Bill Russelland Johnny Mathis: Setting the Record Straight
I know it's hard tobelieve in this age of tweets and blogs that any person could find anyincorrect information on the internet but...
Several websites claimBill Russell and Johnny Mathis were teammates in high school or college (orboth) and that Mathis broke Russell's school record in the high jump.
The facts arethese:
Johnny Mathis and BillRussell both attended high school in the Bay area but Mathis went to George Washington High School in San Francisco. Russell hails from Oakland's McClymonds High School.
Track & Field News. Many publications predicted Russell would bethe first to clear 7-feet. That honorwent to Dumas, who cleared 7-0½ at the 1956 Olympic Trials. Dumas went on towin the Olympic gold medal four months later in Melbourne.
Shortly after hisWest Coast Relays victory, Russell announced he would forego his hopes ofOlympic glory in track & field to concentrate on basketball. He had led USFto consecutive NCAA basketball championships in 1955 and 1956 and a then-record60 consecutive victories. Russell wasalready a member of the U.S.A. Olympic basketball team.
stadium record at Reno, Nevada.
On May 1, 1954, in a dualmeet against the University of Nevada, Russell won the high jump with a leap of 6ft., 5 in.
From the Reno Gazette:
"USF also had a double winner in theskyscraping Bill Russell, a 6'9" basketball star at the Jesuit school, whowas an easy winner in the high jump at 6' 5" and the broad jump at 21'5".
"Russell drew a large gallery to thehigh jump pit as he soared to his winning height in the jumping event, beatingthe rest of the competition which went out at nearly a foot below the winningheight.
"USF with a team of [George]Daskarolis, Jack King, Dave McCarville and Russell won the mile relay in 3:35.1."
Fromthe Nevada State Journal:
"A little fellow who doesn't reach fivefeet eight inches in height yesterday cleared the cross-bar at six feet fiveand a half inches. The high jump, whichfeatured San Francisco State'sdual track meet 83-43 win over University of Nevadahere, was a new record for Mackay Stadium."
"It was a half-inch above the 6-5altitude established last year by Bill Russell (the 6'-10" All Americabasketball ace of University of San Francisco), which height was the previousall-time record in more than a half century at Mackay Stadium.
"The jump, accomplished with thewestern roll, also broke Mathis' own San Francisco State