National Champion Warren Druetzler Passes Away At 88
Druetzler was a three-time All-American and Olympic finalist.
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Michigan State Athletics is sad to announce that cross country and track and field great Warren Druetzler passed away on Thursday, Sept. 21 at the age of 88.
Michigan State director of cross country Walt Drenth
"Warren represents the best in Michigan State cross country. Historically, he was the first Big Ten Champion and led the men's cross country team to the first Big Ten Championship in school history. He epitomizes what we do. He was part of teams that won multiple national championships and is really our historical point of reference. He was a great Spartan, and a Superman. It's a loss for our community, and hopefully at some point here soon down the line he will be recognized by Michigan State in the hall of fame because he is certainly worthy of that honor.
"The future is always based on history. Having a historical point of reference shows that national championships are possible. The fact that he was part of national championship teams and his success, even world records - those are things that we talk about as a program. If it resonates with somebody, then it's always going to have an influence on the future."
A native of Chicago, Illinois, Druetzler was an All-American in cross country from 1948-1950, all three years that he was eligible for the honor. He finished fifth overall in the NCAA meet as a sophomore, and claimed a second-place finish his senior year in addition to helping the men's cross country team to NCAA team titles in 1948 and 1949. In 1950, Druetzler was crowned the AAU steeplechase champion and was named the NCAA mile champion in 1951.
In 1950, Druetzler was the first athlete in Michigan State history to compete in a Big Ten Championship, claiming fourth overall at the Cross Country Championships. He also ran on the 4x880 relay team in track and field, which broke the world record in Los Angeles at the Coliseum Relays.
Capping off an incredible collegiate career, Druetzler qualified for the 1952 Helsinki Olympics in the 1500 meter run, advancing all the way to the final race where he placed 15th.