Darel Max Newman, who in the 1960s was among the fastest men in the world and earned the nickname the “Bald Bullet” as a record-setting sprinter at Fresno State, died Tuesday. He was 74.
Born in Reedley on Aug. 6, 1943, Newman attended Selma High and developed into a world-class athlete. At Fresno State in 1964, he matched the hand-timed 100-yard world record of 9.2 seconds and won the NCAA indoor 60-yard dash, according to his induction citation as a member of the Fresno Athletic Hall of Fame.
Newman also advanced that year to the finals at the U.S. Olympic Trials.
Known for his explosive starts out of the blocks, Newman competed in a televised meet between the U.S. and Soviet Union in 1965 in Kiev, winning the 100 meters in 10.01 seconds. He was selected Athlete of the Meet.
“All of a sudden I was super famous in Russia,” Newman was quoted in a 1997 article in the Los Angeles Times. “I was even assigned two KGB agents as bodyguards.”
Newman was inducted into the Fresno Athletic Hall in 1988 as part of a class that included Sanger native and Super Bowl-winning coach Tom Flores.
The Hall came calling again in 2013, when it inducted the Bulldogs’ 1964 track and field team – the first in school history to win a national championship.
Newman won the 100-yard dash at the College Division Championships at Ratcliffe Stadium. That team, coached by Dutch Warmerdam, also got victories in the long jump and 120-yard high hurdles from Sid Nickolas, the triple jump by Charles Craig and by its 440-yard relay team.
After retiring as an athlete, Newman was a teacher and coach first at Carr Junior High in Santa Ana and then at Santa Ana High. He also served as meet director for the Santa Ana Relays, the oldest high school meet in the state.
Newman is survived by his wife of 51 years, Linda; daughter Shelly Repp and her husband, Steve; son Ryan and his wife, Tammy; grandchildren Steffani, Shaun and Summer; and great-granddaughter Beratta.
A Celebration of Life will be held at 2 p.m. on Oct. 17 at Greenlawn Memorial Park Southwest, 2739 Panama Lane in Bakersfield. A reception will follow.