The Charlottesville High School community held a dedication ceremony for the new Curtis Elder Track and Field Complex at CHS to honor the rich legacy of former CHS Track Coach Curtis Elder.
“The power to win must come from within,” was just one of Coach Elder’s many inspiring mantras for his players, and one he took to heart. During his 44 seasons of coaching, Coach Elder’s teams won 253 track meets, 20 district and 20 regional track championships, and 7 state track championships. He was also nominated for national track coach of the year in 2005 and in 1999 and was honored by track coaches across Virginia for his contributions to the sport.
During the dedication ceremony that included members of the Elder family, the CHS football team, and many friends, colleagues, and former students, Superintendent Dr. Rosa Atkins remarked, “We can count the number of wins and championships, but we will never be able to count up all the lives touched by his mentorship and leadership in our schools and in our community.”
Dr. Atkins also thanked Coach Elder’s wife, Sylvia, and family for sharing Coach Elder with CHS on long nights and weekends and praised him for modeling what the combination of high expectations, excellent teaching, and deep relationship can accomplish.
Mrs. Elder, herself a physical education teacher, school counselor, and department chair in Charlottesville City Schools for 37 years, accepted a wooden plaque marking the occasion from Atkins and CHS Assistant Principal and Supervisor of Athletics Rodney Redd.
“I am overwhelmed, ” said Mrs. Elder. “I spend a lot of time walking on this track because it makes me feel close to him. He would be so pleased to see this beautiful facility, knowing current and future athletes in our community will benefit from it.”
One athlete in particular that will be one of the first athletes to compete on the new track this spring is Elder’s grandson, a top high school runner in the state. William Trent, who runs for Monticello High School, recently set a new state record in the 400 during the 2019 Virginia High School League Class 3 state track and field championships.
In addition to the track dedication, CHS plans to nominate Coach Elder later this year for the Virginia High School League Hall of Fame.