Mel Rosen is in his 22nd year as a consultant for the Auburn track and field team. At the end of the 1991 season, he stepped down as Auburn's track coach to become the head coach of the 1992 United States Men's Olympic team.
At the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, Spain, Rosen coached the men's team to its best showing since 1956. The U.S. men won eight gold medals and broke five Olympic records including three world records. All told, the 1992 Olympic Track and Field team, under the guidance of Rosen, brought home 20 medals. Rosen said, "This event is the height of any coach's career." His selection as head coach of the Olympic team makes him the only Auburn coach ever to head an Olympic team in any sport. In 1993, Rosen was inducted into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame.
In 1995, Rosen was named to the National Track and Field Hall of Fame. Rosen was inducted the first year he was eligible for the award. He was also inducted into the U.S. Track Coaches Hall of Fame in 2001.
Rosen came to Auburn in 1955 as an assistant professor in the physical education department. That year he became involved in the Auburn track program as an assistant to head coach Wilbur Hutsell. He was placed in charge of Auburn's distance and relay teams and held that position until Hutsell retired following the 1963 season. Rosen then stepped up to become only the second head coach in Auburn history, beginning his legacy.
Under Rosen's guidance, Auburn won four consecutive SEC indoor championships from 1977-1980. The Tigers won their only outdoor conference title in 1979. That year was probably the greatest year in the history of Auburn track. Not only did the Tigers win the SEC indoor and outdoor titles in 1979, but also placed fourth at the NCAA outdoor meet.
In 1978, Rosen was honored as the SEC and NCAA Coach of the Year in both indoor and outdoor competition. His 1978 team placed second at the SEC outdoor, fifth at the NCAA outdoor, first at the SEC indoor and second at the NCAA indoor. Rosen's teams finished in the top 10 at both the NCAA indoor and outdoor championships for four consecutive years dating from 1976 to 1979. Rosen repeated as NCAA Indoor Coach of the Year in 1980 and was named SEC Indoor Coach of the Year in 1985.
In Rosen's coaching tenure, he has coached seven Olympic performers. Rosen has also coached 143 All-Americans, including 63 SEC indoor and outdoor champions and eight NCAA champions.
A 1950 graduate of the University of Iowa, Rosen coached at his alma mater as an assistant for three years while earning his master's degree and starting work on a doctorate. He served two years in the Army at Fort Benning, Ga., where he was the post track coach.
The Brooklyn, N.Y., native is married to the former Joan Kinstler of New York. They have two daughters, Laurie and Karen, and two grandchildren, Chelsea and Nathaniel.