Dunbar track champ Wallace dies

Craig Wallace, one of Dayton’s most decorated track and field sprinters, died last Friday from complications of diabetes. He was 67.

In 1964, Wallace won the big-school Class AA state high school track and field title for Dunbar High School by himself, then only the second to do so following Glenn Davis of Barberton in 1954.

Wallace swept the 100- and 220-yard dashes and the broad jump as a senior in the state meet at Ohio Stadium in Columbus. His 18 points – six for each win – was one point better than runner-up Cleveland Glenville.

That was an era of Ohio high school track excellence that often showcased Dunbar and Glenville. The oval rivals won or placed second at state as teams in all but two years from 1959-70.

Wallace’s best times in high school were 9.5 in the 100 (yards) and 20.7 in the 220.

At Kentucky State University, Wallace tied indoor world records for the 60- and 70-yard dashes.

Wallace’s younger brother Olden won the 1969 Class AA 100-yard dash state title as a senior for Roosevelt.

“(Craig) left some footprints at Welcome Stadium that I could follow,” said Olden from his Los Angeles home on Monday.

Craig Wallace also coached track and cross country for several Dayton City League teams. He spent more than 30 years as a classroom teacher and in those head coaching positions at Patterson Co-Op and Career Center.

“He coached a long time and coached and mentored a lot of kids and impacted a lot of lives in Dayton, as well as some adults,” said Olden.

Easily recognizable with a full and thick beard after his running career was done, Wallace eventually was disabled by diabetes. After retiring from Dayton Public Schools, he moved to Victorville, Calif., where he died.

Craig Wallace also is survived by a sister, Henrietta Fair, daughters Audrea Kirk and Deatrice Kirk, grandson Dillon and granddaughter Naya and numerous nieces and nephews.

A memorial gathering to celebrate Craig’s life will be held during the 50th reunion of Dunbar High School’s Class of 1964 next June.