Bill Toomey has been one of the most recognizable names in track & field for over five decades. In 1960, he won the first of his four Amateur Athletic Union pentathlon titles at Colorado. In 1963, he set his sights a bit higher, becoming a decathlete, amassing five more AAU titles. While at Colorado, Toomey also became a two-time All-American for his accomplishments.
In 1965, Bill traveled to Budapest to compete in the Universiade Games, in which he placed first. Two years later, he again placed first in the Pan-American Games in Winnipeg, setting him up well for his next undertaking.
Bill Toomey’s crowning achievement came in 1968 when he won the gold medal in the decathlon at the Mexico City Olympic Games. Traditionally, the title of “World’s Greatest Athlete” has been given to the person who wins the Olympic Decathlon. Because of his victory in the Olympics, ABC’s Wide World of Sports named him Athlete of the Year in 1968.
The year 1969 proved to be another great year for Toomey as he was named Track & Field News’ Athlete of the Year. Bill was also presented the James E. Sullivan Award by the AAU for being the most outstanding amateur athlete in the United States. The year finished off well for Brother Toomey when he set the world record for the decathlon, a record he held until 1972.
In total, Bill Toomey would win an astounding 23 of the 38 decathlons in which he competed. He later went on to have a successful career as a television broadcaster and marketing consultant.
In the early 1970’s, Bill took over as Head Coach of the Track & Field team at the University of California- Irvine. In 1971, he was inducted into the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame.
For some time, Brother Bill Toomey was known as the world’s greatest athlete.
At Phi Delta Theta’s General Convention in 2016, Toomey was inducted into the Fraternity’s Sports Hall of Fame.