Story and photo courtesy of Princeton Athletic Communications
PRINCETON, N.J. -- The U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) announced today the six coaches who will be inducted into the USTFCCCA Coaches Hall of Fame as the Class of 2017. Longtime Princeton coach Fred Samara has been selected as one of the honorees.
"I am incredibly honored and humbled to to elected to the Hall of Fame," Samara said. "It is also a special honor to be joining two of my mentors, Larry Ellis and my coach from Penn Irv "Moon" Mondschein. In addition, it is quite an honor for me to go in the Hall representing Princeton. It has been my privilege to work with some many wonderful and talented student athletes these past 40 years."
Samara will be the 10th Ivy coach to be inducted into the USTFCCCA Coaches Hall of Fame, joining former Tigers coach Ellis and former Quakers coach Mondschein, as well as Ken Doherty (Penn), Keene Fitzpatrick (Princeton, Yale), Bob Giegengack (Yale), Bill Hayward (Princeton assistant), Vin Lananna (Dartmouth) Jim Tuppeny (Penn) and Jack Warner (Cornell).
Six years after graduating from Penn and three years removed from competing at the 1976 Montreal Olympics in the decathlon, Samara was introduced as head coach of the Princeton men's track & field program in 1979 – a position he currently holds.
Since 1979, Samara's Tigers have won 41 Ivy League Heptagonal titles. Princeton has won 20 indoor crowns, 17 outdoor crowns and four in cross country, as he served as cross country coach from 1992-98 and again from 2004-07. He also also been named the Ivy League's Coach of the Year four of the six times it has been awarded.
The Tigers have earned seven Ivy Heps Triple Crowns under Samara's tutelage, winning team titles in cross country, indoor track & field and outdoor track & field in the same academic year. He has coached over 400 individual Ivy League Heptagonal champions, 200 outdoor and 229 indoor.
Samara's athletes have pulled together for a total of 77 All-America honors and seven have claimed national championships. They include: Tora Harris in the indoor and outdoor high jump in 2002, Donn Cabral in the 2012 steeplechase, and Michael Williams, Austin Hollimon, Russell Dinkins and Peter Callahan in the 2013 indoor distance medley relay.
Outside of the collegiate level, Samara coached field events for the U.S. Track & Field Team at the 1987 IAAF World Championships in Rome and was an assistant coach for the Americans at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. Cabral was one of four Princeton athletes coached by Samara to compete in the Olympics. The others were Harris, Debbie Saint-Phard and Augie Wolf, who both starred in the shot put. Wolf recorded the best finish out of Samara's athletes as he finished fourth at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics.
Samara and the other five inductees will be honored at the 2017 USTFCCCA Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on Wednesday, December 13, at the USTFCCCA Convention in Phoenix, Arizona.
Started in 1995, the USTFCCCA Coaches Hall of Fame exists to recognize coaches who have brought great distinction to themselves, to their institutions and to the sports of cross country and track & field. Each of the honorees exemplifies the qualities of dedication to the sport, leadership and passion for their profession that serve as an inspiration to coaches everywhere