Leader in Jacksonville Track and Field History Dies at 93


Nathaniel Washington, the founder of the Bob Hayes Invitational, passed away Saturday at the age of 93 after a battle with a brief illness, according to the Florida Times Union. 

Washington was Bob Hayes' track and football coach in the 1950s when the Olympian was a student a Matthew Gilbert high school. 

After Hayes won two golds at the 1964 Olympic Games, Washington started what would become one of Florida's most impactful track and field events to date. 

Washington brought in five schools the first year of the meet: Matthew Gilbert, Douglas Anderson, New Stanton, Northwestern, and Stanton Vocational High School. 

Changes were being made in the late 60s in light of desegregation. Washington's school, Douglas Anderson High School, was officially phased out in 1968 of the Jacksonville school system leaving Washington without a home base for the meet. 

The meet then moved to Raines High under Coach James Day and continues to be hosted by Raines, Coach Day, and the Bob Hayes foundation to this day. 

This meet has now grown to draw over 150 schools, from all over the nation with 3000 athletes participating each year. 

Read: Nathaniel Washington, Founder of Bob Hayes Track Meet, Dies at 93