Masters Hall of Famer Stan Whitley reflects on long (jump) career

M65 sprinter Stan Whitley, my fellow Southern California Strider, also attended Kansas. (But 10 years earlier.) He’s been a world-class dashman for decades and was a 26-8 1/2 jumper back in the day. He never brags. But a profile by a paper near his first college drew out some amazing facts and stats: Stan jumped more than 25 feet (7.61 meters) for 17 consecutive years from 1966 to 1982 — only man to jump over 25 feet in three different decades. He was the Kansas MVP Senior in 1969, beating out a guy named Jim Ryun. “That really surprised me,” Stan said.

Stan (in blue) battles Aussie great Peter Crombie at 2011 Sacramento worlds.

Here’s the story, in case the link goes down:

Stan Whitley had quite a track and field career at Hancock College. He has had quite a track and field career since.

He was one of scores of Hancock track and field alumni, and other well-wishers, who attended the dedication of the new Hancock track at the Hancock College campus Saturday.

“This is quite a difference,” he said as he scanned the gleaming facility. “We used to run on that old GrassTex surface.”

Whitley won the triple jump (49 feet, 10 inches) and long jump (a wind-aided 25-2) at the state meet in 1967 as he helped Hancock College’s men repeat as state champions. Those marks still stand as school records.

Whitley was also part of Hancock’s sprint medley relay team that set a record of 3 minutes, 27.5 seconds in 1967. Oh, yes, he was also part of the school’s record-setting 400-meter relay team (the distance was 440 yards then), which clocked a 40.4.

He was a teacher and a track and field coach for 13 years at La Verne Bonita High School. Whitley is also a member of the USA Masters Track and Field Hall of Fame. Whitley, who was born in North Carolina, raised in Washington D.C. and lives now in Alta Loma, was inducted into the Mt. SAC Relays Hall of Fame in 1985.

Whitley long jumped more than 25 feet (7.61 meters) for 17 consecutive years from 1966 to 1982. He was part of a Hancock contingent that went to the Kansas relays.

“(Kansas University) recruited me there,” said the only man to long jump over 25 feet in three different decades.

The Kansas school, and Big Eight Conference, record holder in the outdoor long jump (26-8 1/2, 8.14 meters) scored points in the long jump, triple jump, 100, 220 and the 440 (U.S. distances were in yards then) relay at the Big 8 Conference Meet in Ames, Iowa in 1969. He scored more points than the entire host Iowa State team.

He was the Kansas MVP Senior in 1969, beating out none other than Jim Ryun. “That really surprised me,” said Whitley.

“He set a world record. I only set a conference record.” Ryun became the first high school runner to break four minutes in the mile when he ran 3:59.0 as a junior at Wichita East High School in Kansas. Ryun later became the last U.S. world record holder in the mile.

Whitley was a regular for USA International teams that competed against teams from Great Britain, Germany, Italy and the former USSR, among others, from the late 1960s through the 1980s.

“I jumped 26-8 1/2 at the 1969 USA-USSR meet,” he said. “I passed Jesse Owens’ best, which was 26-8 1/4, and I beat the best man in the world at the time, Bob Beamon.”

From 1966 to now, Whitley has missed only six Mt. SAC Relays. He set a meet record of 26-5 1/2 there in 1973, defeating 1972 Olympics gold medalist Randy Williams and the ‘72 Olympics silver medalist, Arnie Robinson. Whitley competed in the long jump at the U.S. Olympic Trials in 1968, ‘72 and ‘76.

He said his legs can’t take jumping competitively anymore, but Whitley hasn’t slowed down. In fact, he said, he finished second in the 100 meters and in the 200 at the National Masters Championships in Olathe, Kan. recently.

Whitley’s school records are two of many from the 1960’s and 70’s that still stand at Hancock.

“Maybe, with the new track, that will help a lot of those records be broken,” Kenny Kring told the audience during the dedication. Kenny Kring, son of the late Hancock coach Ray Kring whose cross country teams won 16 conference and three state titles, is a school record holder himself.

He holds the decathlon mark of 7,243 points that he set in 1971.

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February 6, 2014

8 Responses

  1. Liz Palmer - February 6, 2014

    Stan is not only a great athlete, but a wonderful person as well.

  2. Warren Graff - February 6, 2014

    Stan inspired me to pursue Masters Track. Circa 1994 Stan was featured in S.I’s ‘Faces in the Crowd’ as having won the 100,200,and LJ at the Masters Nationals (can’t recall where) – I contacted Sports Illustrated who directed me to National Masters News. In ’95 I went to WMA Buffalo and got to see Stan win the 100 and also see the best of my age group (M50 then) compete – a thrill I will never forget. Thank you Stan!

  3. Christel Donley - February 6, 2014




  4. Peter Taylor - February 6, 2014

    Stan adds considerable class to our meets, which is always a good thing. Warren, you are referring to Eugene nationals (1994). Oh, wait a second, you said “circa 1994.” Hmmm… OK, regardless, in the sprints, Stan shows us how the big-time competitors do it: Hint: They look like they are not even going all out, and yet they end up winning.

  5. kevin morning - February 6, 2014

    I remember watching Stan on television when he competed for Kansas back in the day. During my sophomnore year in college I actually competed against Stan at a meet in Compton. Stan whooped on the competition that day. The year was 1976. Is that why I started sprinting?

    Stan has always been a class act – on and off the field.

  6. al cestero - February 6, 2014

    nice article.. a real tribute to greatness..!! congratulations inspire..!!

  7. Bill Collins - February 8, 2014

    Stan, You have developed great relationships amoung the masters family, I am delighted to be one of the athletes to have watched you do your thing on all levels for so many years. You are one of the great ones. Congratulations for all you have done in the past, and we all know this isn’t the end of your story.

  8. Roger Pierce - February 10, 2014

    Stan, I have competed against you as a Masters Sprinter since 1988.You are an amazing athlete and and an inspiration to all of us. It has been an honor to compete with, and against you for all those years.
    You are indeed a class act and one of the greatest USA T & F athletes of all time. Great article listing your accomplishments.
    Be well…see you in Boston.

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