Rudy Dillard, who spent most of the past two decades coaching track and field and cross country at William Fleming High School Fleming died Monday at his home at age 66.
Former Fleming coaching colleague Sherley Stuart said Dillard suffered a heart attack and was discovered by a relative Monday afternoon.
“They found him out in the back yard,” Stuart said. “I was over there for a couple of hours last night.”
Fleming girls track and field coach Robert Vineyard said Dillard suffered some health-related problems this spring.
“He had something going on with his blood,” Vineyard said. “This was right before the state meet. They were doing some kinds of tests.”
Vineyard, who recently underwent ankle surgery, said he had not seen Dillard since June.
However, just two weeks ago Dillard assumed the post he held for two decades as the director of the track and field competition for the Commonwealth Games.
“He had been our coordinator for as long as I’ve been here,” Lampman said. “He was just a wonderful man. Those will be hard shoes to fill for whoever fills them.”
Dillard was a Martinsville native who graduated from Albert Harris High School in 1965.
Dillard’s wife, Mary Ruth, died in 2009.
Dillard succeeded Stuart as Fleming’s boys track coach in the mid-1990s. He helped Fleming maintain a reputation as one of Timesland’s premier outdoor track programs.
Fleming won a share of the VHSL Group AAA boys outdoor track championship in 1985 under Stewart after finishing as the state runner-up in 1975 under former coach Bob Sandy. The Colonels were the 2006 Group AA girls outdoor runner-up.
Fleming was poised to win the Group AA boys championship in 2005 under Dillard before a dropped baton in the 1,600-meter relay cost the Colonels the title.
“It’s not the end of the world,” Dillard said after the meet. “The sun’s going to come up tomorrow. They’ll be all right. This is not going to be the worst disappointment they see in their life.”
Funeral services for Dillard will be at 2 p.m. Friday at Loudon Avenue Christian Church. Visitation is from 6:30-8 p.m Thursday at Hamlar-Curtis Funeral Home.