Hugh Hackett served as the Lobos' head track coach from 1959-77, and was a major player during New Mexico's "Golden Years" in the early 1960s. During Hackett's tenure, UNM produced 37 All-Americans, an impressive 79-19-1 dual-meet record and won eight Western Athletic Conference championships.
Such was the school's prestige in track and field in Hackett's years that UNM hosted the NCAA Outdoor Track Championships in 1963 with Hackett serving as the meet director.
Among Hackett's notable pupils were Clarence Robinson, who broke Jesse Owens' broad jump record and became a world-class triple jumper; Buster Quist, who won the javelin at the NCAA and Pan American Games championships; Dick Howard, a NCAA champion and 1960 Olympic bronze medalist in the 400-meter hurdles; Adolph Plummer, who smashed the world record in the 440-yard dash in 1963; and John Baker, the tremendous miler whose life was tragically cut short by cancer in 1970.
Hackett came to New Mexico as an Air Force glider pilot trainee at Kirtland Air Force Base. He like the area so much that he returned after World War II, and later graduated from UNM.
As of the summer of 2010, the 90-year-old Hackett continued to participate in the Senior Olympics, which he has done for decades.