SUNY Cortland Hall of Fame to induct Lyndonville native

Contributed Story Posted 3 September 2014 at 12:00 am

Contributed Photo – Gary Wilson

Lyndonville native Gary Wilson is one of seven former athletes who will be inducted into the SUNY Cortland C-Club Hall of Fame in ceremonies at the college on September 13.

Wilson earned a bachelor’s degree from Cortland in 1968 and a master’s degree in 1974. He ran on the cross country team for three seasons and was a team captain as a senior when the Red Dragons won the 1967 SUNYAC title. He also competed in varsity track and field for three years and was voted captain of both the indoor and outdoor squads as a senior.

Wilson retired from coaching in the spring of 2013 after 28 years as the head coach of the University of Minnesota’s women’s cross country program. The 2007 and 2008 Midwest Region and Big Ten Coach of the Year, Wilson led Minnesota to two conference titles (2007 and 2008), three consecutive Midwest Region crowns (2007-09) and 15 NCAA championship appearances. He coached six different runners to a combined nine All-America awards.

Wilson also served as Minnesota’s head track and field coach from 1985-2007 before taking on an assistant coaching role. He was part of four Big Ten titles (2006-09) and was named the 2006 Coach of the Year for the Big Ten, Midwest Region and Midwest District.

Prior to Minnesota, Wilson coached the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse women’s cross country team from 1977-85 and the women’s track and field team from 1982-85, as well as five seasons as the men’s track and field head coach. He led the women’s track and field program to three outdoor national titles (AIAW in 1982, NCAA in 1983 and 1984) and the women’s cross country team to the 1983 NCAA Division III crown in addition to a pair of national runner-up showings. His teams won a combined 29 conference titles.

Wilson has been inducted into the University of Minnesota “M” Club, USA Track & Field-Minnesota, Drake Relays and UW-La Crosse Halls of Fame and was a recipient of the University of Minnesota’s President’s Award for Service. He has been a volunteer with the Big Brothers Program of the Twin Cities since 1995, and since 2004 has worked with the Tesfa Foundation to raise money for building schools and helping young women runners in Ethiopia.

Established in 1969, the C-Club Hall of Fame recognizes Cortland alumni who competed as athletes at the College and who have since distinguished themselves in their professions and within their communities. Honorary members are recognized for their long and significant contributions to SUNY Cortland athletics.