Marty Sonnenfeldt

Hall of Fame • Class of 2011

Marty Sonnenfeldt came to Knoxville in 1975 from the Netherlands to join Stan Huntsman's successful UT track and cross-country programs. Marty's impact was immediate as he helped the VOLS to the 1976-77 SEC Cross-Country Championship and the 1976-77 SEC Track and Field Championship. Individual honors won by Marty during his time at UT were All-SEC in Cross-Country (1977), the Six-Mile run (1976) and the 10,000 Meters (1977). He also finished in the top 15 at the 1976 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships in the 10,000m run.

After graduation, Marty continued to run competitively in local KTC road races through the late 1970's into the 1980's, winning most of them and setting course records which still stand today. Marty chose to remain in Knoxville and launched a successful 15 year career in the orthopedic implant and medical equipment industry. Marty wanted to serve his community and realizing the important role that sports can play in molding the lives of young people, he decided to volunteer to take over the KTC Youth Athletics Program in 1987. After 14 years of volunteering his time to the KTC Youth Athletics Program as its director Marty left the business world in 2000 to become the full time Director of the Knoxville Track Club's Youth Athletics Program (YAP).

During his tenure as YAP Director, with the support of the KTC and contributors, Marty took a good local program and elevated the program to another level. Today, the YAP serves 7000 area children ages 5-18 and is recognized as one of the best and most comprehensive youth Track & Field and Cross-Country Programs in the United States. The YAP accomplishments are numerous and span many, varied programs which include elementary, middle, and high school. For instance, the program's Outdoor Competitive Track & Field Team has produced 320 AAU All-Americans, 57 National Champions, and 12 National record holders. Two YAP athletes have gone on to make the U.S. Olympic team and in 2004, seven of KTC's current/former event specialty coaches qualified for the U.S. Olympic Trials with three making the U.S. Olympic Team and two, Tim Mack and Justin Gatlin, becoming Olympic Champions.

But one of Marty's best accomplishments was helping to found the "Adopt-A-Kid" Program, a KTC program that helps to provide funding through track club members and donors for kids that are not able to afford program, travel, entry or equipment fees for KTC events and programs. The program has raised over $90,000 since 2000 to help kids in need participate and excel in the areas of track, indoor track and cross-country.

Marty was a board member of the Knoxville Track Club from 1984 to 2008. Some of his many other accomplishments include Co-Founder of the Greater Knoxville Triathlon Club ('84), member AAU and USATF, National Level Certified Track and Field Official, former Knox County Parks and Recreation Advisory Board Member, Director of the Volunteer Track Classic (oldest meet on Tom Black Track) since 1995, developed the first state cross country championship for Middle School aged kids in 2005 and is the current meet director for the state meet, co-directed the first prize money race in Knoxville - the Artfast 5K, directed the first running race to finish in Neyland Stadium - the Tri-Delta 5K and opened Knoxville's first running specialty store - Phidippides in 1979.

Marty and his wife, Betty, also a former UT Lady Vol track athlete, have been married for 31 years and have two children, Matthew, 21 and Daniel 17. Both sons have participated in the YAP program up to 14 years and have garnered many awards in their own right as well. KTC members and our many sponsors are extremely proud of Marty's outstanding contributions to the young people of the Greater Knoxville Community.