Houston mourns Olympian, NCAA champion Al Lawrence

(University of Houston)

HOUSTON- – Houstonians are mourning Al Lawrence, an Olympian and NCAA champion, who paved the route for future distance runners.

The Houston Cougar Track & Field program members said they are saddened by his loss.

He joined the Cougars in 1958, two seasons after taking the bronze medal in the 10,000-meter run at the 1956 Olympic Games in Melbourne.

Lawrence produced one of the most stellar careers of any Cougar distance runner.

He is the only cougar to claim an individual title at the NCAA Cross Country Championships, winning gold in each of the 1959 and 1960 seasons.

His efforts during the 1960 championship event, helped Houston to its first ever team title at the NCAA Cross Country Championships when they scored 54 points to claim the crown in East Lansing, Michigan.

"Al was one of the pillars of the University of Houston Track and Field Program. He was an NCAA champion, our first Olympic Medalist, and he broke several collegiate, national and world records. This program would not be where it is today had Al Lawrence not been a Cougar," said University of Houston Track and Field head coach Leroy Burrell.

During Lawrence's tenure at Houston, he was earned NCAA All-American  honors after winning the 5,000-meter run at the 1960 NCAA Championships and was a Missouri Valley Conference Champion in the 2 mile .

Lawrence was inducted into the Houston Hall of Honor in 1977.