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Normandy Teacher, Former Olympian Inducted into Missouri Sports Hall of Fame

PASADENA HILLS, MO – Students and staff at Jefferson Elementary School are beaming with pride as they celebrate the induction of Denise McField into the 2019 Missouri Sports Hall of Fame for Track and Field.

McField, a physical education teacher at Jefferson, was among a group of people honored for their contributions to the Berkeley and McCluer South-Berkeley High School Track and Field programs. They were recently recognized during the induction ceremony in Springfield, Mo., for having won a combined 28 state team championships between 1982 and 2017.

As head coach at Berkeley High School from 1986 to 1993, McField’s girls track and field teams won state championships in 1990, 1991, and 1993.

To fellow Hall of Fame inductee and former student Pasha Lewis, McField was more than just a coach.

Lewis ran for “Coach Mc,” as she affectionately calls McField, from 1990 to 1992 during her freshman, sophomore, and junior years.

“She brought things out of me that I didn’t know that I had in myself,” Lewis said.

“I was their everything,” McField chimed in. “I was their other mama, counselor, best friend, and disciplinarian.”

McField leverages her professional background to bring out the natural talents of her students.

As a USA Track & Field-Level 2 certified coach, McField instructs her students on proper mechanics and how to strategically run their races. She also helps students realize the value of their contributions to society as a whole.

With a career that spans more than 30 years, McField has left an everlasting mark.

McField, originally from Spanish Town, Jamaica, represented her home country as an alternate in the 4x100 meter relay in the 1976 Summer Olympics held in Montreal, Canada.

 “Jamaica is poor,” she said. “We came here because, like a lot of immigrants, my mom wanted us to have a better way of life.”

She and her family settled in Brooklyn, N.Y., where she would eventually earn a bachelor’s degree in physical education from Brooklyn College. She earned a master’s degree in sports medicine and exercise physiology from Indiana State University.

McField relocated to St. Louis in 1983, and began her career as an educator at Cupples Elementary School in the Saint Louis Public Schools.

In 1997, she began teaching at Normandy Middle School in the Normandy School District while serving as an assistant track coach at Normandy High School. She coached at the high school for eight years. She began teaching at Jefferson Elementary in 2014.

McField still finds time to coach for the St. Louis Blues Track Club, a local youth track team. She’s coached with the club for the past 20 years.

“I don’t expect any type of award for what I do because it comes from my heart,” McField said.

 

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CAPTION:  Denise McField, physical education teacher at Jefferson Elementary, is a recent inductee into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame for her career in track & field. McField is a former Olympian who was an alternate in the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal, Canada.