IATCCC Hall of Fame Adds Poehlein, Rankin
Dec. 20, 2016


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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Former Purdue track & field and cross country head coach Mike Poehlein and Boilermaker athlete and head coach Dave Rankin will be inducted to the Indiana Association of Track and Cross Country Coaches (IATCCC) Hall of Fame, the association announced. Poehlein coached the Boilermakers for 31 years from 1973 through 2004 and will be inducted in the coach/contributor category, while Rankin competed for Purdue in 1940 and 1941, before becoming the head track & field coach for 24 years from 1946 to 1981 and will be inducted in the pioneer group.

Coincidentally, Purdue’s lone outdoor home meet is named in both legends’ honor – The Rankin/Poehlein Invitational.

The IATCCC Hall of Fame Induction Banquet, honoring Poehlein and Rankin, as well as 10 other inductees, is scheduled for Friday, Feb. 3 at 7 p.m. ET at the Sheraton Hotel at Keystone at the Crossing in Indianapolis. Tickets, which are available in the link at the top of the page, are $55 and should be reserved by Friday, Jan. 20.

Poehlein began his career with the Boilermakers in 1973 as the men’s head cross country coach and assistant track & field coach. He remained in that role until 1981 when he took over as the head coach of both programs, where he served until 2001. Then, he added the women’s cross country coaching duties to his list until he left Purdue in 2004.

During his time with the Boilermakers, Poehlein was a five-time Big Ten Coach of the Year and was named the NCAA District IV Coach of the Year in 1986. He coached 24 individuals to All-America honors during his 24 years. During that span, Poehlein also spent time as the President of the Indiana Association of Track and Cross Country, President of the USA Cross Country Association, a member of the Board of Directors for the USA Track Coaches Association, a consultant for the South Korean Olympic Federation, head coach for the North Region in the 1986 Olympic Festival, an assistant coach at the Goodwill Games in 1990 and as head coach of the 1997 Junior Pan-American Games.

Poehlein’s men’s cross country teams qualified for the NCAA Championships four times and climbed as high as seventh in the country during the 1985 season. He coached the men’s track & field teams to three runner-up performances at Big Ten Championships, still the highest finishes in program history.

Poehlein is currently coaching at Frankfort High School and Middle School, which makes it 55 straight years of coaching in Indiana. He joins Purdue alum and Olympic champion Ray Ewry in the IATCCC Hall of Fame in the coach/contributor category. To be eligible for nomination in the category, an individual must coach for a minimum of 15 years and be a member for the IATCCC for at least two-thirds of that time.

Rankin was a standout athlete at Purdue in football and track. He lettered in football in 1938, 1939 and 1940 and track in 1940 and 1941. He was a two-time All-American on the gridiron and tied the world record in the indoor 60-yard low hurdles on the track.

After his playing career, Rankin joined the Marine Corps and flew nearly 150 missions during two tours of duty in the South Pacific. He earned four air medals and was given honorable discharge in 1946. He returned to Purdue where he was named the head track & field coach that year and served the role until 1981. He coached 22 All-Americans and was head coach of the U.S. track team for the 1975 World University Games in Rome. Rankin also served as the athletic department coordinator on the final blueprints for Mackey Arena, as well as the indoor track. For his role with Purdue, the outdoor track complex is named in his honor – Rankin Track & Field.

Rankin was an innovator in track & field and helped develop field event timing lights, long jump measuring implements, lighting standers to show participating heights, lighting the track curb and he was the first to use all-weather field event surface.

Rankin earns his place in the IATCCC Hall of Fame as a pioneer, which is for athletes who graduated at least 50 years ago, or for coaches with honors at least 50 years old.

Rankin, who passed away in 2006 at the age of 87, is also a member of the Purdue Intercollegiate Athletics Hall of Fame (1988), Indiana Football Hall of Fame (1977) and the Drake Replays Coaches Hall of Fame (1995). He joins former Boilermaker Elmer Oliphant in the IATCCC Hall of Fame in the pioneer group. Oliphant was inducted in 2011.
 

 

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