Rice Mourns the Passing of Augie Erfurth
Sept. 8, 2014
HOUSTON, Texas - The entire Rice University family mourns the passing of August "Augie" Erfurth, Jr., who dedicated 25 years of his life to Owls athletics, most notably as Director of Athletics and as the head track coach.
Erfurth served as the Owls' director of athletics from 1978 until 1985, when he assumed the position of executive director of athletics and then retired at the start of the 1987 calendar year. The 1949 Rice graduate had also served Rice as head track coach, assistant business manager and associate athletic director.
During Erfurth's career at Rice, he coached the 1971 track team to the Southwest Conference championship, as well as coaching teams which finished sixth, 10th and 15th in NCAA championship meets. He was selected the outdoor coach of the year in 1972 by the U.S. Track Coaches Association. In total, Erfurth coached three Olympians, two world record holders, eight NCAA All-Americans and three NCAA All-American relay teams.
Erfurth helped guide Fred Hansen to the Olympic gold medal in 1964 and Dave Roberts to an Olympic bronze in 1976. He was selected by the United States department as one of three American track coaches to conduct the first track coaches' clinic in Mexico in 1967 in preparation for the 1968 Olympic Games.
Erfurth became director of athletics in 1978, and since then had served on the board of directors of the Greater Houston Bowl Association (Bluebonnet Bowl) and the executive board of the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics, as well as many other boards and NCAA committees. He was named to the "R" Association's Hall of Fame in 1985.
A native of San Antonio, Erfurth first came to Rice in 1945. He played freshman football under the late Jess Neely, but won most of his undergraduate acclaim as a two-time Southwest Conference champion hurdler and an All-American hurdler in 1948. In 1949 he became the 19th winner of the prestigious Bob Quin Award. He was awarded his B.S. degree from The Institute in 1949 and became a successful high school coach at Breckenridge and Highlands high schools in San Antonio. He held a M.Ed. degree from Trinity University.
Erfurth returned to Rice in 1960 as assistant business manager and assistant track coach, serving in both jobs under Rice track coach, Emment Brunson. He became assistant AD under Harold "Bo" Hagan in 1967 before leaving the university for a one-year stint in private business in 1969.
Augie returned as the Owls head track coach in 1970 following the retirement of Brunson and promptly won the SWC championship. In 1974, he moved up to associate AD and became the head of the Rice athletic department in 1978 upon the resignation of Homer Rice.
In seven-plus years as Rice's athletic director, Erfurth oversaw significant growth in the university's sports program. During his tenure, Rice added new football dressing, training and office facilities in Rice stadium; baseball's Cameron Field, along with lights in the stadium in 1985; and renovations to Rice Track Stadium., Autry Court and Jake Hess Tennis Stadium.
Funeral services will be held Saturday, Sept. 13 at 11 a.m. at First United Methodist Church (8201 Harris St.) in Fulshear, Texas, 77441.
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