Matt Jones is the online sports editor for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette and Northwest Arkansas Newspapers.
McDonnell named to SWC Hall of Fame
Former Arkansas cross country and track and field coach John McDonnell smiles as he watches the action during the Class 5A-7A State Indoor track meet Saturday, Feb. 8, 2014, at the Randal Tyson Track Center in Fayetteville.
FAYETTEVILLE John McDonnell, the head coach who built Arkansas men's track & field into the most dominant program in NCAA history, will be inducted into the Southwest Conference Hall of Fame on April 7 in Houston.
McDonnell won 38 of his 83 conference titles in cross country and track & field while the Razorbacks were members of the SWC. Arkansas won the league's triple crown as champions in each sport nine times in 10 years before leaving for the Southeastern Conference in 1991.
The Razorbacks left the SWC with consecutive conference championships of 17 in cross country, 11 indoors and four outdoors.
He coached Arkansas to wins in 42 NCAA meets in cross country and track & field, though two outdoor titles were later abdicated as part of NCAA sanctions stemming from violations committed by one of his assistant coaches. Thirteen of those titles were won while the Razorbacks were members of the SWC, including the first eight of a NCAA-record 12 straight indoor national championships won from 1984 to 1995.
The SWC honor is the latest in a career full of them for McDonnell, who was been inducted into at least eight other halls of fame. He is also name bearer of the John McDonnell Program of the Year Award, which is given to the nation's best all-around men's program in the three sports he coached.