Sandor "Alex" Ferenczy (2024)

About Sandor "Alex" Ferenczy

Alex Ferenczy exemplifies the commitment that helped bring Women’s Track & Field to a new level of respect at the national and international level in the pre title IX era. His 1980 induction statement by the Cleveland Sports Hall of Fame, called him "one of the nation's finest women's track coaches for nearly a quarter century." The achievements of his athletes during his time as a coach from 1957 until his retirement in 1976 support that statement about Sandor “Alex” Ferenczy. However, the path he had to take to achieve such respect and success was one that required great resolve that only few individuals ever possess. Alex studied sports training in his homeland of Hungary but fled to Germany to escape from the Soviets in 1945. While in Germany he initially went to work for the U.S. Army as a dishwasher before later being promoted to bartender which Alex described as the “best job in Germany.” While in Germany he met his wife, Marta Szoboszlay, a fellow Hungarian refugee. The couple returned to their homeland in 1946 and began raising a family. In 1956, Alex was managing a sports club and working for a construction company in Budapest when the Hungarian revolution arose. Hoping for Western support that never came Alex, with his family at his side, once again fled his native Hungary. Soon after leaving Hungary he and his family joined about 12,000 other Hungarian refugees and a distant relative in Cleveland, Ohio. Once in Cleveland he worked as an engineering technician and a designer for the architectural firm of Trygve Hoff and Associates. He later worked independently in the field. His coaching career began in 1957 when he moonlighted taking the reins coaching women's track for the Cleveland Division of Recreation Track Club (later the Cleveland Track Club) and the Cleveland Magyar Athletic Club. It took just two years with the city team to start a long streak of at least one national champion per year. The positive and disciplined impact Alex had on his athletes is well stated by Madeline Manning Mims, who captured a gold medal in the 800 meters at the 1968 Olympics, under his guidance. Mims said, “He became a father figure in my life, at a time I really needed a father. He always said, “You can't do things sloppily.” “I didn't just take off my sweats and throw them to the side. I had to fold them and place them. If I took off my shoes, I had to tie the laces together so I wouldn't lose one. I tucked my shirt in.” He served as the Head Coach for the U.S. Women’s Olympic Track Team in 1968 in Mexico City and 1976 in Montreal. He also served as the Head Coach for the AAU National Team in Moscow in 1973. He coached Olympians Vivian Brown, 200 meters, 1964; Elenore Montgomery, High Jump, 1964 & 1968; Sandra Knott, 800 meters, 1964 and Madeline Manning, 800 meters Gold Medalist, 1968. Brown, Montgomery and Manning are all members of the OATCCC Hall of Fame. His athletes won 43 national & 5 Pan-American championships and set 15 national and seven world records prior to his retirement after the 1976 Olympics. Congratulations to Coach Alex Frenczy for his devotion to the youth of Cleveland and national commitment to the sport of Women’s Track & Field. The OATCCC is truly honored to recognize and include Sandor "Alex" Ferenczy as a 2024 Inductee to the OATCCC Hall of Fame.

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