MTSU’s Brian Oldfield dies

Aldo Amato, The Daily News Journal, March 28, 2017

Brian Oldfield is congratulated after he bettered the world indoor shot put record with a heave of 69 feet, 11 ½ inches. The record performance by Oldfield was set at the International Track Association’s third official meet at San Francisco’s Cow Palace on April 2, 1973. (Photo: File / AP)

MURFREESBORO — Brian Oldfield, one of the greatest athletes ever to pass through MTSU, died Sunday, the school said Monday. He was 71.

Oldfield is best known for popularizing the spin technique in the discus throw, which still can be seen today. He used that same technique to set the unofficial world shot put record in 1975 with a throw of 75 feet.

“He tried it, and by golly it worked,” longtime MTSU track coach Dean Hayes said of the technique. “To me, he’s the greatest athlete to come through MTSU. For what he did for the sport and the school. In terms of just natural athletic talent, he had it all.”

Oldfield set MTSU records in the shot put in 1966 and placed sixth on the 1972 U.S. Olympic team.

He was the first Blue Raider to grace the cover of Sports Illustrated and is regarded as one of the best track and field athletes of all time.

Oldfield also competed in the Highland Games, where he set and still holds multiple world and American records along with competing in “The World’s Strongest Man” and “The Superstars” competition.

He also tried wrestling and boxing following his prolific career.

At 6-foot-5, 245 pounds, Oldfield could do just about anything, Hayes said.

Hayes recalled talking with former MTSU basketball coach Ken Trickey on the basketball court at MTSU when Oldfield did something extraordinary.

“He said, ‘Hey, Coach, look at this,” Hayes said. “He ran up to the rim and stuck his foot through the bottom of the rim.

“That’s how athletic he was. He was our Bo Jackson.”

A woman who identified herself as Oldfield’s sister picked up a phone number listed on

“He was in poor health,” Lori Grimes said. “He was one of a kind and he lived life large.

“He loved the sport (shot put) and relived all of his achievements every day.”

Reach Aldo Amato at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @Aldo_Amato.


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