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JImmy Carnes, FTC Pioneer

The following bio - dated March 9, 1990 - was recently found in our club records. It celebrates our local legend Jimmy Carnes. Carnes passed away on March 5, 2011 after a three-and-a-half year battle with cancer at the age of 76. We honor Coach Carnes with an annual indoor track meet held at the O'Connell Center every January. The street adjacent to the UF Percy Beard Track is also named in his honor. Read on to learn about one of the founders of our club:

James J. (Jimmy) Carnes is currently President of Carnes Enterprises, Vice President of Athletic Attic Marketing, Inc., Executive Director of the Florida Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Amateur Sports, Co-Chairman of the USOC Games Site Selections and Training Center committee, and serves on the Executive Board of the International Special Olympics.  Carnes, a 54 year old native of Eatonton, Georgia, is high respected for his many years of service in sports administration throughout the United States.

In 1976, Carnes served as one of the assistant coaches of the United States Olympic Track team in Montreal.  He was selected as the Men’s Head Track and Field Coach for the 1980 Olympics.

Following graduation from Mercer University (1956) where he competed in basketball and track, Carnes began his coaching career at Druid Hills High School in Atlanta.  After six Georgia State High School Championships, he was named Head Track Coach of Furman University.  While at Furman, he captured the Southern Conference title in cross-country, indoor track and outdoor track.

In 1964, Carnes became the Head Track Coach at the University of Florida.  He led the Gators to two Indoor Southeastern Conference Championships, had a winning season every year and produced many all-Americans.  In twenty-years of coaching, his teams compiled an outstanding 161-11 won-loss record.

In 1977, Carnes was elected as the National Chairman of the AAU Men’s Track and Field.  During this tenure, The Athletics Congress (TAC) was formed and became the national governing body of track and field, long distance running and race walking.  Jimmy was elected as the first president and served in that capacity from 1979-1984.

Carnes was the founder of the Florida Track Club which placed several of its members in the 1972 and 1976 Olympic Games.  World Class athletes such as Frank Shorter, Dave Roberts, Marty Liquori, Jack Bachelor, Steve Williams, and Ron Jourdan have represented the club.

Along with his outstanding achievements in the area of track and field, Carnes has been the recipient of other noted honors. In 1967, he was named one of the twelve fitness leaders in the nation and was honored at the White House.  He was named Outstanding Young Educator of Florida in 1969 and 1970 by the Florida Jaycees and was named to the Mercer University Hall of Fame, University of Florida Hall of Fame, Georgia Sports Hall of Fame and Florida Sports Hall of Fame.

Carnes lives in Gainesville, Florida, the national headquarters of Athletic Attic Marketing, Inc.  Co-founded in 1972 with Marty Liquori, Athletic Attic is a chain of sporting goods stores located throughout the United States.

Carnes is married to the former Nanette Marshall Bell of Eatonton, Georgia and has four children: Jerry (29), Bob (27), Nancy (25), and John (22).

Special Recognitions and Selections

1958-1962: Named State of Georgia “Coach of the Year” six times in Track and Field

1962: Named to Druid Hills Hall of Fame

1967: Named “Outstanding Young Educator of Florida”

1967: Listed in U.S. Jaycees “Outstanding Young Men of America”

1967: Honored by President Johnson at the White House as one of the top 12 Physical Fitness Leaders in America

1968: Received distinguished service award “OutstandinYoung Man” of Gainesville, FL

1968: President of U.S. Track Coaches Association of Florida

1968: Served as Assistant Coach at U.S. Olympic Training site in preparation for the 1968 Olympics

1969: Assistant Director of National AAU

1969: Listed in “Personalities of the South”

1969: Elected Regional NCAA Cross Country Representative

1969: Tapped for membership in Florida Blue Key

1971: Assistant Coach of U.S. National Track and Field Team

1973: Head Coach of U.S. National Track and Field Team

1976: NCAA Region IV Coach of the Year

1976: Named to Mercer University Hall of Fame

1976: Assistant Coach of U.S. Olympic Men’s Track and Field Team

1977: NCAA Region IV Coach of the Year

1977: National Chairman of AAU Men’s Track and Field

1978: Head Coach of the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Team

1978: Re-elected National Chairman of Men’s Track and Field

1979: Executive Director of the Florida Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports

1979: President of The Athletics Congress USA

1981: Member of the Executive Board of the USOC

1982: Selected as one of the top 10 Fitness Leaders of the U.S. by the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports

1983: Inducted into Florida Sports Hall of Fame

1983: Received Honorary Doctorate from Tampa College

1985: Appointed to Baord of Trustees, Santa Fe Community College

1985: Co-chairman of Games’ and Training Centers’ Site Selection Committees of the USOC

1985: President of Florida Athletics Congress 

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