Robertsville track complex named for coach Winston Russell
More than 90 people recently turned out for a ceremony honoring former coach Winston Russell.
The Robertsville Middle School Athletic Complex is now the Coach Winston Russell Track and Field. Speakers at the event shared stories about Russell as he and his wife Nancy listened and laughed with them. Russell’s distinguished career included coaching at Robertsville and Oak Ridge High School, as well as competing in athletic events for the University of Tennessee.
Robertsville Middle School athletic director Scott Hinton led the event on Wednesday, May 4.
“We’re paying homage to a true Oak Ridge legend here,” Hinton said. “He’s an icon in the community.”
The day also featured comments from Robertsville Middle School Principal Kirk Renegar, Oak Ridge School Board Chairman Keys Fillauer, Oak Ridge High School Principal Garfield Adams, Head Football Coach retired Oak Ridge High School Joe Gaddis and RMS County coach David Scott.
Welding students from Oak Ridge High School made the panel in Russell’s honor as part of a project organized by Todd Livesay.
The plaque gives details of Russell’s life and career. He attended Robertsville Junior High School and Oak Ridge High School in the 1950s, graduating from ORHS in 1959.
Russell competed in hurdles, relays, high jumps and sprints as part of the Wildcats track team.
The plaque called him a “key component” of ORHS’ three state championship teams for track and field.
Later, at the University of Tennessee, he captained the 1963 and 1964 teams, won the Southeast Conference indoor and outdoor championships, and set nine records for UT athletics.
He then returned to Oak Ridge as a physical education teacher and coach for RJHS.
“It was like a dream come true,” Russell said of returning to the Oak Ridge school system. “I knew how good the system was at Oak Ridge.”
He was RJHS head football coach from 1966 to 1988 and head track coach from 1966 to 1989. He also served as the school’s assistant basketball coach from 1966 to 1973. During Russell’s time there The school changed its name from Robertsville Junior High School to Robertsville Middle School. .
“It’s a big part of my life where we hang out. It means so much to me,” he told the crowd at the new RMS athletics complex. He thanked those involved in his endorsement and dedication.
At ORHS, he was an assistant football coach from 1989 to 2002, before joining the Wildcat football coaching staff in 2009. He was an assistant track coach from 1989 to 2011.
The Oak Ridge Sports Hall of Fame inducted him in 1990. He received the Tennessee CareActer Assistant Coach of the Year award in 2017.
Ben Pounds is a reporter for The Oak Ridger. Call him at (865) 441-2317, follow him on Twitter @Bpoundsjournal and email him at [email protected]