Editor’s note: This summer, Star columnist Greg Hansen is counting down the top 10 of just about everything related to Tucson sports.
Today’s list: the top 10 track and field athletes from Tucson high schools.
On the night James D. “Doc’’ Van Horne retired from coaching in 1953, Tucson High School honored him at the school’s auditorium.
A story in the next day’s Star reported that “the smiling little man with the specs received an ovation that shook the rafters and could be heard out on the track.’’
That was fitting for the longtime chemistry teacher from small town Manson, Iowa, who coached the Badgers to 13 state track and field championships in 27 years.
“There is no doubt Doc is the dean of coaches in the state,’’ said Tucson principal Andy Tolson. (About 20 years later, TUSD named an elementary school after Van Horne).
Van Horne was in the right place at the right time when the Batiste brothers — Joe, Frank and Fred — became the state’s leading track and field athletes over a 12-year period in which the Badgers won 11 state titles from 1938-49.
Since Van Horne’s retirement, only three boys track and field coaches in Tucson have won multiple state championships: Tucson High’s Don Anderson in 1970 and 1971; Santa Rita’s Bill Bland in 1979 and 1981; and Amphitheater’s Raul Nido in 1985 and 1987.
Here’s our list of the Top 10 track and field athletes from Tucson high schools: