2010 Hall of Fame Inductee: Paul Poce

A groundbreaking athletics coach, Paul Poce founded the distinguished Toronto Olympic Club in 1954. Toronto’s oldest running club remains a force in Canadian high performance sport.

Poce is a long-time national coach, an expert in distance running. He has been a Canadian Team member at a long list of major international events. He was head athletics coach for Canada at the Barcelona 1992 Olympic Games, and distance coach for the 1972 and 1976 Olympic Games in Munich and Montreal. He would have continued that role in 1980, but for the boycott.

Poce was head coach of the Canadian athletics team for the 1983 Pan American Games, after coaching the distance runners at the Games of 1979 and 1967. For the Commonwealth Games, he was athletics head coach in 1966, distance coach in 1970, 1974 and 1978, observer coach in 1986, distance coach again in 1990 and assistant head coach in 1994.

He has personally coached some of Canada’s top athletes, including John Craig, Paul Craig and Jerome Drayton. John Craig would have competed at the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow. Paul Craig competed in Montreal in 1976, finishing 14th in the 1,500 metres. He also would have competed in 1980.

Drayton is Canada’s greatest marathon runner of all time, a title bestowed on him in 1999. In 2005, he was named Canada’s top male distance runner of all time. His Canadian marathon record of 2:10.09, set in 1975, still stands. He set two world records in the 1970s in the three- and 10-mile races. A 1976 Olympian, he was 6th in marathon. He won the 1977 Boston Marathon and took silver at the 1978 Commonwealth Games. Before all of this, Poce recognized his talents and recruited him into distance running, and into the Toronto Olympic Club.

That club, Poce’s legacy, has developed many outstanding Canadian runners and Olympic and World Championship team members. Poce is still its head coach and administrator, continuing to help athletes achieve their potential on the track.