Indiana Athletics is in mourning this week as inaugural member of the Indiana Athletics Hall of Fame Milt Campbell lost a long battle with prostate cancer on Fri., Nov. 2.
The 1956 Olympic Gold medalist in the decathlon was an NCAA champion in the hurdles for Indiana and was a standout for the football team as well for two years at IU. Campbell played professional football for seven years and earned an Olympicsilver medal in the decathlon in 1952 as a rising high school senior.
Indiana track and field director and head coach Ron Helmer said that Campbell should be remembered not just for his excellence in athletics but also for his contributions to the sport of track and field and to society as a trailblazer for African-Americans.
"The passing of Milt Campbell brings sadness to all who knew him and many who didn't but knew of his tremendous contributions to the sport of track and field, Indiana University and society as a whole," said Helmer. "I count myself among the second group and also count myself lucky to be directing a program that includes Milt Campbell and many others like him as a part of our incredible history. It is also important to note that at a time of great civil unrest in our country Mr. Campbell persevered to become the first African-American to win a gold medal in the Olympic decathlon after having found a home and support for his pursuit here at Indiana University. It is with sadness but great pride that we note and honor his passing."
Campbell was drafted by the Cleveland Browns in 1957 and spent one season playing in the same backfield as Jim Brown. He was the first African-American to win the Olympic Decathlon and won the NCAA high hurdles title in one year of collegiate track and field competition, in 1955.
Campbell was honored in the past year by the New Jersey Hall of Fame and the International Swimming Hall of Fame. He was also a special honorary guest of USA Track and Field at the U.S. Track and Field Olympic Trials this summer,where he met with current Indiana student-athletes. He was inducted to the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association Hall of Fame in 1997 and in 2000, the New Jersey Sportswriters Association named Campbell its New Jersey Athlete of the Century.
(From IU Athletics)