Adams State mourns loss of Hall of Famer/Olympian Pat Porter
15-year old son, friend also killed in tragic plane crash
SEDONA, Ariz.— Legendary former Adams State University and Olympic distance runner Pat Porter and two children, including his 15-year old son, died Thursday as a result of a tragic plane accident near the Sedona Airport, at approximately 8:30 a.m. local time.
The twin-engine plane, registered in Porter’s name, hit a boundary fence at the south end of the Sedona Airport runway according to eye-witnesses and then went down a steep mesa. The plane then burst into flames upon impact at the bottom of the hill, according to Ron Wheeler, the Field Operations Commander for the Sedona Police Department.
Porter, who was just inducted into the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Hall of Fame last Friday (July 20) evening in Colorado Springs, was 53.
His son Connor and Connor’s friend were also killed. There were no survivors.
Porter, who lived in Albuquerque, N.M., was an avid pilot. He is survived wife of 20-plus years, Trish, who was a 1988 Olympian in the high jump, and 11-year old daughter Shannon.
Wheeler also indicated the FAA and National Travel Safety Board have been called in to investigate the accident.
Porter earned a degree in business administration – marketing from Adams State University in 1982.
Damon Martin, Adams State’s men’s & women’s cross country and track and field coach, said “This is just heartbreaking. Pat was an icon for our program. People identified Adams State with him. Even recently, I’m so proud of his association with our current teams. He took time out of his schedule to cheer the runners on and spoke to them after runs.”
"Pat was one of our most noted alums. His athletic achievements are renown," said Adams State Athletic Director, Larry Mortensen. "He was extremely loyal to Adams State, and we will miss him."
Porter was inducted into the Adams State Athletics Hall of Fame as part of the inaugural class in 2000. He competed in the 10,000-meter run at both the 1984 and 1988 Olympic Games in Los Angeles and Seoul, South Korea, respectively.
During his collegiate career, Porter won both the 1980 and 1981 NAIA Individual National Cross Country Championships helping Adams State to team titles in both of those years. He was also Adams State’s No. 2 man on the 1979 NAIA National Championship team behind teammate and individual national champion Sam Montoya, also an Adams State Athletics Hall of Fame Inductee (Class of 2008).
All three of those teams had been previously inducted into the RMAC Hall of Fame as well.
On the track, Porter won the 2-mile NAIA national championship at the 1982 Indoor Championships and won several individual RMAC titles.
Amongst other honors, Porter was inducted into the NAIA Hall of Fame in 1987 and was named as the RMAC’s All-Time Top Cross Country runner during the conference’s 2009 centennial celebration.
Post-collegiately, Porter won a record-setting eight USA Track & Field senior men’s cross country national championships.