FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE) – On November 13th, 2001, Dutch Warmerdam passed away at the age of 86. Warmerdam was Fresno State’s head track & field coach from 1961-1980, and he led the team to a national championship in 1964.

Before Dutch Warmerdam was the Bulldogs’ coach, he was a Bulldog student-athlete. And he held the world record in the pole vault; he was the first person ever to clear 15 feet!

Fun fact: Dutch Warmerdam taught himself how to be a pole vaulter. He did so while growing up in Hanford, using the limb of a peach tree. (He would later trade that in for bamboo.)

Dutch Warmerdam held the outdoor record in the pole vault for 15 years, and he held the indoor record for 16 years. He cleared 15 feet 43 times before anyone else did it once!

In 1942, Dutch Warmerdam won the Sullivan Award as the nation’s best amateur athlete. In 1974, he was inducted into the National Track & Field Hall of Fame.