Littlefield, Clyde (1892–1981)

By: Margaret C. Berry

Type: Biography

Published: March 1, 1995

Clyde Littlefield, athlete and track coach, son of John W. and Mable Littlefield, was born in Oil City, Pennsylvania, on October 6, 1892, and moved with his widowed father and his sister, Grace, to Spindletop, Texas, in 1904. He attended ward school at Sisterville, West Virginia, before going back to Texas, where he graduated from South Park High School in Beaumont. Then he attended Peacock Military Academy in San Antonio (1909–11) and Marshall Training School (1912), where he was an outstanding athlete. He attended the University of Texas (1912–16), where he earned twelve letters in football, basketball, and track. From 1916 to 1920 he was a successful head coach at Greenville High School. He returned to UT in 1920 as head track coach, freshman football coach, freshman basketball coach, and physical-training instructor. He served as track coach for the next forty-one years, during which his teams won twenty-five Southwest Conference titles and many of his athletes became NCAA champions, All-Americans, and Olympic contestants. He was cofounder in 1925 of the Texas Relays. He was on the coaching staff for the United States at the 1952 Olympic Games in Helsinki. Not only was he a track coach, but he served from 1927 to 1933 as UT's head football coach and won two Southwest Conference championships.

Littlefield married Henrietta Rabb of Lone Oak, Texas, on June 20, 1922. They had one son. In World War I Littlefield served as an instructor in an officers' training corp. He was a member of the Helms Foundation Hall of Fame, the Texas Sports Hall of Fame, the Longhorn Hall of Honor, and the National Track and Field Hall of Fame. In 1963 a graduate fellowship was named for him. The University of Texas System Board of Regents placed a plaque of honor recognizing his achievements in Bellmont Hall. He was a president of the NCAA Coaches Association and a recipient of the Alonzo Stagg Award. He was a Methodist, a thirty-second-degree Mason, a Ben Hur Shriner, and a member of the Kappa Alpha Order and Sigma Delta Psi. He was a long-time member of the NCAA track and field rules committee and president of the NCAA Track Coaches Association. He died on May 20, 1981.

Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.


  • Education
  • Educators
  • Physical Education, Home Economics, and Health
  • Sports and Recreation
  • Sports (Track and Field)

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Margaret C. Berry, “Littlefield, Clyde,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed September 28, 2021,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

March 1, 1995

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