Carleton College mourns the loss of Bill Huyck ’53

NORTHFIELD, Minnesota – Carleton College is saddened to announce the passing of former coach Willard “Bill” Huyck ’5390 years old, died on November 16, 2022.

Huyck graduated from Carleton in 1953, having participated in football, wrestling and baseball. He enrolled in the Naval Officer Candidate School and served as a naval aviator (navigator and bombardier) stationed on an aircraft carrier in the Mediterranean. After his military service, he returned to Carleton in 1957 to earn his teaching credentials and to work as a part-time assistant football coach. In 1958, he joined the full-time staff and eventually served as head coach of the cross country, hockey, and indoor and outdoor track and field programs.

During his coaching tenure at Carleton, his teams won 13 Midwest Conference titles in cross country, seven more in indoor track and three more in outdoor track.

He was director of the men’s physical education department for a time and served as acting director of athletics. He spent the 1964-65 academic year as a counselor and coach in Egypt on a scholarship from the US State Department.

He retired to serve as Dean of Admissions for Carleton from 1977 to 1979. A year after returning to coaching, his 1980 cross country team won the 1980 NCAA Championships, at that day the only Knights team to win an NCAA national crown. It was 1 of its 8 cross country teams to finish in the top 10 at the NCAA Championships.

In 1984, Huyck left Carleton to become athletic director at Sewanee University (now known as Southern University) and led its men’s and women’s athletic programs until his retirement in 1995. His retirement, however, was short-lived, as he and his family returned. at Northfield where he served a semester as acting athletic director of St. Olaf College before retiring again.

This second retirement, like the first, did not last long, as Carleton’s cross country and track and field head coaches, Donna and Dave Rick invited Huyck to join his team in 1997 as an assistant coach. In this part-time role, he continued to coach until 2021.

Not only were Huyck’s teams a powerhouse in the Midwest Conference (where Carleton maintained his athletic membership before moving to the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference in 1983), he coached 16 Carleton student-athletes to 33 All-Citations. American. These include Dale Kramer ’78, who won four individual national titles in track and field and cross country; Mike Steiner ’69, who recorded the fastest mile time in what was then known as the NCAA College Division (essentially all non-Division I schools); Rick Bolin ’86, who was a two-time NCAA championship runner-up in the decathlon; Kristi Colbenson ’05, All-American in javelin and heptathlon; and Kelly Lovett ’11, a three-time All-American in the javelin throw and 2011 national champion.

Huyck loved athletics and dedicated his life to helping others achieve their dreams not only on the field, but also in their education, career and personal development.

And he had a sense of humor. When his men’s cross-country team won the NCAA championships in 1980, he told his team, “Quick, guys! Load up the vans, grab the trophy, and get the hell out of here before they do. add the score and find out we didn’t really win!”

Huyck published 14 articles in technical journals, two of which were cited in the Encyclopedia of Track and Field. He served two terms as chairman of the NCAA Division III Athletics Committee, was president of the NCAA Division III Cross Country Association, and was secretary of the coaches association. Division III runway. He served as chief inspector (now known as chief umpire) at 19 NCAA Division I indoor track and field championships in Detroit, and referee for 26 NCAA Division III championships in the different NCAA.

Through his association with Fred Wilt, a well-known track and field coach, Huyck taught at five major coaching schools in the United States run by the United States Olympic Committee and at four coaching schools run by the International Association of athletics federations (IAAF) in Puerto Rico, Mexico and Jordan. In addition to his year in Egypt, Huyck’s other international experiences include coaching teams in Portugal for three months in 1973, Canada for part of two summers, and the US Sports Festival in 1983.

Bill was inducted into the Carleton College ‘C’ Club Athletic Hall of Fame in 1979, the Minnesota Track & Field Hall of Fame in 2010, and the University of the South Athletic Hall of Fame in 2019. The cross country championship course at Carleton was renamed in honor of Huyck in 2019.

The family plans to hold a memorial event in Northfield in the spring of 2023 for friends, family and alumni.

Click here for a more detailed obituary of his family.

Memories of Coach Huyck can be written on the College Farewell page.

Rewatch the Bill Huyck Celebration / 1980 Men’s Cross Country reunion on YouTube.


Bill Huyck (left) chats with current Carleton head coach Dave Ricks during a meet

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