Bulldogs Honor Former Mentor with First Annual Giegengack Invitational

The legendary Yale Track & Field coach, Bob Giegengack
The legendary Yale Track & Field coach, Bob Giegengack

Feb. 3, 2006

NEW HAVEN, Conn. - Yale hosts the first annual Giegengack Invitational, named in honor of former Yale track and field coach Bob Giegengack, this weekend at Coxe Memorial Cage in the William Clay Ford '48 Track and Field Center. In his 29 years at Yale, the USA Track and Field hall-of-famer led the Elis to 183 victories, four IC4A titles, and 13 outdoor and four indoor Heptagonal championships.

This two-day competition will begin Friday afternoon and continue all day Saturday, featuring some stiff competition for the Bulldogs from strong programs throughout the East. The meet will showcase strong competitors within every field, making use of Coxe Cage's Frank Shorter `69 Track, dedicated last year in honor of two-time Olympic medallist and former Yale cross country captain Frank Shorter. Shorter was a teammate of current coach Mark Young under the tutelage of Giegengack.

"His spirit is one that pervades this facility," Shorter said of Giegengack during last year's dedication. "He would teach you how to coach yourself and that's what I did."

Teacher, coach, philosopher, tireless storyteller, and international leader in track and field, Bob Giegengack spent more than 40 fruitful, exciting years in a career he loved. Helping talented young people to excel, both in their sport and in their studies, met his highest ideals. He trained his athletes, encouraged them, and taught them strategies for success, always with the goal of mens sana in corpore sano, a healthy mind in a healthy body. From each athlete, he demanded the best effort possible, not just for the sake of individual achievement, but also for the good of the team. Beginning with his high school students at Brooklyn Prep, then at Fordham and Yale, and as an Olympic coach in Melbourne (1956) and Tokyo (1964), "Gieg" worked to fulfill his personal ideals as a teacher, mentor, and competitor. After his retirement in 1976, he coached Yale's first women's team. The Giegengack legacy of talent, devotion, and high ideals lives on at Yale today. Yale's Bob Giegengack Endowment Fund ensures that legacy for the future.

report by Victor Cheng '08, Yale Sports Publicity