When Curtis Pugsley ran track at BYU, he focused on his racing skills but did not know the legacy he would leave behind.
Now, the BYU track & field program has instated the Curtis Pugsley Track Athlete of the Year award in his honor.
The award honors the best male and female athletes each year. When the award was unveiled, the recipients from 1981-2011 were honored.
Men’s head coach Mark Robison said the process has been a long but worth it in the end.
“It’s been a long process that we’ve spent nine months putting together,” Robison said. “It’s been a long process and a lot of work, but a wonderful thing and I’m really pleased with the way it turned out.”
Robison said the hardest part of creating the award was finding a donor to fund it, and he is grateful for the donor who stepped up.
“The biggest process was having somebody who was willing to fund it and endow it so it would carry on for the future,” Robison said. “We were really excited about somebody coming forward with that.”
The award was named in honor of Pugsley, who ran track at BYU from 2000-04. He was named an All-American multiple times and conference champion in the decathlon.
Pugsley said he wants this award to stand for how the athletes can overcome the struggles they will face in their life.
“I want this award to represent all of us,” Pugsley said. “And as we go through life and we have to face a lot of struggles and trials and problems, it’s about using that same drive we had in competition to get through life and help those around us.”
Women’s head coach Patrick Shane said the award is a wonderful idea and looks forward to the tradition of the award continuing.
“It was a wonderful idea and it really brought together a lot of people that understood what the tradition here at BYU is in track and field,” Shane said. “It’s a great tradition that we’ve started and I’m looking forward to keeping it alive every year with a new presentation.”
The winners for 2011 are Leif Arrhenius, Miles Batty and Lacey Bleazard.
Arrhenius graduated from BYU last year and is now on the Sweden national team preparing for the 2012 Olympics.
Arrhenius said he feels a lot of humility from winning the award.
“I’m honored and very humbled,” Arrhenius said. “There is a lot of great athletes here so it’s cool.”
Batty is currently a senior at BYU and said he was surprised to win.
“I expected Leif to get it cause he had a great year,” Batty said. “But it’s great that both of us received it.”
Now, Pugsley has his name on an award and will forever be remembered as one of the greatest track athletes at BYU.