Ivan William Fuqua

Inducted: 1968
Born: 1909 - Died:
1994

Ivan W. Fuqua won a gold medal in Los Angeles at the 1932 Summer Olympics. He went on to become one of the most successful track coaches in Ivy League history at Brown University. During his 26-year career at Brown, he guided the outdoor track team to five New England championships and three regional crowns. Fuqua was born in Decatur, Illinois, Aug. 9, 1909, to Ora and Maude Fuqua. Later, the family moved to Brazil, Indiana. Ivan was the only brother to his eight sisters: Helen, Ruth, Mary, Lela, Nelle, Dorothy, and twins Donnie and Bonnie. He attended Meridian Street School and Brazil High School. As a high school freshman, Fuqua led off a mile relay team that set a state record of 3:29.6. He ran with three upperclassmen named Leavitt, Porter, and Cassidy on the mile relay team.  As a junior, he won the 220-yard hurdles, the 440, and the long jump. He also anchored the winning mile relay team in the state finals. Fuqua won the 220 and the 440 hurdles at the National Meet in Chicago. In his senior year, he won the 100 and 400 at the state finals, then won the 220 and anchored a record-setting relay team in Chicago. In one season, he ran a 9.7 second 100, sprinted to a time of 21.6 seconds in the 220, leaped 21-81/2 in the long jump, ran the anchor leg of the half-mile relay team at 1:33.6, amassing 30 points in a single meet. At the 1930 Kokomo Relay, he set a national high school record of 9.7 in the 100. “Fuqua Breaks World’s High School Record” was the front-page headline of the Times and News Consolidated newspaper of May 5, 1930.

After high school graduation in 1930, Fuqua entered Indiana University. Fuqua always claimed that he “was kidnapped” rather than recruited by Indiana State University. Another IU student from Brazil packed him in his car and drove him directly to the admissions office. The other student, George Craig, a member of the IU wrestling team, later became governor of Indiana. While attending IU, Fuqua was even more outstanding, setting five records. At the Los Angeles Olympics in 1932, Fuqua was on the American 400 m relay team that set a new world record of 3:08.2 in winning the gold medal. His teammates included Ed Albowich, Karl Warner, and Bill Carr. Fuqua returned to Brazil after the Olympics to a parade and a rousing public reception. He was the first student in Indiana State history to win an Olympic gold medal. Ivan was a track letterman in 1932, 1933, and 1934 and captain in 1934. He was a football letterman in 1931 and was a member of the NCAA championship team in 1932.

While at Indiana University, Fuqua won the AAU 400m in 1933 and 1934 and was a member of the team that won the AAU indoor relay in 1934. His best clockings were 47.3 for 440y in the 1933 NCAA (placing second) and 47.4 for 400m in winning the 1934 AAU title. After graduating from Indiana University in 1935, he accepted a position as a Coach at the University of Connecticut, and his teams there won national honors. He later received his master’s degree in education from the University of Michigan. In 1942, he enlisted in the Navy and was discharged in 1945 with the rank of Lt. Commander. In 1947, he was hired by Brown University as a physical education instructor and track coach. There, he developed some of the outstanding athletes of recent years. He remained as head coach until 1973 when he retired.    

He married Natalie (Kozeski) in 1947, and the couple had two daughters. Linda and Judith.

Fuqua founded the Ivan Fuqua Oxford-Cambridge Endowment Fund to enable Brown students to participate in the Oxford Cambridge Track and Field exchange every four years. 

He was inducted into The Rhode Island Heritage Hall of Fame in 1968, the Brown University Athletic Hall of Fame in 1981, the Indiana Track Hall of Fame in 1984, and the Helms Athletic Hall of Fame in 1992.

Ivan Fuqua died in Providence, Rhode Island, on January 14, 1994.

Scroll to Top