Track and Field is one of the oldest sports, having been around since 776 B.C. In ancient Greece, the Olympics was started to coordinate with religious events and celebrations for their Greek gods. The event consisted of only men where they could show off their athletic abilities. The religious festival idea spread to the Romans. The Romans continued the games until the Christian Emperor, Theodosius I, banned the Olympic idea because of their ties to pagan beliefs.
Track and field has a long history. However, track and field did not gain popularity until the 1860s. In 1866, England held the first track and field championships. The competition consisted of male amateurs only. The winners received no financial compensation. The same concept as today as the International Olympic Committee does not give prize money to Olympic winners. In 1896, Athens hosted the first-ever athletic festival of the Olympic games. The games in Athens were the first occurrence of the modern Olympic Games, which consisted of all male athletes from different countries. Sadly, track and field events were not open to women until 1922 by the Amateur Athletic Union. In 1928, track and field was finally opened to women at the Summer Olympic Games.
The first track and field games included sprint races, long jump, discus, shot put, and javelin. The same events continue in today’s track and field. Also, the determination of the Greek athletes in track and field continues through the will of track and field athletes from all over the world today. Certainly, the athletes of ancient Greece lacked today’s modern technology. They were coached based on observational skills and trained by trial and error. The attitudes and desires of these athletes and coaches are the same desired willingness and philosophy of the track and field enthusiasts today.
The modern version of the Greek warriors of track and field athleticism are our own Brian Patton and his track and field coaching staff at Greenville University. Track and field history repeats itself by looking at the amazing accomplishments of Brian Patton. Since 1994, Patton has been serving as the head men’s and women’s track and field coach at Greenville University. The love of track and field and desire to do his best in this field of opportunity shows in his unending accomplishments. The Greenville University’s Men’s Track and Field Team has been crowned NCCAA National Champions 10 times and national invitational champions twice. Patton’s staff have received 10 NCAA National Coach of the Year awards. Coach Patton was inducted into the NCCAA Hall of Fame for his outstanding leadership and service to the NCCAA in 2019. In 2020, Patton became the first active Greenville coach to be inducted into the Greenville Athletic Hall of Fame. Amazingly, Patton is a 26-time recipient of the SLIAC Cross Country Coach of the Year Award as well. Scott Wilson, the assistant coach of GU Track and Field, has been coaching collegiately for 25 years and highly rates Coach Patton in his work ethic and dedication. Wilson sincerely expresses, “Coach Patton is a successful coach because he cares for both the athletes on the team and their performances.”
This energizer bunny of track and field and Christian mentor has persuaded more athletes to follow his positive path of life. Coach Wilson expresses, “Coach Patton has a ‘can do’ attitude, and he will do what is necessary to get the job done. He leads by example, and he builds relationships with each person so that each person feels valued.” Coach Brian Patton’s positive attitude to help others in need goes way beyond his track and field duties. Patton’s mentoring off the field in digital media at Greenville University not only brings the track and field news to light, but encourages the personal growth of those that write about his track and field persistence. Track and field athleticism will continue through history, but it is Coach Patton and his staff that will mark history in the personal accomplishments and dreams of those they have touched.
Media by Seth Isringhausen.