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Godina and Larsen Named to the National Track & Field Hall of Fame

Nov 13, 2013

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – UCLA legends, discus thrower and shot putter John Godina and coach Bob Larsen, are members of the 2013 class that will be inducted into the National Track & Field Hall of Fame, USA Track & Field announced Wednesday.

The UCLA duo is joined by triple jumper Kenny Harrison, sprinter Steve Williams and high jumper Eleanor Montgomery that makes up the 40th overall class to be inducted into the National Track & Field Hall of Fame. The group will be honored on Saturday, December 7, at the Jesse Owens Hall of Fame Banquet, which is a part of the USATF Annual Meeting at the J.W. Marriott in Indianapolis, IN.

Bob Larsen

Legendary coach Larsen was named NCAA track & field or cross country Coach of the Year four different times at UCLA before coaching Mebrahtom Keflezighi to the 2004 Olympic silver medal in the marathon. Larsen was selected in the coaches category.

During the 15 seasons Larsen served as coach of the UCLA Bruins men’s track & field and cross country teams, he led 12 individuals to a total of 20 NCAA titles and directed  UCLA to back-to-back NCAA Outdoor track & field team championships in 1987 and 1988.

In a brilliant career that has spanned six decades, Larsen overall would coach 13 athletes to a total of 25 national championships. As UCLA’s head coach, he held a 118-3-1 record in dual meets and was selected PAC-10 Coach of the Year nine times. He was selected the Team USA distance coach for the 2004 Olympic Games where he coached Keflezighi to a silver medal in the marathon and later helped him to win the 2009 New York City Marathon.

Three times in his career Larsen was selected NCAA track & field Coach of the Year (’87, ’88, ’95) and once in cross country (’80). As the UCLA men’s cross country coach for 20 years (1980-99), he directed the Bruins to two conference titles (’80, ’81) and six NCAA appearances, including fifth-place finishes in 1980/1981. 

Larsen has also been inducted into the Mt. SAC Relays Coaches Hall of Fame (1997), California Community College Cross Country Hall of Fame and Track Coaches Association Hall of Fame (1996) and the U. S. Track Coaches Association Hall of Fame (2003). In 2005, Larsen was honored by the National Long Distance Running Hall of Fame with the Bill Bowerman Award and by USA Track & Field with the H. Browning Ross Memorial Award.

He is the subject of a documentary film to be released in Spring 2014 entitled, “City Slickers Can’t Stay with Me: The Bob Larsen Story.”

John Godina

Godina finds his name near the top of a long list of dominant American men in the shot put. A total of four times in his career he finished the year ranked No. 1 in the World in the event and finished no worse than second in the World from 1995 until 1998.

His career is highlighted with a Silver Medal at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games, a Bronze Medal at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games and winning a trio of World Outdoor Championships Gold Medals (’95, ’97, ’01).

A standout for Bob Larsen and throws coach Art Venegas at UCLA, Godina won five NCAA individual titles in his Bruin career, including the indoor shot put and outdoor discus titles in 1994, indoor and outdoor shot put and outdoor discus championships in 1995 and setting the collegiate outdoor shot put record (72-2.5). He was a 10-time All-American in the shot put and discus and six-time Pac-10 champion.  Godina is a 2005 inductee into the UCLA Athletics Hall of Fame.

He also won the 1998 World Cup title in the shot put and earned World Indoor Championships Gold in 2001 and Silver Medals in 1999 and 2003. Retiring in 2008, Godina was elected to the National Track & Field Hall of Fame the first year he was eligible.

With the 2013 additions of Godina and Larsen, the Bruins now have 17 inductees into the National Track & Field Hall of Fame -  decathlete Rafer Johnson (1974), coach Jim Bush (1987), javelin thrower Kate Schmidt (1994), sprinter Florence Griffith-Joyner (1995), sprinter Evelyn Ashford (1997), 110m hurdler Greg Foster (1998), high jumper Dwight Stones (1998), distance runner Francie Larrieu Smith (1998), triple jumper Willie Banks (1999), heptathlete Jackie Joyner-Kersee (2004), long jumper Mike Powell (2005), 400m hurdler Kevin Young (2006), coach Elvin C. ‘Ducky’ Drake (2007), 400m hurdler Andre Phillips (2009) and sprinter Gail Devers (2011).