Gold-Medal Character Olympian Jim Spivey Is Heading to Vanderbilt to Coach Track Team

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Byline: Andrew Smith Daily Herald Staff Writer

One of the most accomplished athletes in DuPage County history is leaving home .

Glen Ellyn resident Jim Spivey, a three-time U.S. Olympian in track and field for the middle and long distances, has been offered the coaching position for women's cross country and track and field long distance running at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn.

Growing up in Wood Dale - and a 1978 graduate of Fenton High School in Bensenville - Spivey has lived in Glen Ellyn with is wife, Cindy, and their three children for the past 14 years.

Retiring from international competition in 1997 after a 14-year career, Spivey still holds the fastest time by an American in an Olympic 1,500-meter run final (3:36.06 in 1984, good for fifth place) and the fastest time by an American in the same event in Olympic competition (3:35.35 in the semifinals in 1992).

Spivey also holds the American record for the 2,000 meters (4:52.44 in 1987 in Lausanne, Switzerland), not to mention being both an NCAA champion at Indiana and an Illinois high school champion.

He was also named the 28th greatest male long-distance runner in U.S. history

in "Running with the Champions," a book by Runner's World Magazine senior writer Marc Bloom.

Since then, Spivey has been the head coach of the men's and women's cross country and track and field programs at the University of Chicago for the past four years.

Al Carius, cross country and track and field coach for the national champion programs at North Central College in Naperville, hired Spivey as an assistant coach at North Central for the 1996- 1997 school year before the University of Chicago job became available.

"Jim has grown tremendously as a coach, and I've gotten nothing but rave reviews regarding the job he's done at the University of Chicago," Carius said.

While at Chicago, an NCAA Division III school like North Central, 12 of the 21 All-American athletes the school has produced in all sports the last four years have come from the cross country and track and field programs.

In the 12 years prior to that, only four All-Americans had come from those programs.

Spivey was also named the NCAA Division III Midwest Region Women's Cross Country Coach of the Year after leading the Maroons to a surprise sixth-place finish at the 1998 Division III Cross Country Championship.

The team had been ranked 24th just three weeks earlier.

NCAA Division III is typically made up of smaller, academically- oriented colleges and are not allowed to offer athletic scholarships.

"He's learned to recruit athletes without being able to offer money," Carius said. …