Track coach inducted into Hall of Fame

Jacob Lane · Tuesday, December 12, 2017
“In 1980 I was at the Drake Relays as a coach, Jesse Owens entered the stadium through the tunnel and walked to the south platform. I’ll never forget what he said,” says Ron Maxson.

“We all applaud the athlete that came in first with a pat on the back, but don’t forget the athlete who came in last, because they ran the race also,” he says “Give them a pat on the back.”

This has been the philosophy Maxson used as head coach of the West Liberty Track and Field team, a position he held for more than 30 years from 1970 to the 2000s.

On Saturday, Dec. 2, in the Gateway Center in Ames, Iowa, Coach Maxson was inducted into the Iowa Association of Track Officials Hall of Fame.

“It was a shock to me, a total shock, when I heard my name in regard to being nominated,” said Maxson,“I just couldn’t believe it.”

Maxson, now a certified USA Track & Field official, was inducted in front of a crowd of over 260 people at the Iowa Association of Track Coaches/Officials Clinic and Banquet.

His accolades as a coach and as an official are numerous, so numerous it was more than enough to place him by some of the biggest names in the sport.

“The Iowa Association of Track coaches/officials award section on the internet reads like a who’s who of outstanding individuals and outstanding officials,” he says.

West Liberty achieved 10 Eastern Iowa Hawkeye Conference titles, 8 Individual Event State Meet Championships and many winners at the Drake Relays under Maxson.

He also coached 8th grade football for 43 years, 8th grade basketball for 45 years and continues to be an assistant junior high boy track coach for junior high track.

And just because he can’t get enough, he’s a score keeper for Comet varsity, junior varsity and Junior high basketball games. This is his 49th year for that.

In fact, Maxson has had such a huge impact on West Liberty sports that the annual West Liberty Invitation Meet was renamed the “Ron Maxson Relays” in 2004.

So why Track and Field?

“I think there’s an event for everyone, there’s an event for you as a long distance runner, an event for me as a shot-putter, there’s an event for the kid that runs distance,” he says.

“There’s around 18 events, you’d be pretty hard pressed on many teams to not get an athlete into one event every meet,” he adds. “I enjoy coaching, I love it.”

However, Ron Maxson’s coaching is only part of his Track and Field career. He’s in his second term as a member of the Iowa Association of Track Officials board.

He’s been an official for 18 years. He helps run state of Iowa high school meets, Division I, II, and III national championships, the Drake Relays, Iowa State meets and Big 12 Conference indoor championships.

He’ll be involved with the Kansas Relays in 2018, is currently the head umpire for the University of Iowa and was the head umpire of the 2011 Big 10 outdoor championships on Iowa City.

The list really does go on and on.

During the Hall of Fame induction Maxson’s entire family was present, including his wife Mary, sons Mark and Kent, sister Judie and brother Larry.

It wasn’t easy talking in front of a room of more than 250 people. Mason was the first to admit it was “rough.”

However, he thanked the Iowa Association of Track Officials for inducting him and talked about the men who were instrumental in his officiating.

One of those men was John Lowery, a Hall of Fame official who got Maxson into officiating in 2000 after he retired.

“He said to me in 2000, ‘Ron, you need to get into officiating as you’re no longer going to coach high school boys track,’ and I did!” says Maxson.

Ron Maxson’s awards are numerous over his storied career: Who’s Who Among Teachers in 1994 and 1998, Warren E Shull Advisor of the Year in 1992, advisor of the “Honor Student Council of Iowa” 12 times.

He is a three time recipient of the Don Taft Memorial Junior High Award for coaching junior high football and received the Iowa Association of Track Coaches “25 Year Award.”

It’s been quite a career for the West Liberty man. Back in April, 2016, more than 30 former West Liberty track members gathered at the Ron Maxson Relays.

They gave a glimpse into what it was like to be coached by the man, and the impact he had on their lives.

The induction into the Iowa Association of Track Officials Hall of Fame was just the icing on the cake for Coach and Official Ron Maxson.

“Some days are roses and some days are stones in regards to coaching track and field, as well as everything else in life,” he says.
More News
©2018 West Liberty Index | Web Development by Brian McMillin, LLC