Karen Shelton

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Don Webster
Track • Kennett Square

Don Webster, considered to be one of the great quarter-milers in the early 1960’s, was a phenom from Kennett Square High School. He was the first Kennett Square High School athlete to win a State Championship. As a sophomore, Webster won the 440 yard dash. Don later went on to win the 440 in 1960 and 1961, and the 220 yard dash in 1960 and 1961. He was a four-year letter winner in both track and basketball. It was his dominance in track and field, and his longevity that made him such an unforgettable athlete. As a member of the KSHS mile relay team, Webster participated in the Penn Relays. In one of the most amazing accomplishments of all-time at the Relays, Don anchored a race where the team was behind by as much as 40 yards - getting the baton - clearly out of contention. Not to be defeated, he took the baton and as if shot out of a cannon, not only made up the yardage, but overtook the leader and ran away with the race for the gold medal. This achievement was said to have stirred the crowd into a frenzy saved only for the most dynamic of performances. Some people still regard it as one the most amazing accomplishments in Penn Relay history. Webster was named Most Outstanding Penn Relays Athlete and qualified for the 1960 Olympic Trials. Don would go on to win the Penn Relays with Kennett High again in 1960, and then again also as a member of Villanova’s 1963 Mile Relay team. He would again qualify for the Olympic Trials in 1964 and 1972, barely missing out both times in qualifying for the Olympic Games. Webster was named to the Penn Relays Wall of Fame (1995). While at Villanova, Don had similar success, running both indoor and outdoor track for legendary track coach Jumbo Elliott. After two brief years at Villanova, he left school and enlisted in the Army where he achieved the rank of 1st Lieutenant, and served in Vietnam. Upon discharge from the Army, Webster entered Cal State-Hayward, ran track for Cal, and graduated with a degree in Art. Don continued to compete upon graduation, and was still competing at the age of 27 running for the prestigious Philadelphia Pioneers Track Club. After 15 years in Marketing, he returned to his love of track as a coach. Webster started as an Assistant Coach at Morgan State University (1987), and then went on to lead the Track and Field and Cross Country programs at Coppin State (1989). While at Coppin (now Coppin University), Don led the team to six Mid Eastern Athletic Conference Championships. He was also a Head Coach at South Carolina State University (1996-1998), and Bowie State University (1999-2001). Webster had such a profound influence on his athletes at Coppin, the University named a track meet in his memory. To this day, the Don Webster Invitational is run every spring at Coppin University. In 1996, Don was inducted into the Pennsylvania High School Track Hall of Fame. Many of his high school records stood for years and years - this being considered quite remarkable considering the fact that he ran on cinder tracks while the modern athletes run on fast synthetic tracks. Don Webster passed away at the age of 62 in 2006.

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