Rather than high jumping, Towns specialized in the high hurdles, winning NCAA and AAU titles in the 120 y hurdles event in 1935. It was the beginning of a 60 race winning streak, lasting until 1937.
In 1936, Towns was named to the American Olympic team, becoming the first Georgian to achieve this. During the Olympics in Berlin, Germany, Towns became the world record holder with 14.1, and he won the Olympic gold in 14.2. Also, he became the first Georgian to earn Olympic Gold. Shortly after the Games, he became the first hurdler under 14 seconds. At a race in Oslo, he dramatically improved the world record to 13.7 – a time that would stand until 1950.
After college, Towns became Head Track and Field coach at UGA, a position he held until 1975. In 1991, he died in Athens, Georgia at age 77. He was honored at the University with the naming of the Spec Towns Track, and an annual meet called the Spec Towns invitational.