Athlete, Pre 1960
Considered the World’s Fastest Human in the late 1930s, running on clay tracks and fund-raising to travel, he brought Riverside its first taste of national acclaim. World War II cost him a chance at Olympic glory, and an injury ended his track career early, but he racked up national championships and world records in his three years of sprinting.
A Riverside resident for almost all his life, Clyde graduated from Poly High School in 1937 and went on to Riverside City College, where his meteoric rise began. He tied the junior college record in the 100-yard dash (9.6 seconds) and broke junior college records in the 220 (20.5). Clyde beat 1936 Olympic silver medalist Mack Robinson in a 200-meter final at the Compton Invitational; he also raced Robinson’s brother, Jackie, beating the future baseball star in an exhibition before an Angels game in 1938.
At the 1938 AAU national championships, Clyde earned a spot on the U.S. track team and a scholarship offer from Stanford. He traveled to Europe and broke the world record in the 150-yard dash (13.8). In his first season at Stanford, he went unbeaten in the Pacific Coast Conference in the 100 and 220, won both events at the conference meet, then captured the 1939 NCAA championship in the 220 and was runner-up in the 100 in a photo finish.
Clyde went on to win the 1939 AAU national title in the 100 meters, tying Jesse Owens’ world record with a wind-aided 10.2. He tied the world 100-yard record the next year (9.4) and set the world record in the mile relay (3:10.5) before a lingering hamstring injury forced him to quit sprinting after a runner-up finish in the NCAA 100 final.
He was a reserve with the Rose Bowl-champion 1941 Stanford football team, then served as an assistant track coach. After war service in the Navy, he worked for the Riverside Probation Department for more than 30 years. In 1956, he was honored as the Riverside Optimist Club’s Man of the Year.