Legendary Oakton College coach inducted into Hall of Fame
Former Oakton College men's and women's cross country, indoor and outdoor track & field and marathon coach Patrick Savage was inducted into the Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference Hall of Fame at an event at the McHenry County College, June 15.
"Pat is a legend in the world of cross country and track & field. I'm very glad we have this opportunity to thank him for all his contributions to Oakton and our student-athletes, as well as to the sport of junior college running at the conference, state, region and national levels," said Christine Paciero, Oakton Athletics senior manager. "Oakton has a rich athletic history and these moments give us a chance to remember and appreciate those that built it."
Savage was the Oakton's men's and women's head cross country and head indoor and outdoor track & field coach from 1971-2003 and marathon coach from 1979-2002, training 39 National Junior College All-Americans and four National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) national champions. In 2002, Oakton won the NJCAA National Championship in the marathon.
Along with his national success, Savage guided 19 Skyway Conference cross-country champions, and his teams captured eight NJCAA regional cross-country titles, including the Women's Indoor and Outdoor Track and Field Region Championships. Almost 90 Oakton student-athletes coached by Savage earned Skyway All-Conference honors.
"Having been the head cross country, indoor and outdoor track & field and marathon coach of the men's and women's teams for 33 years, I am humbled by this honor. There are so many great men and women who are already in the Skyway Hall of Fame and I am honored to join them," said Savage. "I was truly blessed to have had so many good student-athletes compete for me at Oakton. In addition, I owe so much of my success to Tom Jorndt, the Oakton athletic director, for most of my coaching time here."
Savage's commitment to the students has earned him the NJCAA Region IV Coach of the Year honors eight times.
"Running for coach Savage shaped everything I did afterward," said Steven Rosenblum, who Savage coached at Niles West High School and Oakton. "He expected a lot from us, a lot of mileage, and a lot of hard work, but was always there for us not only as a coach but also as a mentor."
A Chicago resident, Savage was inducted into to the Illinois Track and Cross Country Coaches Hall of Fame in 1989. In 2011, he retired from DePaul University, his alma mater, where he coached cross country and indoor and outdoor track & field since 2005.
An outstanding collegiate runner, Savage was a two-time captain (junior and senior seasons) and MVP of both the Blue Demon track & field and cross country teams during his junior year at DePaul. He was inducted into the DePaul Athletic Hall of Fame in 1993. The university awards the Pat Savage Endowed Scholarship for Track and Field, the largest athletic scholarship at DePaul.
Savage also coached cross country and track at Niles West High School for over 30 years, starting in the late '60s. In 1995, the Niles West Indian Cross Country Invitational was renamed the Patrick J. Savage Invitational.
Savage has served as the president of the Illinois Track and Cross Country Coaches Association and the Illinois Community College Track and Cross Country Coaches Association and the Chicago Runner Association.
Oakton is a member of the NJCAA, NJCAA Region IV and Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference and competes regionally and nationally every semester. To learn more, visit www.oakton.edu/life-at-oakton/athletics.