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Sept. 28, 2009
SPARTANBURG, S.C. - USC Upstate head cross country and track and field coach Jimmy Stephens was recently inducted in to the USA Track & Field (USATF)/South Carolina Hall of Fame. Stephens, who was inducted on Aug. 9, has been active in the USATF/SC for the last 23 years. During his time, Stephens has served as Youth Chairman, Masters Chairman, Secretary, Treasurer, Vice President, and President.
The USATF is the national governing body for track and field, long-distance running and race walking in the United States. The USATF encompasses the world's oldest organized sports, the most-watched events of Olympic broadcasts, the number one high school and junior high school participatory sport and more than 30 million adult runners in the United States. The USATF is divided into individual associations, usually at the state level.
The USATF/SC Association Hall of Fame was created by Stephens in 2001. It was created to honor those who had served the USATF/SC Association in an extraordinary manner.
Stephens was elected in his first term as President in 2000, shortly after returning to South Carolina from his coaching stint at the University of Alabama. He served as President for one term from 2000-2001 and then was reelected as USATF/SC President in 2002 and served from 2002 - 2009. "My time in USATF/SC has been an amazing part of my life," said Stephens.
"Jimmy was the stabilizing force for USATF/SC. Jimmy has been dedicated to the growth and integrity of our sport," said Brian McCue, current USATF/SC President.
"Jimmy has been invaluable in increasing our memberhsip and getting our associaion back on its feet from a financial standpoint. USATF/SC was on the verge of going bankrupt when Jimmy became president. He got us to a point where we are not only able to pay the bills, but we now have reserve funds. His knowledge has helped us in putting on our various meets - from the youth developmental level to the Regional level. He also implemented the open/masters program for our older athletes. No job has ever been too big or small for Jimmy, " said Val Beesley, USATF/SC Treasurer/Youth Chair.
Under Stephens guidance the USATF/SC saw phenomenal growth. "Jimmy has assisted me as Youth Chair over the last 10 years in creating a strong youth program for our South Carolina athletes. We have not only seen the number of athletes increase but also the caliber of the athletes. When we started working together, we had less than 200 athletes in the youth program and now we have over 1,000," Beesley added.
Stephens, was also the leader in the creation of the Mt. Pleasant Track Club which became the largest youth club in the state. He also was the driving force in the building of the track & field facility for the Town of Mount Pleasant.
"While Jimmy was president our association moved forward in leaps and bounds with his guidance. I look forward to working with Jimmy in the years to come. He is a true asset to the sport of track and field and to USATF and a true friend, " said Beesley.
"During my time at USATF/SC, I was fortunate to have a great group of people to work with. We all had common goals and worked together to achieve those goals. My time at USATF/SC has been extremely rewarding. It is an honor to be inducted into the Hall of Fame," said Stephens.