Sad News: Legendary Indiana cross country and track & field coach is dead

Legendary Indiana cross country and track & field coach Ron Helmer passes away

Indiana’s legendary former cross country and track & field head coach, passed away on July 4th in Bloomington at the age of 77, according to an official release from Indiana Athletics.

“IU Athletics extends its deepest condolences to the entire Helmer family on Ron’s passing,” Indiana Athletic Director Scott Dolson said. “Ron was a legend in the track and field coaching community, someone whose success in developing champions on the college, national, and international levels over more than 50 years speaks for itself. During his 15 years at Indiana, he not only added significantly to our programs’ history of success, but he was also a leading voice and advocate among our coaching family. I know that everyone who had an opportunity to be around Ron – be that a student-athlete, a fellow coach, or a staff member – benefited greatly from that opportunity, myself very much included.”

Helmer retired from coaching following the conclusion of the 2022-23 season.

Helmer spent 37 years at Georgetown before taking over as Indiana’s head coach for the final 15 years of his career. The Hoosiers captured five team Big Ten championships during his time in Bloomington. He mentored 52 individual Big Ten champions and six NCAA individual champions with the Hoosiers.

Helmer’s family requests that, in lieu of flowers, well-wishers consider donations to Miles for Myeloma -IU Simon Comprehensive Cancer Center, c/o IU Foundation P.O. Box 7072 Indianapolis, IN 46207.

On a personal note, Ron Helmer was the first head coach I was able to cover as a member of student media with the Indiana Daily Student. Coach Helmer was always gracious with his time and treated writers and other members of the media with kindness and respect.

My condolences go to his family, friends and the countless athletes he has coached over the years.


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