Hec Edmundson

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This article is about the coach. For the arena in Seattle, see Alaska Airlines Arena at Hec Edmundson Pavilion.
Clarence "Hec" Edmundson
Sport(s) Basketball, Track & Field
Biographical details
Born (1886-08-03)August 3, 1886
Moscow, Idaho, U.S.
Died August 6, 1964(1964-08-06) (aged 78)
Seattle, Washington
Alma mater University of Idaho,
B.S. (agriculture), 1910 [1]
Coaching career (HC unless noted)

Track & Field


Texas A&M
Head coaching record
Overall 879–254 (.776)

Clarence Sinclair "Hec" Edmundson (August 3, 1886 – August 6, 1964) was a college basketball and track head coach.

A native of Moscow, Idaho, and a 1910 graduate of the University of Idaho,[1] Edmundson coached at his alma mater (1916–18) and the University of Washington (1920–47), compiling a 508–204 (.713) overall record in 29 seasons.[2]

Edmundson also coached the track teams and served on the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Committee from 1941-46. The University of Washington hosted the national basketball finals in 1949 and 1952 in the arena that bears his name.[2]


Edmundson gained his nickname from his mother: as a child he often muttered, "Oh, heck."[3][4]

Collegiate and Olympic career[edit]

Final of the 800 m at the 1912 Olympics; Edmundson is second from right

One of the first great athletes at the fledgling University of Idaho in Moscow, Edmundson competed in track for his hometown university, and launched the team onto the national stage when he and two other athletes traveled to the Lewis and Clark Exposition Games against the top schools in the Northwest.[5] While still in high school at the UI prep school, he lowered the Northwest record for the half-mile in June 1905.[6][7]

Newspapers wrote that Edmundson "impressed with his graceful form and unfaltering determination." He is responsible for organizing the Idaho cross country team in 1908, which set the foundation for a team that would win nine Pacific Coast Conference titles. In 1908, Edmundson traveled to Stanford for the western U.S. Olympic trials, where he won the 800 meters and finished second in the 400 meters,[8] but did not make the Olympic team. He later held the title of top half-miler in the country through 1912. Edmundson became the first Idahoan to compete in the Olympic Games in Stockholm in 1912.[9] He finished seventh in the 800 meters and sixth in the 400 meters.[10]

Edmundson attended the UI prep school and was a charter member of the new chapter of Kappa Sigma fraternity as an undergraduate.[11] He earned a bachelor's degree in agriculture from Idaho in 1910,[1][12] and then taught and coached at the high school level, one year each at Coeur d'Alene and Broadway High School in Seattle. He returned to Moscow to coach the UI track team in 1913.[13]

Coaching career[edit]

After several seasons as track coach at Idaho, he left after a salary dispute and coached at Whitman College in Walla Walla for a season.[13] He returned to Idaho as both track and basketball coach in 1916 and his basketball teams compiled a 20-9 record in two seasons. It was these basketball teams which were the first UI teams referred to as the Vandals;[14] the nickname was eventually applied to all of the university's athletic teams by the early 1920s.[15] After a track season at Texas A&M, he headed to Seattle to coach the Washington Huskies, where he is credited with the creation of the fast-break offense style, which he attributed to his track background. He coached basketball through March 1947, and continued as track coach for another seven years.

Hec Ed Pavilion[edit]

"Hec Ed" in 2012

The UW Pavilion, a multi-purpose field house opened in December 1927, was renamed "Hec Edmundson Pavilion" in his honor in January 1948. In March 1999, "Hec Ed" underwent a major interior renovation for 19 months and re-opened in November 2000.[16]


Edmundson died of a stroke in August 1964 at the age of 78, and was interred in Calvary Cemetery in northeast Seattle, about a mile (1.6 km) north-northeast of the Hec Edmundson Pavilion. He is buried next to his wife Mary Zona Schultz (1887–1980), son James (1924–2000), and infant child (1921) (47°40′02″N 122°17′40″W / 47.66733°N 122.29431°W / 47.66733; -122.29431).[17][18] Edmundson was posthumously inducted into the Big W Club, the UW athletics hall of fame, in the first class of 1979.[19]

Edmundson's parents were Thomas Sinclair Edmundson (1854–1898) and Emma Jeannette Rowley (1858–1930),[4] both buried in Moscow. His younger brother was Wilbur Clifford Edmundson.[20] who taught horticulture at the UI and later worked for the Department of Agriculture in Washington, D.C.[21]

Head coaching record[edit]

