He grew up in Gary, Indiana, attending Roosevelt High School where he played football and was first in the state in the 100m as a senior. He attended the University of Illinois, from where he gained a degree in physical education. He was in the US army in special services when he broke the world record at the International Military Track Meet in West Berlin in August 1956. He left the army later that year, and became athletics director at Ogden Park, Chicago, before teaching and coaching sports in his home town. He became head track coach at West Side High School, then in 1982 returned to the University of Illinois to coach track. Although he trained the Saudi Arabian Olympic track team in the summer of 1988 for the Seoul Olympics, he declined the opportunity to move to Saudi Arabia and stayed with Illinois, becoming associate head coach in 1997 before retiring in 2000. He lives in Urbana, Illinois.