TSU Tigerbelles track coach Ed Temple is Tennessee’s most honored and accomplished track and field coach. His famous Tigerbelles Women’s Track Club of Tennessee State University (TSU) won twenty-three gold, silver, and bronze Olympic medals, thirty-four national team titles, and thirty medals in the Pan American Games.
Temple’s Tigerbelles won their first medal in the 1952 Olympic Games when fifteen-year-old Barbara Jones became the youngest woman to win an Olympic gold medal in track and field. The team won several medals in the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne. Tigerbelle Wilma G. Rudolph became the first female athlete to win three gold medals during the 1960 Olympic Games in Rome. Wyomia Tyus, another Tigerbelle, became the first athlete to win back-to-back gold medals in the sprints in 1964 and 1968.
Temple became the most internationally recognized track and field coach in the history of Tennessee sports. In 1958 Temple trained the U.S. Women’s Track Team for the first-ever American-Soviet Union track meet; in 1975 he coached the women’s team for the first China-U.S.A. track meet. He served as head Women’s Track Coach for two U.S. Olympics teams. Temple is a member of the National Track and Field Hall of Fame, the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame, the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame, the TSU Sports Hall of Fame, and has also received the Helms Award. He served on every major local, state, and national sports committee, including the U.S. Olympic Committee. TSU named its outdoor track in Temple’s honor.
Edward Stanley Temple was born September 20, 1927, in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, to Christopher and Ruth N. Temple. An all-state athlete, he attended Tennessee State University, where he completed bachelor’s and master’s degrees. In 1993 Coach Temple retired after forty-three years at Tennessee State University. To commemorate Temple’s achievements and international stature, TSU inaugurated the annual Edward S. Temple Seminars on Sports and Society in October 1993.