NEWS

Olympic leaper on of BU’s sleepers

KIRK WESSLER

A.J. Robertson, the legendary Bradley multi-sport coach and athletics director, and track coach Cecil Hewitt accompanied Redd to Los Angeles. Robertson, in fact, filed by-lined dispatches for the Peoria Journal.

"Redd is given a good chance to win or place high in the event," Robertson wrote in his story published Aug. 2, the day of the broad jump. The athlete had developed "recent lameness in his shoulder," but that was not expected to hinder his jumping, Robertson reported.

As the reigning national collegiate champion Redd was considered one of the favorites. In fact, Robertson wrote, Dick Barber of the University of Southern California and Sylvio Cator of Haiti believed Redd was the "man to beat." But this was a tough field, which included Iowa’s Ed Gordon, who had won the previous two NCAA titles and world record-holder Chuhei Nambu of Japan, in addition to Barber and Cator.

On the day of the competition, Robertson reported, "an unusual percentage of all jumps were declared fouls." Every jumper suffered, particularly Cator, who didn’t get off a single measurable jump in the prelims.

For the finals, the competition was moved to another jumping pit, where wet conditions further hampered the athletes. None of the six finalists improved on his qualifying mark, though Redd came close.

The Bradley man soared 25-6 on his first jump in the finals, but that was ruled a foul. He came back with the best jump of the day — 26-1. But, Robertson reported, "considerable debate followed among the officials, who at length declared it a foul."

And so the gold medal went to Gordon, who had gone 25-

Little more is known of Redd. He hailed from Grafton. He did not finish his college career at Bradley, transferring to Quincy College for reasons unknown to the public record. He enjoyed a career in the U.S. Air Force, rising to the rank of lieutenant colonel, and later worked in the private sector, including 17 years for the Owens-Illinois Glass Company. He died in 1986 and is buried in Jersey County.

And that’s what we know of a man who might be the greatest Bradley athlete of all time.