Introduction of Ding Dussault, presented by Joel Williams, Tufts Head Coach of Track & Field
In the nearly 150-year history of Tufts Athletics, there have been plenty of unique characters who have donned the Brown & Blue. But when it comes to larger than life personalities, perhaps no Jumbo can compare to legendary men’s track & field coach Clarence “Ding” Dussault.
Always loquacious and sharply attired, Ding left a lasting impression on everyone he met. He could warm anybody up. In fact, Ding managed to befriend Red Sox legend – and the generally ill-tempered - Ted Williams. Every year the two would go off on long fishing trips to Maine and Nova Scotia. And one of Ding’s student-athletes had this to say: “After God created Ding Dussault, he broke the mold. Ding could sweet talk [anyone] into believing he could win the Boston Marathon.”
Prior to Tufts, Ding competed in track while at Georgetown University in the late 1920’s, running a leg on their championship 2-mile relay team that broke a world record.
In 1931, Ding arrived in Medford to begin what would become a 38-year career as the Jumbos track & field coach. Between 1931 and 1970, Ding’s teams won 453 dual and triangular meets while losing just 69. Amazingly, Ding coached 17 undefeated seasons, 12 Eastern Intercollegiate Team Champions, five New England titles, 18 IC4A individual champions, as well as two world record holders and two Olympians.
While at Tufts, Ding also served as an official at the 1964 Olympic Games in Tokyo and as a member of the U.S. Olympic Track & Field Committee.
Upon Ding’s retirement from Tufts, more than 400 people attended a banquet hosted by the Tufts Jumbo Club in October 1969. And in 1970, the varsity track at the Ellis Oval was named the “Ding Dussault Track” in Ding’s honor. In 1971, Ding passed away due to a heart attack at the age of 71.
Tonight it is our privilege to recognize one of the most dedicated, colorful, and successful Jumbos in our long history.