Sunday, April 6, 2008

Trail Blazer: Tennessee State's Olympian - Hampton U. Track Coach Mamie Rallins

TSU Olympian shares her story: Mamie Rallins was first black woman to coach at the Ohio State University.

The first black woman to coach at Ohio State University will share her story of coaching and Olympic prowess with area youth this April.

Mamie Rallins, who now lives in Port Clinton, Ohio will give a motivational speech at a luncheon at noon April 27 at Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Genoa.

Rallins began running as a teenager living in Chicago. "At the age of 15, I started running track for a track club, because we did not have track and field in the high schools in the '50s," she said.

Rallins competed in the Mayor Daley Youth Foundation Track Club, and placed second in the 80-meter hurdles during the 1967 Pan American Games. She went to the Olympics in Mexico City the next year.

Mamie Rallins holds an Olympic torch used during the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta in front of an Olympic banner that hangs on the wall in her home. (Jonathon Bird/News-Messenger).


Coach Rallins is a very humble person. There is much that she accomplished that is not stated in this story.

Rallins Bio from Sept. 2, 1997 (provided by Onnidan's Black College Sports Online):

Prior to Hampton University, Rallins served as Head Women's Track & Field/Cross Country Coach for 18 years (1976-94) at Ohio State University. During that time she coached 60 Big Ten indoor/outdoor champions, 24 All Americans, nine Olympic trial qualifiers and one Olympian. She also served as assistant athletic director for three years.

Coach Rallins also had success on the national and international ranks serving as Head Coach of the U.S. Indoor World Championship team in 1987. She also served as assistant coach of the USA Olympic Games in 1996, 1995 World University Games, 1981 USA vs. USSR Meet and the World University Games in 1979.

Rallins stated, "I'm really pleased to be at Hampton because of being able to give something back to a historical black university. I feel I have something to offer the young ladies, especially with my background and the success I received when the opportunities were given to me.

The Chicago, Illinois native is a 1976 graduate of Tennessee State University, where she enjoyed a successful collegiate career. Prior to joining the Tigerbells at TSU, she was a member of the Mayor Daley Youth Foundation Track Club and placed 2nd in the 80 meter hurdles at the 1967 Pan American Games and made the 1968 USA Olympic Team.

In 1969 she was the number one 100-meter hurdler in the world.

Rallins entered TSU in 1971 and continued her success making the 1972 USA Olympic Team. Rallins was a two-time Olympian (1968 and 1972). She was an All-American in 1972, 1973 and 1974 in the 100-meter hurdles. She was under the tutelage of Coach Edward Temple at Tennessee State University.

As coach, Rallins steered the Hampton University Lady Pirates to two Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) Championships including indoor and outdoor track and field. She also coached two HU student-athletes who qualified for the 2002 NCAA Track and Field Championships, one of whom earn All-American status in the 400-meter hurdles.

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