Bud Winter coached at San Jose State University from 1944 – 1974 and was responsible for the legendary “Speed City” in the mid 1960’s.
In total, he produced 1 NCAA Championship, 49 NCAA records, and 27 Olympians including including Tommie Smith, Lee Evans, John Carlos, Ronnie Ray Smith, and Ray Norton, just to name a few. He also coached Greece’s Chris Papanicolaou, the first man to pole vault 18 feet.
So what do Bud Winter and Usain Bolt have in Common?
It appears Bud Winter went to Jamaica for a series of seminars back in 1966. In attendance was a young man from Kingston named Glen Mills.
Glen Mills would later become Usain Bolt’s coach after the 2004 Athens Olympics, and the rest is history in Beijing 2008.
Here is the article from the jamaica-gleaner.com on August 21, 2008.
IN 1966, the famed American track coach Bud Winter came to Jamaica for a series of seminars. One of his students was a young man from Kingston named Glen Mills.
Dennis Johnson, the Jamaican sprinter and Olympian, organised those seminars. He said they had a lasting impression on Mills.
“Mills is more Bud than Bud himself,” Johnson said.
For most of his career
as one of Jamaica’s top track coaches, Glen Mills has demanded that his athletes “relax under the pressure of combat”. That’s the gospel according to Bud Winter.
Bolt a sensation
Nowhere was that method more evident than at the Olympics in Beijing, China, where sprinter Usain Bolt, Mills’ star charge, has been a sensation. Bolt won the sprint double, setting world records in both.
Last Saturday, he ran 9.69 seconds in the 100, erasing his 9.72 set in May. Yesterday, he lowered American Michael Johnson’s 12-year record of 19.32 seconds with an amazing 19.30 run for the 200.
Mills took over as Bolt’s coach in 2004, shortly after the Olympics in Athens, Greece. In May, the prodigious promise Bolt showed as a junior exploded with a record-breaking 9.72 seconds run over 100 metres at the Reebok grand prix meet in New York.
His run shocked the track world, but not Dennis Johnson.
“Mills is the best technician you have in the world. When Mills has a good athlete, it’s a beauty to behold,” Johnson told The Gleaner.
Long time coming
The limelight has been a long time coming for Mills, who has been part of the national coaching set-up since the early 1970s. He earned that call thanks to his enviable record as a sprint coach at his alma mater Camperdown High School.
He gained international attention during the 1980s when one of his charges was a gangly sprinter named Raymond Stewart, a product of the Camperdown track programme.
Stewart reached the final of the 100 metres at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles while still a teenager. American Carl Lewis, another wunderkind, won that race and went on to take the sprint double, a feat unmatched until Bolt’s spectacular heroics in Beijing.
Wanted to be a sprinter
Glen Mills actually wanted to be a sprinter but did not have the goods to make the team at Camperdown, the east Kingston school that produced superstar sprinter Donald Quarrie.
He turned to coaching as a teenager and, over the years, has been Jamaica’s senior coach to the Olympics and World Championships.
At a Gleaner Editor’s Forum in December 2006, Mills said it was full time that the Government and private sector invest financially in track and field.
“Jamaica stands about number three in the world in sprinting. That’s extraordinary!” he exclaimed. “We can always win more medals.”