Dutch Warmerdam, Fresno State coaching legend and 'athlete of the centruy,' dies

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Dutch Warmerdam, Fresno State coaching legend and 'athlete of the centruy,' dies

Dutch Warmerdam, a California State University, Fresno Bulldogs legend who was considered one of the greatest American track and field athletes of all-time, died Tuesday, announced interim Athletic Director Scott Johnson.

At tonight’s men’s basketball game at Selland Arena, Warmerdam’s passing was announced and a moment of silence observed for the man who coached track at Fresno State for nearly 20 years and just this year was named Fresno State’s “Athlete of the Century.”

Warmerdam, who was 86, won the new honor in balloting by fans in April who were asked to select Fresno State’s 25 Greatest Athletes of the 20th Century.

Warmerdam was Fresno State’s track and field coach from 1961-80 but also starred as a Bulldog athlete.

During his career from 1938-42, Warmerdam became the first person ever to clear over 15 feet in the pole vault. In 1942, he set the world record in the pole vault with a 15′ 7-3/4″ mark. He was selected the top pole vaulter of the 20th century and voted the greatest track and field athlete of all-time in a 1955 UPI national poll.

The Fresno State track and field facility on Cedar Avenue at the west end of the campus bears Warmerdam’s name. He was retired and resided in Fresno at the time of his death.

Additional details will be made available Wednesday, said Steve Weakland, associate athletic director of media relations.