Sept. 7, 2007
HILLSIDE, IL –
Former Hawkeye track standout Deacon Jones, 73, passed away early Friday morning in Hillside, IL. He suffered numerous health problems in the last decade, undergoing several heart procedures and battling diabetes. He died one week after his 73rd birthday.
Jones was inducted in to the University of Iowa Varsity Club Hall of Fame as a member of the charter class in 1989. He was a two-time Olympian, running the 3,000-meter steeplechase at the 1956 games in Melbourne, Australia, and the 1960 games in Rome.
Jones was a two-time NCAA champion, two-time all-American and seven-time Big Ten champion for the Hawkeyes (1954-58). He won Iowa’s first and only individual cross country national title in 1955, becoming the first African-American and sophomore national cross country champion in history. The seven-time Big Ten champion also won the national two-mile track title in 1957. During the 1957 track season, Jones was unbeaten in the college mile and two mile. He set Big Ten indoor and outdoor records in the one and two mile races, and still holds the school record in the 3,000-meter steeplechase (8:47.40).
A native of St. Paul, MN, Jones’ athletic career started at Boystown in Nebraska. Following his track career, Jones served as director of financial aid at Chicago City College for 27 years.
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