May 9, 2011
By Eric Trainer, Associate Director of Media Relations
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - Former Tennessee track & field and football standout Willie Gault is still running, and he still knows how to wow a crowd. Now 50 years old, the Vol great recently logged a pair of sprint times that are better than the listed masters world records in the 100- and 200-meter dashes.
Running at the Occidental Invitational track & field meet in Los Angeles over the weekend, Gault zipped down the straightaway in 10.88 seconds in the 100 meters, topping the recognized 2002 Men's 50 world masters record of 10.95 set by American Bill Collins. He then doubled his pleasure, logging a 22.44 readout for the 200, eclipsing the 22.53 world-best mark that Everad Samuels ran in 2008.
Both of Gault's marks were wind legal, according to the meet's wind gauges, but for the marks to be classified as masters American records and masters world records, those times must officially be ratified. USA Track & Field and World Masters Athletics will gather information and later rule as to whether the marks stand. Gault already owns the Men's 45 world masters marks in the 100m (10.72) and 200m (21.80).
On the oval, Gault was an 11-time All-American and three-time NCAA champion for the Vols. In 1983, he won NCAA Indoor titles in the 60-yard dash and 60-yard hurdles, and an NCAA Outdoor crown with the UT 4x100m relay. He qualified for the U.S. Olympic Team as a member of the 4x100m relay in 1980, when America boycotted the Summer Games in Moscow, and later made the 1988 Winter Olympics as a member of the U.S. bobsled team.
As a wide receiver and dangerous return man for the Vol football team, Gault was an All-American and an All-SEC performer in 1982. He holds career and season marks for kick returns and yards and is tied for the longest kickoff return in history with his 100-yard return against Pittsburgh in 1980.
The Big Orange legend was a first-round draft pick of the Chicago Bears in the 1983 draft and played in the National Football League for 11 seasons for the Bears and Los Angeles Raiders. He was a member of the Bears team that won Super Bowl XX and was part of the team's highly-popular Super Bowl Shuffle rap song and video.