Tom Chilton

Hall of Fame • Class of 2014

Along with Terry Hull Crawford, Tom Chilton is perhaps one of the most celebrated KTC athletes ever. Chilton competed for Oak Ridge High School and was awarded a track scholarship at Tennessee Tech. After Tennessee Tech Tom joined the KTC in the early sixties and competed on a national level until 1978 as a sprinter and long jumper, with a lifetime best of 26 ft 8 in.

It should be noted that in the 1960s, before Nike and shoe company contracts, nationally ranked athletes like Chilton were often sponsored by and represented track clubs like the KTC and New York Athletic Club.

Representing the Knoxville Track Club, Chilton had the tenth best U.S. long jump in 1967. That same year Chilton placed fourth in the 1967 AAU National Championships. In 1968 Tom improved to the number seven U.S. ranking - Bob Beamon was first at over 29 ft and Ralph Boston was second that year. Chilton represented the KTC at prestigious indoor meets such as the Millrose Games and the Mason-Dixon Games.

At the Crystal Palace in London, Chilton once defeated former Olympic champion Lynn Davies in the long jump event and defeated former Olympic champs Ralph Boston and Bob Beamon in other competition meets.

Between 1965 and 1972 Chilton won eleven medals in Indoor and Outdoor National Championship meets.

Tom Chilton was even more impressive as he continued as a Masters athlete for KTC. At the age of 42 Chilton won the World Masters Championship long jump in Europe, with a jump of 7.43 meters (24 ft 4 in) and was ranked number one in the world for his age group. In a recent listing of the All-Time World Masters athletes aged 35-40, Chilton ranked sixteenth best in the world with a jump of 7.90 meters (25 ft 11 in) accomplished on August 16, 1972.

On the All-Time World Masters ranking list, his March 24, 1978 jump of 7.43 meters (24 ft 4 in) is ranked fifth best ever of athletes over age 40. His mark of 7.43 is also second best ever for U.S. athletes age 40-44 behind only Aaron Sampson who jumped 7.68 in 2002.

Chilton was elected into the Tennessee Tech Sports Hall of Fame in 1979 and also elected into the Oak Ridge Sports Hall of Fame in 1992.

Tom was employed for 43 years as a professor and an administrator for the University of South Alabama in Mobile and still continues with that University on a part time basis.