KALAMAZOO, Mich.—George Dales, the most successful coach in Western Michigan University athletic history, died in Kalamazoo Sept. 27. He was 96.
Dales was a track and field and cross country coach who led his teams to two of only three national championships ever won by Mid-American Conference teams. The beloved Bronco coach came to WMU in 1953, retired from his Bronco coaching positions in 1970, and remained a professor at WMU until his 1987 retirement. He was a legend in collegiate and Olympic sports. On campus, he was revered by generations of Broncos.
“George impacted countless lives and was a world-renowned ambassador for the sports of cross country and track and field. Though he will be terribly missed, his legacy of work for the sport internationally at the Olympic and collegiate levels, as well as his two national championships at Western Michigan will live on,” said WMU Athletic Director Kathy Beauregard. “George was a great coach and a great teacher. He had the ability to motivate young men and women to truly believe that they could accomplish anything in life. Coach Dales was able to push students to be not only better athletes, but better individuals. He helped people achieve their unforeseen dreams.”
Dales’ Broncos earned 25 All-American honors, producing 11 in track and field and another 14 in cross country. Dales’ 1964 and 1965 NCAA championship teams were inducted into WMU’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 2009, becoming the first entire teams—rather than individuals—inducted.
Dales never experienced a losing season at WMU, compiling an impressive career 113-35 record in dual track meets and 79-13-1 in cross country. Dales ended his coaching career with the winningest record in MAC history from the standpoint of team victories. His teams—both cross country and track—never finished lower than third in the conference.
Read the entire article at WMich.edu.