Former UF track coach Jimmy Carnes dead at 76

By Adam Silverstein
March 6, 2011

Former Florida Gators track and field head coach Jimmy Carnes passed away Saturday. He was 76 years old.

Carnes, who coached at the University of Florida from 1965-76, lost a four-year battle with prostate cancer. He is survived by his wife and four children.

“Jimmy Carnes is an icon in the sport of track and field. His contributions to the University of Florida, as well as his sport on a national and international level, have been immeasurable,’’ Gators athletic director Jeremy Foley said in an official statement from the school. “Jimmy has been a great advocate of the sport of track and field and an outstanding citizen in the Gainesville community. Our thoughts go out to his wife, Nanette, and his family.”

In addition to compiling a 93-3 dual meet record and 15 top-three finishes in the SEC Championships (indoor and outdoor), Carnes won two team SEC Championships and coached four individual NCAA Indoor Champions, 65 individual SEC Champions and 24 All-Americans at UF.

“It’s a sad day for track and field, not only in Gainesville, but around the world,” said current Florida track and field head coach Mike Holloway in UF’s official statement. “Jimmy Carnes is an icon who did everything he could to improve the sport. He was innovative, creative and always working to find ways to do things better. He will be sorely missed. Jimmy was a true friend and a true Gator.”

Carnes is also a member of the USA Track and Field Hall of Fame, United States Track & Field and Cross Country Association Hall of Fame, Florida Sports Hall of Fame and Georgia Sports Hall of Fame. He was assistant coach for the U.S. Olympic Team in the 1976 Montreal Olympics and would have been the men’s head coach for the 1980 Moscow Olympics had the United States not boycotted the games in protest.

OGGOA sends our deepest condolences to the Carnes family.

Photo Credit: USA Track and Field


  1. Gatorbuc15 says:

    RIP Jimmy.

  2. David Haines says:

    Coach Carnes was my coach at Florida and a man I loved like a father. He took us to the SEC Championships and was able to get the very best out of each of us privileged to learn from his immense passion for the sport. How proud we were of his role at the Olympics in Montreal. We miss you Coach!

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