Tony Waldrop Obituary, Death – Tony Waldrop, former University of South Alabama president died at his home in Chapel Hill, North Carolina on November 03, 2022, after a lengthy illness. He died at age 70. Tony was an American academic administrator, researcher, and former athlete. Waldrop was born in the town of Columbus, North Carolina. In high school, he was the state half-mile champion. He was a Morehead-Cain Scholar and ran track at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC). He earned a B.A. in political science as a Top Five NCAA Student Athlete in 1974.
In 1980, he received his MA in physical education from UNC, and in 1981, he received his Ph.D. in cellular and molecular physiology. He completed his postdoctoral training at the Harry S. Moss Heart Center at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. As a freshman member of the UNC track team, he had never run more than seven miles in a single session. Nonetheless, he followed the advice of the coaches and ran ten miles in the morning and ten miles in the evening. After a week, his arches collapsed, forcing him to use crutches.
At the University of North Carolina, Waldrop was an All-American and six-time Atlantic Coast Conference champion. In 1974, he set the world indoor mile record. (3:55.0). He won two NCAA championships: the indoor 1,000 yards in 1973 and the indoor mile in 1974. He won the Penn Relays in 1974 by running the mile in 3:53.2 seconds. Track and Field News featured him on the cover of both the March and May 1974 issues, with the latter photographing him at the Penn Relays. He was the first person to run a 4-minute mile in the Wanamaker Mile at the Millrose Games in 1974. In 1975, he started working as an assistant track coach at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
He won a gold medal in the 1500 meters at the Pan American Games in Mexico City the same year. After the 1976 indoor season, he hung up his spikes. Waldrop asserts, “For me, hanging up my shoes and moving on with my life was a simple decision. Except for a few seconds while watching the 1500m at the Games, I never regretted my decision to retire during the Olympic year… I accomplished far more than I expected while staying on track. I had so many other goals in life…” The pressure at the 1972 Olympic trials was unbearable, according to Waldrop. As a result, making the Olympic team after college was “never an overwhelming goal.”
From 1982 to 1986, Waldrop worked as a research fellow at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. He received a Postdoctoral Fellowship from the National Institutes of Health. In Texas, he also taught respiration and physiology to medical and health science students. Waldrop was a professor of molecular and integrative physiology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He taught undergraduate, graduate, and medical students. At the University of Illinois, he was named vice chancellor for research. He became vice chancellor for research and graduate studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2001. Every year, he was in charge of $577 million in research funding. In August 2010, he was named provost and executive vice president of the University of Central Florida. In 2014, he was named the third president of the University of South Alabama.