March 31, 2004
STANFORD, Calif. - For eight decades Payton Jordan has devoted his life to the sport of track and field. In honor of his outstanding achievements and contributions, the US Open track meet at Stanford is being re-named in his honor. The event will be titled the "Coach Payton Jordan US Open." and will take place at 11:30am on Memorial Day, May 31, 2004.
The Track & Field Foundation organizes this annual USA Track & Field Golden Spike tour event which brings international track superstars to Stanford's Cobb Track & Angell Field. Since its inception in 2000, the US Open has established itself as a premier stop on the international IAAF Grand Prix tour. More than 75 Olympians from dozens of countries have competed at the event and in 2001 Stacy Dragila set two world records in the pole vault. 2004 will be no exception as Americans tune up for the Olympic Trials and foreigners test themselves against the world's best.
As an track athlete at the University of Southern California, Payton Jordan was a scorer on the 1938 Trojan NCAA championship team and captained the squad in a repeat NCAA championship in 1939. In 1938, he ran on a 440-yard relay team that set a world record of 40.5; the mark stood for 16 years. In 1939, Payton played on the Trojan football team that beat Duke 7-3 in the Rose Bowl.
Coach Jordan also achieved amazing success as a masters sprinter. He set the world record in the 100 meters for every age group from 55 to 80.
During his 23 years as Stanford's coach (1957-1979), Payton produced seven Olympians, six world record holders and six national champions. In the height of the Cold War, he was meet director of the 1962 USA vs. USSR dual meet which drew over 150,000 fans to the two-day event. Coach also brought the 1960 U.S. Olympic Trials to Stanford and was Head Coach of the 1968 U.S. Olympic Team, considered one of the finest ever fielded (the team garnered a record 24 medals, 12 of them gold, in Mexico City).
Prior to Stanford, Payton coached for ten years at Occidental where he guided the team to two NAIA track and field championships and ten league titles. One of his athletes, Bob Gutowski, set a world record in the pole vault.
"I am overwhelmed and deeply grateful to be honored by my old school," said Coach Jordan from his Santa Barbara home. "It is a wonderful feeling to know that you are still remembered. It is a great honor to be connected to a meet that is so important to the sport."
Coach Jordan turned 86 on March 19, 2004 and is currently writing a book about his career. He and his wife Marge have been married for 64 years.
Payton is a member of these Halls of Fame: Stanford, USA Track & Field, Mt. Sac Relays, Occidental College, USC, and NAIA, among others. He was awarded the Dwight D. Eisenhower Fitness Award by the U.S. Sports Academy in 1999.
Tickets to the 2004 event will be available at the Stanford Athletic Ticket office after April 12th by calling 1-800-STANFORD.