Tom Matlock was known as a two-sport athlete who attended the University of Virginia on a track scholarship. Tom also was a multiple letterwinner as a forward in basketball at Steinert. He dabbled in varsity cross country to stay shape for basketball and track.

He burst on the scene at Steinert, establishing freshman school records in the 220- and 440-yard dashes. At season’s end, his 440 time ranked him in the top 10 nationwide in his age group and his 220 placed him in the top 20.

One of Steinert's most decorated track and field athletes of all time, Matlock was the varsity team’s top sprinter as a sophomore. His second year on the varsity was highlighted by a gold medal in the 220 at the prestigious Bernards Invitational. He also placed second in the 440 at the Junior Olympics East Regionals and qualified and competed in the 200 and 400 at the International Friendship Games in Ocho Rios, Jamaica.

A triple-winner in the Mercer County championships, he led Steinert to the team title as a junior. He became Steinert’s first sectional track champion and tied the meet record in the Central Jersey Group IV 440. Area newspapers gave him multiple all-star award recognition in his various events.

Until a hamstring injury ended his season in early May of his senior year, Matlock was spectacular. Some of the school records he set – including the 400 (distances in track changed from yards to meters in 1980) and the fastest leg on the 4x400 relay – still stand today.

"Tom was one of the nicest young men I ever coached," said former Spartan skipper Andre Modica. "He was a good student, possessed strong character and was a leader on and off the track. It was truly an honor to be his coach for four years."

He credits his Steinert coaches and teammates for helping him to have a banner high school career when Spartan track and field was a force to be reckoned with and to move on to become the young man who would captain the team at UVa.

"It was absolutely because of the coaching," Matlock said, especially noting the leadership provided by Modica and Doug Martin. "They knew the talent they had on the teams; they did a masterful job of putting people in the right places.

"They were very unique when it comes to training practices – (the ever-fit) Mr. Martin running round with no shirt on in the middle of winter; he was the one who introduced us to the routine of weight-lifting. My whole thinking was: If you ran hard, you won.

"Running is just running, right? But they made it fun. They brought a lot of creativity to the workouts and it helped us. We got better."

A trademark of all good teams is camaraderie and fair play.

"I remember the fun we had on the bus trips," Matlock said. "All the guys on the bus getting ready and having fun helped build our team spirit."