Season Team Overall Conference Standing Postseason
Idaho Vandals (Independent) (1916–1918)
1916–17 Idaho 8-8
1917–18 Idaho 12-1
Idaho: 20–9 (.690)
Washington Huskies (Pacific Coast Conference) (1920–1947)
1920–21 Washington 18-4 10-4 3rd
1921–22 Washington 13-5 11-5 4th
1922–23 Washington 12-4 5-3 2nd
1923–24 Washington 12-4 7-2 1st
1924–25 Washington 14-7 5-5 T-3rd
1925–26 Washington 10–6 5-5 4th
1926–27 Washington 15-4 7-3 T–2nd
1927–28 Washington 22-6 9-1 1st
1928–29 Washington 18-2 10-0 1st
1929–30 Washington 21-7 12-4 1st
1930–31 Washington 25-3 14-2 1st
1931–32 Washington 19-6 12-4 1st
1932–33 Washington 22-6 10-6 2nd
1933–34 Washington 20-5 14-2 1st
1934–35 Washington 16-8 11-5 2nd
1935–36 Washington 25-7 13-3 1st
1936–37 Washington 15-11 11-5 T-2nd
1937–38 Washington 29-7 13-7 2nd
1938–39 Washington 20-5 11-5 2nd
1939–40 Washington 10-15 6-10 4th
1940–41 Washington 12-13 7-9 T-3rd
1941–42 Washington 18-7 10-6 2nd
1942–43 Washington 24-7 12-4 1st NCAA Elite Eight
1943–44 Washington 26-6 15-1 1st
1944–45 Washington 22-18 5-11 4th
1945–46 Washington 14-14 6-10 4th
1946–47 Washington 16-8 8-8 3rd
Washington: 488–195 (.714) 259–130 (.666)
Total: 508–204 (.713)

      National champion         Postseason invitational champion  
      Conference regular season champion         Conference regular season and conference tournament champion
      Division regular season champion       Division regular season and conference tournament champion
      Conference tournament champion


  1. ^ a b c "Seniors". Gem of the Mountains, University of Idaho yearbook. May 1910. p. 31. 
  2. ^ a b Eskenazi, David. "Wayback Machine: Ace Coach Hec Edmundson". Retrieved 24 February 2014. 
  3. ^ "'Hec' to the Future". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. March 3, 1999. p. D-1. 
  4. ^ a b Capace, Nancy (2000). "Encyclopedia of Idaho". Google Books. p. 158. 
  5. ^ “Hall of Famers Arrive on Campus: Clarence ‘Hec’ Edmundson,” University of Idaho news release (Sept 6, 2007).
  6. ^ "Idaho at the Lewis and Clark Exposition". Gem of the Mountains, University of Idaho yearbook. May 1906. p. 119. 
  7. ^ "Edmundson sets new record". Spokesman-Review. June 18, 1905. p. 3. 
  8. ^ Hymans, Richard (2008). "History of the United States Olympic Trials - Track & Field" (PDF). USA Track & Field. pp. 41, 45. 
  9. ^ "Idaho Vandals Hall of Fame". University of Idaho Atletics. 2007. Retrieved December 1, 2013. 
  10. ^ Sports Reference.com – Hec Edmundson - 1912 Olympics - accessed 2011-10-01
  11. ^ "Juniors". Gem of the Mountains, University of Idaho yearbook. May 1909. p. 41. 
  12. ^ Basketball: a biographical dictionary - compiled by David L. Porter, 2005, p.128, ISBN 0-313-30952-3
  13. ^ a b "UI gave famous UW coach his big push in athletics". Lewiston Morning Tribune. University of Idaho news bureau. September 3, 1989. p. 1D. 
  14. ^ "Basketball". Gem of the Mountains, University of Idaho yearbook. May 1918. p. 111. 
  15. ^ "What is a Vandal?". University of Idaho Athletics. Retrieved August 31, 2012. 
  16. ^ UW basketball game day magazine, vol V, no. 7, (2000-11-25), "Welcome to the New Dawghouse", p.2
  17. ^ findagrave.com - Hec Edmundson
  18. ^ "Edmundson's grave location in Calvary Cemetery". Google Maps. Retrieved May 5, 2012. 
  19. ^ Go Huskies.com - Big W Club - first class of 1979
  20. ^ "Seniors". Gem of the Mountains, University of Idaho yearbook. May 1911. p. 30. 
  21. ^ "Edmundson takes U.S. position". Washington State University Libraries. Spokesman-Review. January 23, 1918. Retrieved September 12, 2014. 

External links[edit]