Jumbo Elliott: Maker of Milers, Maker of Men
For James Francis "Jumbo" Elliott, track and field's "Coach of the Century," winning was an important thing - but it was not the only thing. Athletics were important because they provided valuable training for success in business - and in life. Responsibility, honesty, decency, industriousness; these were qualities that Elliott tried to instill - by his own example as much as by anything else - in his "boys." Still, in the course of his 46-year career as Villanova University's track coach, the irrepressible Jumbo guided his athletes to 51 team and 467 individual championships. He coached 22 Olympians, including 6 gold and 3 silver medalists. His athletes included: Ron Delaney, Charlie Jenkins, Marty Liquori, Don Paige, Eamonn Coghlan, Sydney Maree... And this was only his part-time job! Elliott's "real" job was at the construction equipment company in which he worked his way up from salesman to owner - and became a millionaire. Jumbo Elliott is more than the biography of a successful coach, more than a rags-to-riches story, though it is both of these. The book contains a very special chapter giving Elliott's view of fitness for the non-athlete - the heart of a book he had begun with his boyhood friend Ted Berry but did not live to complete. Ted Berry completed the work. the result is a heartwarming portrait of a man who believed in working hard and playing hard, a portrait sketched in Elliott's own words and the words of those closest to him. Jumbo Elliott was a sportsman, businessman, family man and, above all, a gentleman. His story will especially delight track enthusiasts, but will touch the hearts of all.
St. Martin's Press
Elliott, Francis, "Jumbo Elliott: Maker of Milers, Maker of Men" (1982). Prairie Striders Library Collection. 33.