Saluki Athletics opens Lew Hartzog Track and Field Complex and Connie Price-Smith Throws Area

    Lew Hartzog coached 90 All-Americans, seven NCAA champions and won 22 Missouri Valley Conference titles.

    Lew Hartzog coached 90 All-Americans, seven NCAA champions and won 22 Missouri Valley Conference titles.

    March 29, 2013

    Photo Gallery

    By Tyler Wooten

    CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Southern Illinois University dedicated its newest additions to its athletics facilities, the Lew Hartzog Track and Field Complex and Connie Price-Smith Throws Area, at the complex on Friday with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and speeches by SIU administration, as well as former and current coaches and athletes.

    The new facility, built east of Abe Martin Field, houses a state-of-the-art track, a 4,500 square foot building for locker rooms and a top-of-the-line throwing area -- now named after head coach and four-time Olympian Connie Price-Smith.

    Festivities were emceed by Saluki Hall of Fame broadcaster Mike Reis, who reiterated the progression of Saluki Athletics from the arcane McAndrew Stadium to the current facilities in his opening statement.

    "The list of benefits from the demise of McAndrew Stadium is quite a long list, and the end of Saluki track and field competing at McAndrew is big on that list," Reis said. "The building of and the dedication of the Lew Hartzog Track and Field Complex and the Connie Price-Smith Throws Area are historic days for the two teams that are arguably two of SIU's most historic teams ever."

    "Conference champions, national champions, All-Americans and Olympians have all competed for Southern and Hall of Fame coaches have also worked here, and we now have a facility more fitting of Saluki Track and Field's past and more able to help its future as of today," Reis finished.

    A total of six SIU administrators and Saluki track and field members gave brief speeches. First up was SIU Chancellor Rita Cheng:

    "Saluki Way is an investment," Cheng said. "It's an investment in our students, our University and in the region. The men and women of athletics deserve first-class facilities. That's also true for our students, faculty and staff across the campus."

    "Before and after pictures tell the story, and these great facilities will support SIU Athletics for many years to come," Cheng said.

    The Chancellor was followed by Director of Athletics Mario Moccia, whose execution of the Saluki Way project has led to the production and renovation of these new athletics facilities across campus.

    "Today is a day that is long over due," Moccia said. "Our track and field program has an unbelievably rich history of national champions, record holders and Olympians, and it's very gratifying that we not only have a state of the art track and throws area now, but that it will be named after two Saluki greats."

    Tess Shubert, a senior hurdler for the Salukis, represented the current generation of track and field at Southern Illinois to show their gratitude for the facility and the program.

    "My freshman year, our head coach Connie Price-Smith told me, 'You will not be the same when you leave this program,'" Shubert said. "Four years later, I understand what Coach Connie meant. The SIU track and field program impacts so many athletes and more importantly, students. The confidence and encouragement of the program, its donors, coaches, trainers and supporters motivates us as athletes and students to challenge ourselves both on and off the field."

    David Lee, a former Saluki track and field star and Hartzog product who won the 1980 NCAA outdoor championship in the 400 meter hurdles, returned to Carbondale to speak on his coach's behalf.

    "Lew, I am so happy to be here for this celebration," Lee said. "I love you to death."

    "(Hartzog's) goal every single year was to win the Missouri Valley Championship," Lee said. "He wanted SIU to be on the map. Every single year that was his goal to do that, and that's why we are dedicating this place to Lew."

    Current head coach and four-time Olympian Connie Price-Smith also had a portion of the facility named after her. Price-Smith never performed under Hartzog, but her resume says it all: four-time Olympian, six Olympic trials titles, a fifth-place finish at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic games, an indoor shot put silver medal at the Indoor World Championships in 1995 (Barcelona), and a two-time Olympic throws coach in 2008 (Beijing) and 2012 (London) -- not to mention her numerous coaching accomplishments at Southern. The facility is the first on the campus of Southern Illinois University to be named after an African-American woman.

    "I am humbled and honored to have a facility named after me, and I'm very pleased that we could name this facility after Lew," Price-Smith said.

    The namesake of the brand-new facility, Lew Hartzog, returned to Carbondale from his home in South Carolina to witness his storied legacy be cemented on the campus.

    "You can't believe the pleasures I've gotten out of the guys that are out here," Hartzog said. "Great athletes, they were fantastic."

    "I think about SIU all the time," Hartzog continued. "It gave me the opportunity to do some things I wanted to do, and I was lucky enough to have those things happen."

    "I wouldn't have my name on anything if (the athletes) hadn't been so great, and that's the most important thing of all," Hartzog said. "I don't think I would have gone through the trouble of getting back here except I knew that they were going to be here and that's the reason. That's why you do it all."

    Lew Hartzog Career Notes

    • Saluki Track and Field head coach from 1960-84; Cross Country head coach from 1960-82; Men's Golf coach from 1986-92.

    • Southern Illinois Director of Athletics from 1981-85.

    • Between Track and Cross Country, coached 90 All-Americans, 14 Olympians, 12 NCAA Runners-Up and seven NCAA champions.

    • Two-time NCAA National Coach of the Year (1982, '84).
• 22 MVC Championships between cross country and indoor and outdoor track.
• 19-time MVC Coach of the Year (Track and Golf).

    • Led SIU to three top-ten team finishes at the NCAA National Meet (SIU has five in its history).

    • Member of five different Halls of Fame: Drake Relays (1987), Southern Illinois (1987), Illinois Track Coaches (1988), Missouri Valley Conference (2003), and USTFCCCA (2007).

    Connie Price-Smith Career Notes
• Saluki Track and Field head coach from 2004 to present; Saluki Women's Track and Field coach from 2001-04.

    • Four-time MVC Women's Coach of the Year (2005 & 2009 indoor, 2009 & 2010 outdoor)
• Five MVC team championships (2005 & 2009 women's indoor, 2009 & 2010 women's outdoor, 2012 men's indoor)

    • Coached 51 All-Americans and five NCAA national champions.

    • Coached 148 MVC champions and 14 MVC Most Valuable Athletes.

    • Four-time Olympian (1988, 1992, 1996, 2000)

    • 18 Outdoor national titles, six indoor titles and six Olympic trials titles as a post-collegiate thrower.

    • MVC Hall of Fame (2012)
• SIU Athletics Hall of Fame (1990)

    • SIU Distinguished Alumni Award (2001)

    • SIU Administrative/Professional Woman of Distinction (2007)