NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Community leaders are remembering former Tennessee State University track and field coach Ed Temple, who died Thursday night.
Temple led the U.S. women’s team to 16 Olympic gold medals and helped break down racial and gender barriers within the sport.
“I am saddened to hear the news of Coach Temple’s passing. I knew him for close to two decades from his time with the Sports Authority, where he provided important input through the years. His significant contributions to so many different groups are legendary. I always enjoyed my conversations with him and admired his sense of humor. He had such a great way about him, I could see how he was able to connect with his athletes and help them reach the heights that they did. We also feel for Tennessee State University for the loss of such an iconic figure. As an organization, our thoughts are with Coach Temple’s family and all of those who he touched through a lifetime of success,” said Titans President Steve Underwood.
Tennessee Board of Regents Chancellor David Gregory issued the following statement Friday.
“We at the Tennessee Board of Regents are deeply saddened at the passing of Coach Ed Temple. For more than four decades, he led Tennessee State University athletes, including of course his Tigerbelles. But Coach Temple’s role extended far beyond the track: as his many players attest, he was a caring mentor to them and other students as well. Even after his retirement, he continued to represent TSU. Ed Temple represented all that is good with college athletics. He emphasized excellence in athletics, academics and in life. His former athletes are a testament to his mentorship. Nashville and Tennessee are better places that he was here. Our deepest sympathy to his family and to the TSU community.”
U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper also issued a statement on the passing of the legendary coach.
“Ed Temple was one of the greatest coaches of any sport in history,” Rep. Cooper said. “His TSU Tigerbelles, including the legendary Wilma Rudolph, set the standard for track and field. Coach Temple broke barriers and made history from Nashville to the Olympics. What an amazing life, what an amazing man.”
In 2012, he was inducted into the U.S. Olympics Hall of Fame, and last year, a statue honoring Coach Temple was unveiled along a greenway in downtown Nashville.
Nashville Mayor Megan Barry issued a statement as well.
“Coach Ed Temple was a legendary leader who brought the women of Tennessee State University’s track and field program to the world stage, breaking down gender and racial barriers in the process. He was also passionate about a lot of other things besides athletics: All 40 of the Olympians from his TSU program graduated with a college degree. Coach Temple was in a league of his own as a coach and teacher, and Nashville will miss him dearly.”
Tennessee State University President Glenda Glover issued the following statement.
“Words cannot in any fashion or manner express how deeply saddened we are over the loss of our beloved Ed Temple. The TSU family has truly lost a precious gem and contributor to the history and legacy that is TSU. Most importantly, our hearts go out to his family. Coach Temple was a global icon in the world of track and field. His accomplishments are unparalleled and continue to resonate even today on our campus and with any organization participating in the sport. Of the 40 athletes Coach Temple trained and had participate in the Olympics, 100 percent of them received college degrees. This speaks to his greatness and impact. He was a legend of a man. I am so very thankful and proud of all he did for the university. Tennessee State will always remember Ed Temple, the man and the coach.”