Locals selected for Delaware Track & Field Hall of Fame
Longtime University of Delaware men’s track and field and cross-country coach Jim Fischer, former Newark Charter athletic director Kevin Kelly and Christiana High track and field standout Lynn Harris Hernandez will be inducted into the Delaware Track and Field Hall of Fame.
Fischer served at the helm of the UD men’s programs from 1982 until the sports were discontinued following the 2010-11 school year. He was a five-time conference coach of the year, won five conference championships, and helped guide his runners to 119 individual conference titles. He remained at UD coaching the women’s distance runners before moving on to Delaware Tech, Sanford School and his current position as track and field head coach at Ursuline Academy.
“I am honored and grateful to be considered as one of the people who has had a positive influence on our sport in the state of Delaware,” Fischer said. “I have truly enjoyed working with the many athletes, coaches, officials, parents and community members.”
His college and high school coaching accomplishments aside, Fischer is perhaps best known in the Newark community for hosting his weekly Tuesday night running sessions that first began on the UD track during the summer of 1984 and continue today at St. Mark’s High School. The year-round weekly training opportunity is open to runners of all ages and abilities, from kids to senior citizens, and beginners to marathon runners.
“We have had four-minute milers and 14-minute milers,” Fischer said.
Kelly’s career spanned more than four decades in a variety of coaching and sports administrative positions across several states. Among his stops was serving as the first athletic director at Newark Charter High School.
“I truly appreciated all of the people I worked with at NCS,” Kelly said. “They were always supporting programs and helping to establish a very positive atmosphere for student-athletes.”
A graduate of Salesianum School and St. Mar y’s College, Kelly was named Delaware outdoor boys track and field coach of the year in 1992 and 1996 after leading William Penn to state championships. He was also named coach of the year in boys cross country in 2004. Kelly chaired the DIAA State Track & Field committee from 2006-16 and still remains active in the sports community.
“I am both honored and humbled by my induction,” Kelly said, adding he’d save the rest of his comments for the induction ceremony.
Hernandez’ accomplishments while at Christiana High School included setting what was then the state record for the long jump (19-5½) and winning the state championship in the 55 indoors, 100 outdoors and the running long jump. She went on to set the long-jump record at the University of Maryland and was named an NCAA All-American.
“Being inducted into the Delaware Track and Field Hall of Fame is such an incredible honor for me, both as a competitor and as a coach,” she said. “It wouldn’t have been possible without my coaches, family, track family and teammates. I am thankful for all I have been given and grateful that I am able to share my love for the sport with the future of track and field.”
Hernandez coaches at the Tatnall School and the Delaware Elite Track Club.
Also being inducted are John Yasik and Tamara Stoner Shirley. Yasik competed at Archmere Academy and the University of Delaware, where he ran on three East Coast Conference championship track teams. He went on to become an avid road racer, including clocking a 2:30:19 at the Boston Marathon. Yasik started the Catholic Youth Ministries (CYM) cross country program at Holy Angels in Newark. He also founded the Neighborhood Relays in Hockessin.
Shirley ran at Delcastle High School and West Virginia University, where she was an Atlantic 10 indoor 500 champion.
The induction ceremony is Nov. 20 at Cavaliers Countr y Club, with a social hour at 6 p.m. followed by dinner at 7. Tickets are $50 and must be ordered by Nov. 6 through Brian Strusowski at Bstrusowski@verizon.net or 302753-9052.
Former University of Delaware coach Jim Fischer will be inducted into the Delaware Track & Field Hall of Fame on Nov. 20.