Eddie Southern
Southern in 1958
Personal information
Birth nameSilas Edward Southern
NicknameFast Eddie
Born(1938-01-04)January 4, 1938
Dallas, Texas, U.S.[1]
DiedMay 17, 2023(2023-05-17) (aged 85)
Height6 ft 0.5 in (1.842 m)
Weight179 lb (81 kg)
Country United States
Event(s)Sprint, hurdles
College teamTexas Longhorns
Coached byClyde Littlefield
Achievements and titles
Personal best(s)100 yd – 9.5 (1958)
220 yd – 20.5 (1958)
400 m – 45.5 (1958)
110 mH – 14.1 (1957)
400 mH – 49.7 (1956)[1][2]
Medal record
Representing the  United States
Olympic Games
Silver medal – second place 1956 Melbourne 400 m hurdles
Pan American Games
Silver medal – second place 1959 Chicago 4×400 m

Silas Edward Southern (January 4, 1938 – May 17, 2023) was an American sprinter and hurdler who won a silver medal in the 400 metres hurdles at 1956 Olympics. He won another silver medal in the 4 × 400 m relay at the 1959 Pan American Games.

Early life

Southern was a 1955 graduate of Dallas' Sunset High School, where he won four individual State Championships and set two State and National High School Records, was an American athlete who competed mainly in the 400 meter hurdles, as well as sprints and relays. He was clocked at 20.7 seconds in the 220-yard dash, best ever by a high-school student in Texas or any other state. Then he turned right around and broke the state and national records in the 440-yard event with a time of 47.2 seconds.[3]


Southern went on to compete in track & field at the University of Texas, where he was 1959 NCAA 440 yard champion and a member of World Record 440 and 880 yard relay teams. Running for Clyde Littlefield at the University of Texas, Southern led the Longhorns to Southwest Conference titles from 1957 to 1959. Individually, he earned three straight 440-yard SWC championships in 1957, 1958, 1959 and the 1959 NCAA quarter-mile title. Southern ran the anchor for the world-record 440 and 880-yard relays while at University of Texas.

International career

Southern competed at the 1956 Summer Olympics in the 400 meter hurdles, where he won the silver medal. As an 18-year-old, Southern as a Texas youth set the Olympic Record in the 400 metres hurdles (50.1 seconds) in the semifinals in 1956 at Melbourne on his way to taking the silver medal to fellow American Glenn Davis's gold. Southern won another silver medal in the 4 × 400 m relay at the 1959 Pan American Games.[1]


Southern died on May 17, 2023, at the age of 85.[4]


In 1956, Southern was inducted into the Friar Society, the oldest honor society at The University of Texas, which recognizes students who made significant contributions to The University of Texas. The Friar Society's purpose is "to associate together leading members of the senior or graduate classes for mutual benefit and cooperation, and to promote the best interests of the University and the student body."[5][6]

Southern was inducted into the Texas Track and Field Coaches Association Hall of Fame (2013),[7] Sunset High School Hall of Fame,[8] and Drake Relays Athletes Hall of Fame.[9]

Southern was selected in the 29th round of the 1959 NFL Draft by the Chicago Bears, but did not play in the league.[10]


  1. ^ a b c Evans, Hilary; Gjerde, Arild; Heijmans, Jeroen; Mallon, Bill; et al. "Eddie Southern". Olympics at Sports-Reference.com. Sports Reference LLC. Archived from the original on April 17, 2020.
  2. ^ Eddie Southern. trackfield.brinkster.net
  3. ^ Peeler, Ben (May 11, 1955). "Talking to Myself..." Odessa American. p. 10.
  4. ^ "Eddie Southern". Olympedia. Retrieved May 18, 2023.
  5. ^ Friar Society rings in 100 years | UT News Archived May 3, 2015, at the Wayback Machine. The University of Texas at Austin (April 5, 2011). Retrieved on 2017-08-21.
  6. ^ Texas selects 2010 Men's Hall of Honor class. University of Texas Athletics (September 11, 2010). Retrieved on 2017-08-21.
  7. ^ Inductees – Name, Category, Year Archived January 16, 2017, at the Wayback Machine. TX TF Hall of Fame. Retrieved on August 21, 2017.
  8. ^ Track & Field – Sunset High School Alumni Association. Sunsetalumni.com. Retrieved on August 21, 2017.
  9. ^ [1][dead link]
  10. ^ "1959 Chicago Bears". databaseFootball.com. Archived from the original on April 9, 2007. Retrieved July 15, 2020.((cite web)): CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)