1948-1956 Olympics - Joe Yancey was the coach of the Jamaican Track Team

Photo Above - The 1948 4x400m relay team. Left-right: Joe Yancy, Coach, Les Laing,
George Rhoden, Arthur Wint, Herb McKenley, Herbert Macdonald, Manager. This is also the team that won
the 4x400m relay in Helsinki, 1952

Arthur Wint, above, was Jamaica's  first Olympic Gold Medalist at the 1948 Olympics.

see also: Jamaica Amateur Association (JAAA) Hall of Fame

Jamaican Flyers


As an organizer and co-founder of the internationally respected Pioneer Club of New York, Joe Yancey was a relentless force in nurturing the natural talents of track and field athletes. His unceasing dedication produced numerous national champions.

Since its founding in 1936, the Pioneer Club has never turned down an athlete because of race, creed or lack of ability. That philosophy has produced a proud record and continues to prosper today. Part of the Club’s creed states, “the New York Pioneer Club was organized, to work toward better racial understanding through the medium of education and athletics.” The club has been more like a national resource, tapping sometimes unwanted talent and producing national champions. There has been at least one representative of the Olympics from the Pioneer Club every year since the games were renewed following World War II. New York Pioneer Club athletes under the tutelage of the late Coach Yancey experienced great success winning many individual and team titles, indoor and outdoor, national and international.

It is clear that Joe’s dedication was not limited by national boundaries. The State Department sponsored him on several trips around the world to coach, lecture and conduct clinics. Other nations sought his experience, always with excellent results. He was head coach of the Jamaican Olympic team in 1948, 1952 and 1956, the British Guyana team in 1960, and the Barbados team.

In 1952 Joe sent off six Pioneers to the Helsinki Olympics, Jim Gathers, Meredith Gourdine, Ted Corbitt, George Shaw, Marty Engel and Reginald Pearman. In the 1952 Olympic games, he was also responsible for Jamaica’s “Flying Quartet” which set a new record in the 1,600 meters relay. He went on to coach the Ceylon team in the Asian Games in Tokyo and in the Commonwealth Games in Cardiff, Wales. In 1968 Coach Yancey added the US Virgin Islands to the list of Olympic teams he coached.

He was the first coach to go abroad for the US State Department to coach, give lectures, conduct clinics and serve as a good will ambassador.

In 1975, Coach Yancey was inducted into the Black Athletes Hall of Fame. He was also inducted into the National Track and Field Hall of Fame and the Harlem Professionals, Inc. Hall of Fame. In 1983 he was the recipient of the Bob Giegengack Award for outstanding service to track and field.

Joe was born in New York City in 1910. He attended Virginia State College before graduation from New York University. He worked for the Internal Revenue Service.

Joe Yancey was a member of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity and a life member of the prestigious 369th Veterans Association, Inc. The 369th Armory was for years the club’s winter training grounds and the site of the great annual Pioneer Meets that closed the New York indoor track season in the 1950’s.

His family consists of his wife, Josephine Greaux Yancey, three daughters, Yvonne Y. Mayers, Michele Y. Walton and Josephine Y. Skeete.

In May 2001 the Joseph J. Yancey, Jr. Senior Citizen Housing in Harlem was dedicated. It exists as a continuing reminder of Joe’s concern for others.


Joe Yancey - Member - National Track & Field Hall of Fame


JOE YANCEY COACH (Inducted 1984)

Born October 12, 1910, New York, N.Y. Died February 22, 1991.

A product of New York City's "Hell's Kitchen", Joe Yancey has a coaching career that spanned a half century and, as co-founder of the New York Pioneer Club, tutored many of the sport's great athletes, including Olympic sprint champion Andy Stanfield, also a Hall of Fame member.

He attended Virginia State College before graduated from New York University in 1935. Yancey was the Pioneer Club's volunteer coach since 1936. During that span, he coached numerous indoor and outdoor national champions, including 18 Olympians who competed on five different Olympic teams. Besides Stanfield, other Olympic gold medalists included Lou Jones, Herb McKenley, George Rhoden, Arthur Wint and Lloyd LaBeach. In 1948, 1952 and 1956, Yancey coached the Jamaican Olympic team. A member of the Black Athletes Hall of Fame, he was the recipient of the Bob Giegengack (also a Hall of Fame member) Award in 1983 for outstanding service to track and field. When not coaching, he worked for the Internal Revenue Service.