Nov. 11, 2004
University of New Mexico volunteer assistant track and field coach Lee Hirst passed away on Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2004 at the age of 82. Hirst had served as an assistant sprints coach, under UNM associate head coach Mark Henry, for the past five years and was a well-known figure among New Mexico track and field enthusiasts. Hirst was involved in track and field for over 60 years, competing for Indiana University in the 1940s before moving to New Mexico.
Hirst captured the New Jersey state title in the 880 yard run for Trenton (N.J.) Central High School and helped the TCHS mile relay team capture three gold medals at the Penn Relays. After his completing his career at Indiana, Hirst went on to a rugby career at St. John's (Santa Fe) College and later competed on the first UNM rugby squad as a graduate student in 1971. Hirst continued to excel on the track winning masters world and national 400-meter titles in the 60-64 class in 1987.
Hirst coached track at Albuquerque Sandia High School and served as a training coach for collegiate and club rugby teams in Albuquerque and Santa Fe. He earned his degree in Journalism from Indiana in 1948 and earned his masters in Arts & Science from St. John's (Santa Fe) College in 1973. Hirst is survived by his wife Marie and their four children.