I’ve been asked twice in the last 10 years “How can you call yourself a run guru?”  Both times my reply is that a guru is a teacher and that a love of the sport coupled with voluminous historical resources puts me in that position.  I think I’ll use slow Fridays to introduce you to some of the most influential coaches/athletes/administrators of our sport over the last century.

Today, Mihaly Igloi.

Igloi was a Hungarian immigrant that came to the United States in the late 1950s.  He was a successful coach in his home country but fled his home during the Hungarian Revolution.

Igloi successively coached the Santa Monica Track Association and  Los Angeles Track Club in California, and became an American citizen in 1963. In the 1970’s, he coached in Greece. According to the I.A.A.F., his runners broke 49 world, 45 American and 157 Greek records.

He coached American Bob Schul to the 1964 Olympic gold medal at 5,000 meters. He also coached Jim Beatty to the first indoor sub 4 minute mile (3:58.9, 1962)  and world 2 Mile record.  Dyrol Burleson set the American Mile record under Igloi’s tutelage.

”He was a tough guy,”according to Beatty , ”a coach from the European school that says: ‘I am the coach. You are the athlete. You will do what I say or you will leave the classroom.’ For him to coach you, you had to approach him. He would never ask anyone if he could coach him because he didn’t think there would be a psychological commitment. As a result, you respected his coaching ability and training theories. He would bring you not only to your goals, but greater goals that he saw in you.”  -Beatty’s quotes excerpted from Igloi’s NY Time Obituary dated January 4, 1998.

My wife took this photo while in Budapest last week.  I’m not sure what she does, international bounty hunter or double nought spy perhaps?