May 31, 2005
COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Renaldo Nehemiah, one of the most recognizable names in U.S. track and field history, will be inducted into the University of Maryland Alumni Association Hall of Fame on June 4, 2005.
Nehemiah, a three-time NCAA champion while competing for the Terrapins in 1978 and 1979, is one of three alumni with athletics ties who is part of the Alumni Class of 2005. Also entering the hall are current men's basketball head coach Gary Williams and former DeMatha High School head coach Morgan Wootten.
As a standout in the 100-meter high hurdles outdoors, Nehemiah (Maryland '81) was the world's top-ranked athlete in that event in four straight years, from 1978 through 1981. While at Maryland, he won three NCAA championships, winning the 60-meter high hurdles indoors in 1978 and 1979, as well as the 110-meter high hurdles outdoors in 1979. In that race, he had a wind-aided mark of 12.91.
Nehemiah, a five-time All-American, held the world record in the 110 hurdles while he was a student-athlete at Maryland, running times of 13.16 and 13.0 - an improvement of 0.2 seconds over the former record. Also, during 1979, he won the Pan American Games and the World Cup in the hurdles. In 1981, in Zurich, Switzerland, Nehemiah became the first athlete to run the event in under 13 seconds, lowering the mark officially to 12.93. Some 24 years later, the current world mark has been lowered only slightly, to 12.91 seconds.
Nehemiah also held indoor world records at 50 yards (6.04), 50 meters (6.36), 55 meters (6.89) and 60 yards (6.89).
After missing the 1980 Olympics due to the U.S. boycott of the games in Moscow, Nehemiah turned his sights to football. He played for the San Francisco 49ers of the National Football League from 1982 through 1985. After his football career, Nehemiah returned to track and field in 1986, achieving world rankings four more times from 1988 through 1991. He was named to the U.S. team for the 1991 World Championships, but an injury kept him from competing.
In 1997, Nehemiah was inducted into the USA Track & Field Hall of Fame. He entered the Maryland Athletics Hall of Fame the next year.
Also among those entering the University of Maryland Alumni Association Hall of Fame in June will be broadcast journalist Connie Chung, Seinfeld creator Larry David, businesswoman Carly Fiorina, Maryland State Senate president Mike Miller.
For more information regarding the Maryland Alumni Association, click on alumni.umd.edu.