Herald Examiner Photo
THE MAKER OF CHAMPIONS
WITH FIVE OF HIS OLYMPIANS
Dean Cromwell, who died
last night at 82, is shown as head coach of 1948 Olympic
Team and five of his beloved Trojans which competed in
London. From left, Roland Sink, Bob Chambers, Cromwell,
Cliff Bourland, Wilbur Thompson, and Mel Patton.
Thompson won shot put and Patton 200 meters during Olympic
Dean Cromwell, 82, Dies
Famed SC 'Maker of
By Dwain Esper
Reprint of article
appearing in the (? Los Angeles Herald Examiner?) on
note -- some sentences are
unreadable due to tears and fading of text.
An immeasurable void exists today in
the sports world.
Dean Bartlett Cromwell is dead.
The Maker of Champions, who
personally sculpted one of the great dynasties in sports
history, passed away last night while watching the College
All Star-Green Bay Packer football game on television.
In ill health since March 22 when he
suffered a coronary thrombosis, Cromwell was 82 at the
time of his death.
His wife Gertrude was with him at
the end. A fire department rescue squad was unable
to revive him, and he was pronounced death by Dr. Ervin C.
A perfectionist to the extreme,
Cromwell built the University of Southern California into
such a track and field power that his critics cried he was
ruining the sport.
Taking over as head coach in 1909,
he never failed to produce an Olympic champion through the
next 40 years until his retirement at the conclusion of
the 1948 season.
In 1933 his teams embarked on a
winning streak that encountered disaster only because
World War II depleted Trojan manpower.
During that fruitful decade Cromwell
lost only one dual meet, that to a San Francisco Olympic
Club squad, bolstered with a plethora of post-collegiate
talent in 1937. But he squared that score many times
thereafter with overwhelming victories over the Bay Area
Club from 1938 through 1941.
Following the 1924 season he rolled
over California 18 consecutive times.
Even arch-rival Stanford which had
given him much trouble in the twenties, fell with
regularity when he ... (?) his powerhouses of the
He never lost to UCLA. And in
his time, the Occidental meet was conducted on handicap
basis with the Trojans giving away yards to their
In no other (?) was dominated (?
Cromwell won (...?) consecutive NCAA
meets. So overwhelming were his triumphs in the once
formidable IC4A championships that he was politely asked
to withdraw from the association. From 1928 through
his retirement (1948) he never lost a Pacific Coast
Southern California became a
world-wide name in track and field. The Trojans were
strong enough to win an Olympic Games all by themselves
under Cromwell's guidance.
The Dean, as he was
affectionately known in athletic circles, though only in
terms of victory.
Often he would develop key men
slowly so that they reached their peek in the critical
championship meets. Then they would surprise their
opposition by scoring clutch points as the Trojans rolled
to another triumph.
Cromwell's aggregations set scoring
records in both the NCAA and IC4A meets. Often his
athletes joined southland clubs to record equally vital
points in the AAU championships. This was especially
true in the days of the Los Angeles Athletic Club and the
Southern California Athletic Association.
Dozens of Trojans established world
records. Scores more achieved championship in AAU,
NCAA, IC4A and PCC competition.
The list seems unending.
But the first one was Fred
Kelly, who won the 1912 Olympic high hurdle
"He was the man,"
Cromwell used to say ... "who put the University of
Southern California on the map."
Photo: Frank Wykoff
And how Dean Cromwell of the
University of Southern California ... (... ?)
"Isn't it wonderful,"
he would say ..."that this small Methodist
institution produced so many world champions?"
Conversely, Cromwell had little use
for any school which threatened SC's domination in track
Prior to one important meet with
Stanford, he advised his troops:
"Tomorrow you will be
performing at Stanford, where tradition lurks behind every
eucalyptus tree. It would be most befitting that you
as Trojans, achieve your utmost."
And SC went out to score another
One of Cromwell's most famous pupils
was the late Charlie Paddock, who shattered
all the sprint records in the post-World War II era.
Paddock came to Cromwell with a fine
high school background. He had a habit of leaping
through the air when he neared the tape. Some called
it showboat tactics.
Cromwell refused to break Paddock's
pattern of running.
"If the gentleman whishes to
break world records that way, what is a poor track coach
The climax to the Dean's incredible
career occurred in 1948 when he was named as head coach of
the United States Olympic team, an honor some said came
much to late.
However, he accepted the position
graciously and guided the Americans to a rousing victory
at London. Significantly, five Trojans joined him in
this last venture, three capturing gold medals -- Mel
Patton in the 200 meters. Wilbur Thompson in the
shot put, and Cliff Bourland in the 1600 meter relay.
Following his retirement, Cromwell
spent the last years attending different sporting events.
He was a life member of the Southern California Football
Writers Association and loved the sport.
Of course, he also was a devotee of
horse racing and often had a sly wink for associates when
a long shot came through.
A touch of genius remained as
late as 1956 when he was appointed head coach of the Armed
Forces track team.
He inherited a middle distance
runner named Tom Courtney, who had spent
three previous years eating the dust of Arnie Sowell in
the half mile.
When the Olympic tryouts loomed,
Cromwell was asked how he thought Courtney would do
against the flashy Sowell.
"I don't think Courtney will
beat Sowell, I KNOW, Courtney will beat Sowell."
Courtney himself was startled with
Yet on the day of the meet with
Cromwell delivering instructions right to the starting
line, Courtney set sail and won the race going away.
Thereafter, he never lost to his nemesis again.
It was all part of Cromwell's
philosophy. He refused to be associated with
anything less than a champion.
E-Mail concerning Coach Dean Cromwell
August 20, 2004 2:35
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Dean B Cromwell III
Other pages on this web site
Coach Dean Cromwell
Charley W. Paddock
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