Dr. Joe I. Vigil Honored with Statue Dedication

Jesse Medina
The Paw Print

A cold windy day in November saw the dedication of the Dr. Joe I. Vigil Statue on the eastside of the new stadium complex. The ceremony was part of a two-day tribute that began on Friday, November 12 and ended on Saturday, November 13 with the statue ceremony.
For those who are not aware of who Dr. Joe I. Vigil is and what his accomplishments are the following will shed some light on his accomplishments. Dr. Joe I. Vigil was Adams State College’s cross country and track coach. His resume is as such; from 1953 to 1965 he was a teacher and coach for Alamosa High School. Vigil started off as a football coach and was converted over to a track coach. “The old coach didn’t want to waste his time on the only three that went out for the team that fall,” said Vigil at the dedication dinner on Friday. “Little did I know they were the ones that got me started in being a distance and track coach.”
Vigil was an Adams State College professor and coach from 1965 to 1993. From 1980 to 1984 he was President of the NAIA Track and Field Coaches Association. From 1993 to 2006 he was a Post Collegiate Coach in Alamosa where he coached athletes such as Olympic Marathon record holder Deena Kaster. Vigil was a team USA distance running coach in California during the years 2000 to 2006. From 1967 to 2010 Vigil was a consultant to the International Federation and Five Continent International Clinician. Vigil was also the lead distance running coach for the United States in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
The following is a list of Vigil’s Hall of Fame distinctions. He is part of the NAIA Track and Field Coaches Association. He is also part of the Colorado High School Coaches Association. He is also in the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame as well as being a member of the Lasse Viren Foundation. He was part of the US Track and Field Coaches Association. Vigil is a member of the Adams State College Hall of Fame. He is also a member of the RMAC Coaches Hall of Fame. He received the USA Track and Field Lifetime Achievement Award. He is a Running USA Hall of Famer as well as being a NCAA Hall of Fame and Colorado Running Hall of Fame inductee. He also received the Olympic Jim Councilman Award.
The statue unveiling ceremony was held at the entrance to the new stadium. It began at noon and had a large turnout from the community there to celebrate Coach Joe Vigil’s recognition. In addition to community members, there were several of Vigil’s old athletes who made the trip from around the United States.
The ceremony opened with current Adams State Cross Country coach Damon Martin welcoming those in attendance. The ceremony had some of Coach Vigil’s former students and athletes from the classes of 1958 and 1960 of Alamosa High School, there to talk about the impact that Coach Vigil had on their school and sport oriented careers, as well as, the impact that he had in their lives. Several humorous stories were told about Coach Vigil and his various interactions with his students and athletes.
The previous night a banquet was held in honor of Coach Vigil and his accomplishments. A constant reoccurring theme in each speech given was the profound impact that Coach Vigil had in all of the speaker’s lives.
Speakers who attended the banquet were long-time rival, Western State College’s old coach, Duane Vandenbusche, current ASC Head cross country and track and field coach Damon Martin, Olympic Marathon runner Deena Kaster.
Kastor reminisced about her time as a new runner training for the marathon and summed up the weekend for all who attended, “On behalf of the 300-plus people who are here, we can go home with the peace that we have celebrated a great man who has left such a footprint on our hearts and our lives. We walk away with a sense of obligation to teach and touch lives in the way that Coach Vigil has done all his life.”
Coach Vigil has positively influenced many lives and was recognized for it. He was an inspiration for many. According to one speaker, the influence of Coach Vigil will be felt by admiring the statue, “Students and athletes will walk by and be reminded of the greatest distance running coach ever.”
Coach Vigil currently resides in Tucson, Arizona, however, his influence will be felt for generations to visit Adams State College.

blogs.adams.edu is powered by WordPress µ | Spam prevention powered by Akismet