2014 The Bowerman winner Deon Lendore passed away on Monday.
Lendore died in a car accident on his way home from serving as a volunteer assistant coach for Texas A&M’s track & field program, helping oversee the 400-meter and 800-meter specialists. He was 29.
“This is very difficult to express, I can’t even express this loss,” Texas A&M head track & field coach Pat Henry told 12thMan.com. “Over the years our relationship had changed to not only one of my athletes to coach, but he was loved by my wife, children and grandchildren. He was part of my family. It hurts, it really hurts. My thoughts are with his family and the efforts to get through this very difficult period of time.”
Lendore put together one of the most dominant collegiate campaigns ever eight years ago. He ran in eight 400-meter finals in 2014, winning them all and going 1-0 in 200-meter finals to boot. His 45.03 to win the 400 at the SEC Indoor Championships was the fastest indoor mark in the world that year. Lendore’s 44.36 outdoors, which completed the sweep of SEC crowns, was the fastest among collegiate athletes that year. In addition to winning both the indoor and outdoor national titles in the 400, Lendore anchored the winning 4×400 relay and the runner-up 4×100 relay at the NCAA DI Outdoor Track & Field Championships (Don’t forget that Lendore also clocked the fastest relay split in collegiate indoor history of 44.63 to lead Texas A&M to a collegiate record of 3:03.20 at the SEC meet).
Lendore continued his sensational running on the world stage, winning five global medals (one silver, four bronze) in the 4×400 relay. He anchored his native Trinidad & Tobago to the bronze medal at the 2012 London Olympic Games and added four more medals over the years within the confines of the World Indoor Championships (three) and World Championships (one). Lendore also led off Trinidad and Tobago’s 4×400 relay team at the 2019 IAAF World Relays that placed first in a world-leading 3:00.81.
Other members of The Bowerman Family reacted to the news on social media.
Lendore was the first male athlete from the SEC to win The Bowerman, setting off a domino effect. Over the next six Presentations, Lendore was joined by five other SEC athletes: Marquis Dendy of Florida in 2015; Jarrion Lawson of Arkansas in 2016; Christian Coleman of Tennessee in 2017; Grant Holloway of Florida in 2019; and JuVaughn Harrison of LSU in 2021.
“You’ve got to remember that if I don’t train hard today and I don’t hit the time, somebody is that much closer to beating me or if I hit the time, I can get that much away from somebody who is trying to beat me,” Lendore said during The Bowerman Presentation in 2014. “It’s all about having the mental strength.”