Ernie Bullard memorial & reception, 13 September 2014, plus Biography



Ernie Bullard's celebration of life memorial service will be held promptly at noon on the USC campus in Town & Gown Center (665 Exposition Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90089-0871: E-6 on linked campus map)on Saturday, September 13.  Reception will follow memorial service.

For information contact Larry Knuth

(Editor'note: Ernie Bullard helped keep track & field alive in the South Bay in the 70s and early 1980s, and it was not an easy task. Many have fond stories of Coach Bullard, feel free to send them to me at [email protected] We will publish some of them in an upcoming issue of California Track & Running News. )

Ernie Bullard - Coaching Great



            Ernie Bullard, who had a 16-year coaching tenure with the San Jose State Spartans, died on Thursday, August 21, at age 77 in Stockton, Calif., from complications after a series of strokes and heart attacks during the past year.


            Bullard came to San Jose State as the assistant track and field coach in 1968 and was named the head coach in 1970 following the retirement of coaching legend Bud Winter. Mr. Bullard served the University as head coach through the 1984 outdoor season when he moved to the University of Southern California (USC) as the men's track and field head coach.


            During Bullard's San José State tenure, San Jose State was well known in track and field circles as the home of "Speed City." The Spartans won the 1969 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championship in Knoxville, Tenn., by dominating the sprints while he was an assistant and seven Pacific Coast Athletic Association (PCAA) team championships during his head coach reign. Six other times, San Jose State finished in the top-20 in the team standings at the NCAA Championships during his head-coaching reign.


Ron Livers, three times in the triple jump; Dedy Cooper in the high hurdles; javelin thrower Curt Ransford; and pole vaulter Felix Bohni, once in indoor and once in outdoor competition won a NCAA individual championship under Bullard's leadership. San Jose State athletes won 85 individual and nine relay events at PCAA Championship meets. Mr. Bullard was named the conference's Coach of the Year in 1980 and 1982.


Former world record holders John Powell in the discus and pole vaulter Dan Ripley and Olympians John Carlos, Ronnie Ray Smith, Lee Evans and Chris Papanicolaou also were among the elite world-class athletes he coached at San José State.


"Ernie was one of the finest coaches in the history of San Jose State. He followed the legendary Bud Winter, and carried on a solid track program that was of the best in the country. He was one of the reasons that I decided to leave a fine San Jose City College program and become his assistant in charge of the sprinters and hurdlers," said Bobby Poynter, a world-caliber sprinter for San Jose State in the mid-1950's.


"He coached four NCAA individual champions, two world record holders and a host of other San Jose State all-time great athletes. His San Jose State teams still hold track records to this day. He does not get enough credit for being one of the best and will sorely be missed."


             Ernie was a member of the USATF Development Committee for the discus for eight years. He also conducted clinics in India in 1988 and 1994.  Nine varsity, freshman, individual, and relay records were set by Trojan athletes during his  USC tenure. 


            Ernie also authored or co-authored four field event books that were internationally reviewed and acclaimed "without reservation." The Triple Jump Encyclopedia   book (co-authored with his USC assistant coach Larry Knuth) is in 1200 libraries INCLUDING the prestigious Huntington Library. It was the first American book on the event and still is the most extensive American book on a field event.


"Ernie was a great competitor and a good friend. He had an infectious personality. He was an outstanding representative of our profession," said Ron Allice, colleague and former head coach at USC.


The Safford, Ariz., native graduated from USC in 1959 majoring in education and from Arizona State in 1961 with a master's degree in physical education. An accomplished pole vaulter, he finished fourth at the 1958 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships.


Bullard embarked on a high school coaching career in 1960. He accepted his first head coaching position with Orange Coast College in 1963 and later had a similar role at Mesa Community College where he was the 1968 JUCO  Coach of the Year following Mesa winning the national title.


Bullard is survived by his son, Denton, and daughter, Kari, and several grandchildren.

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