Veteran American athletics coach Lee Evans was laid to rest at Wasimi, Ogun State, on Thursday.
The former world record holder in the 400m event was laid to rest Thursday in a tomb in the private cemetery of the Segun Odegbami International College and Sports Academy, in Wasimi Orile, Ogun State.
The choice of burial site it was gathered was in accordance with the late coach’s wishes, and with the support of the siblings and children of the deceased.
Lee Evans died Wednesday, May 19, 2021, at age 74.
Among many other heroic feats, Evans was the first man to run under 44 seconds in the 400 metres event, winning the gold medal at the Mexico City Olympic Games in a time of 43.86s.
He set two world records that lasted 20 years and his success in his chosen sport earned him an induction into the USA Track and Field Hall of Fame in 1983.
The American coach had a long working relationship with several Nigerian athletes, many of whom he nurtured into stardom.
While he had worked on grassroots sports development across Nigeria in various capacities at different times; Evans’ last ongoing project in the country was with football legend, Segun Odegbami.
Odegbami in one of his tributes to Evans said: “His (Evans) last few months on earth were spent dreaming big about a future with young boys and girls passing through the Segun Odegbami International College and Sports Academy, SOCA, and teaching and training them to be first-class student-athletes.
“He was passionate about establishing a high-level training centre facility with the help of the International Olympic Committee, the Nigeria Olympic Committee, and OlympAfrica on the campus of SOCA. One month before his death, he supervised the clearing of the land area for the centre.”
As succinctly captured by Odegbami, Lee was an athlete, teacher, coach, social and political activist, and civil and human rights crusader.
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