Pike in Little Rock, Arkansas, where he was a First Lieutenant and a bayonet instructor. Here he continued his athletic endeavors by competing on the officers football team and winning the Midwest Championship. He was honorably discharged in the fall of 1920.

Coach at UT

In the fall of 1920, Littlefield was hired as the head track coach and freshman football coach and freshman basketball coach at UT. During his time as head track coach, Littlefield won 25 Southwest Conference championships, and finished second 14 times. During his tenure, 12 of his athletes won NCAA championships, and three went on to be Olympians. He coaches 46 All Americans. His teams broke numerous world records including, but not limited to, the 440 and 880 yard relays and the 480 yard shuttle hurdle relay. In all, he had four world record setting relay teams. During his 7 years as head football coach, from 1927-1933, his teams won two Southwest Conference championships and was runner-up two other years. He was also the person credited with the first use of burnt orange as UT's official color.

Married

Clyde Littlefield and Henrietta Rabb were married in June 1922 and had a son, Clyde Rabb Littlefield, in March, 1931.

Founded Texas Relays

In 1925, track coach, Clyde Littlefield, and athletic director, Theo Bellmont, founded the nationally recognized Texas Relays. Since that time, the Texas Relays have been dedicated to him twice, in 1945 and 1963. The Texas Relays were officially named "The Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays" in 1963. Today the Texas Relays are the second largest track event in the United States, only second to the Penn Relays. For 32 years, Littlefield was director of the relays, and stepped down from that position in 1957.

Relays Dedicated to Clyde Littlefield

In March, 1945, the 18th annual Texas Relays were dedicated to Clyde Littlefield.

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