East Texan Sid 'The Jet' Garton going into Texas A&M-Commerce Athletic Hall of Fame

In 2015, Sid Garton penned a book with friend and former Dallas Morning News sports writer Gene Wilson. They collaborated on “Sid Garton: The Real Story Behind His Missing Olympic Fame.”

Some 50-plus years later, Sid “The Jet” Garton is still collecting titles.

The East Texan, once known as the “The World’s Fastest Human,” will be inducted into the Texas A&M University-Commerce’s Lion Athletic Hall of Fame this weekend in Commerce.

The former track standout will be joined by football players Terry Bagsby, Cole Cayce and Fred Woods as well as the 1995-96 men’s basketball team.

Bobby Fox Award recipients for 2016 are Clint Dolezel and Ross Hodge. The Hall of Honor will welcome Blake Cooper as its fourth inductee.

Established in 1994, the Outstanding Alumni Coach Award, given each year to deserving Lion alumni, is made possible by an endowment established by Peggy Bankhead Fox in memory of her late husband, former player and coach of Lion football and track & field. Clint Dolezel (head coach, Arena Bowl Champions Philadelphia Soul) and Ross Hodge (associate head coach, Arkansas State University men’s basketball) earned this year’s honor.

The Lions Hall of Honor is a special membership that is not limited to being former Lion student-athletes, coaches and athletic administrators. The Hall of Honor was started in 2014. This membership recognizes people or groups that have made significant contributions in many different ways to Lion Athletics. This year’s inductee to the Hall of Honor is Blake Cooper. He was a two-time captain and All-Lone Star Conference football player at East Texas State University and has returned to Commerce to make his mark on the community.

The luncheon will take place at 11:30 a.m. Saturday in the Sam Rayburn Student Center on the A&M-Commerce campus.

The luncheon is open to the public with a cost of attendance of $30 per person or $50 for a couple.

Following the luncheon, there will be a question-and-answer session with TAMUC President Dr. Ray Keck and Director of Athletics Tim McMurray (2-3 p.m.) in the Rayburn Student Center.

After a pregame reception at the President’s home at Heritage House (4:30 p.m.), there will be tailgating festivities before the Lions football game against Texas A&M-Kingsville at 7 p.m. The group will also be recognized on the field at halftime of the contest.

To be eligible for the Lion Athletic Hall of Fame, a player must have competed at least two seasons, must be removed from exhausting eligibility for 10 years, and individuals should have athletic awards that display a high level of athletic ability and contribution to the team.

Garton was dubbed the fastest human alive as one of the world’s foremost sprinters in his time at East Texas State University.

The New Boston native ran a 9.3-second 100-yard dash and a world-record wind-aided 19.3 second 220-yard dash for the Lions in 1959. Both great times were recorded on the same day.

Garton and the Lions were noted for exemplary performances at the Kansas, Drake and Penn Relays. He was honored as the collegiate freshman of the year and was the Dallas Morning News’ collegiate freshman of the state.

During Garton’s time with the Lions, they won back-to-back Lone Star Conference championships and were NAIA National runners-up both seasons. He was the LSC champion in the 110-yard and 220-yard dashes in 1959 and won the NAIA Championship in the 220-yard dash and the 880-yard relay.

His contributions to amateur athletics continued as a key fundraiser for the Centennial Olympic Park and alternate torch bearer for the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta.

Last year, Garton penned a book with friend and former Dallas Morning News sports writer Gene Wilson. They collaborated on “Sid Garton: The Real Story Behind His Missing Olympic Fame.”

After garnering gold at the Texas Relays and the Texas High School Track & Field Championships, Garton suddenly dropped off the map. He dropped out of school about two weeks before the 1960 Rome Olympics.

The Garton mystery is explained in his book.

He had set state and world records. Garton won the Texas High School 100-yard dash in 1958 with a time of 9.6 seconds. He doubled the gold with a 20.8 clocking in the 220-yard dash the same season. He also won the 220 in 1957 with a time of 22.1.

To purchase the book, you can email Garton at SidneythejetGarton@gmail.com or call 903-245-3014.

TWITTER: @PhilHicksETFS

 
 

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Sports Editor

I am a native Tylerite and I grew up reading the Tyler Morning Telegraph and The Tyler Courier-Times. My parents took both the morning and afternoon papers. I came to work here 35 years ago at the age of 23, right after college.