Monday, June 6, 2011

Great Villanova Moments at the NCAA Championships: #7

June 5, 1976: Coghlan Sets Meet Record in Winning NCAA 1500 Meters

From 1966 through 1981, a Villanova miler won the NCAA outdoor title 10 times in 16 years. In the midst of this great streak, on June 5, 1976 at Franklin Field in Philadelphia, Eamonn Coghlan won his second consecutive title and set an NCAA meet record (bettering Dave Wottle's previous mark by 2.6 seconds) that lasted 8 years. In the race, Coghlan defeated a strong field composed of such stalwarts as Wilson Waigwa (who would win both the indoor and outdoor titles in 1977 and who would represent Kenya in the 1984 Olympic 5000 meters), Matt Centrowitz (the original, not the son, who won the USA titles at 5000 meters each year from 1979-1982 and who was a 2-time USA Olympian at 1500 meters), Steve Lacy (a two-time USA Olympian and six-time Big Ten champion), and Randal Markey (Australian Olympian at 1500 meters).

Coghlan's post-Villanova international career is well known, but he himself highlights three especially noteworthy accomplishments: (1) his 1983 world championship at 5000 meters, (2) being the first man in history (and still only one of two, along with Hicham El Guerrouj) to run an indoor mile under 3:50, and (3) being the only man in history over the age of 40 to run a sub-4:00 mile.

1976 NCAA 1500 Meters

1. Eamonn Coghlan Villanova University 3:37.01 10
2. Wilson Waigwa UTEP 3:37.26 8
3. Matt Centrowitz University of Oregon 3:37.29 6
4. Steve Lacy University of Wisconsin 3:38.52 4
5. Randal Markey University of Oregon 3:39.98 2
6. Rick Musgnue University of Colorado 3:40.66 1
7. Jeff Jirele University of Illinois 3:40.82
8. Tom Duits Western Michigan 3:41.21
9. Phil Kane Villanova University 3:42.58

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