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Cleve Abbott



Born Dec. 9, 1894 in Yankton. 1912 Watertown High School grad. 1916 SDSU grad. Won 16 varsity letters at Watertown and at SDSU he earned 14 more (in track, football, baseball and basketball). Hired by Booker T. Washington to teach and coach at Tuskegee Institute in 1915, Abbott became one of the most respected coaches and athletic directors in the South. His football teams won seven mythical national titles and lost only six games in his first 11 years at Tuskegee. In 32 years as the football coach there, he was 203-96 with nine national titles. From 1923-28 Tuskegee went 46 games without a loss and from '23-31 Tuskegee lost once in 79 games. In women's track, which he coached from 1936-55, his teams were just as impressive, winning 14 national outdoor titles, including eight in a row. Tuskegee athletes won 49 indoor and outdoor individual national titles and a half dozen competed in the Olympics, including gold medal high jumpers Alice Coachman and Mildred McDaniel. Abbott served on the women's committee of the old National AAU and twice was on the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Committee. Abbott was inducted into the National Track and Field Hall of Fame in 1996. Along with Booker T. Washington and George Washington Carver, he is buried in the Tuskegee University Cemetery.






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