Legendary Tennessee State University women’s track coach Ed Temple has passed away. He was 89.
According to TSU, Temple's daughter confirmed he died Thursday night after battling a longtime illness.
During his career, Temple famously led the university's Tigerbelles to 27 Olympic medals.
Temple was the TSU women's track coach from 1953-1994, where he led more than 40 athletes to the Olympics and won more than 30 national titles.
He was also head coach of the U.S. Olympic Women's Track and Field teams for two games in the 60s and was assistant coach in 1980.
Temple also coached Wilma Rudolph, who in the 1960s, was considered the fastest female in the world.
Perhaps most notably, Temple accomplished all of this during a time when he and his teams regularly faced racism.
In a statement, TSU's president said "The TSU family has truly lost a precious gem and contributor to the history and legacy that is TSU.”
A 9-foot bronze statue of Temple was unveiled last year at First Tennessee Park.
Steve Underwood, Titans President, released the following statement on Temple's passing:
“I am saddened to hear the news of Coach Temple’s passing. I knew him for close to two decades from his time with the Sports Authority, where he provided important input through the years. His significant contributions to so many different groups are legendary. I always enjoyed my conversations with him and admired his sense of humor. He had such a great way about him, I could see how he was able to connect with his athletes and help them reach the heights that they did. We also feel for Tennessee State University for the loss of such an iconic figure. As an organization, our thoughts are with Coach Temple’s family and all of those who he touched through a lifetime of success.”