Terence "Terry" Todd, Ph.D

  • Born: January 1, 1938
  • Died: July 7, 2018
  • Location: Austin, Texas

Weed-Corley-Fish Funeral Home South

2620 S. Congress Ave
Austin, TX 78704

Tel. (512) 442-1446

Tribute & Message From The Family

Terence (Terry) Todd—Writer, academic, journalist, champion lifter, coach, sport promoter, founder of the H.J. Lutcher Stark Center for Physical Culture and Sports at the University of Texas at Austin, and Director of the Arnold Strongman Classic, died in Austin, Texas, on Saturday, July 7, 2018. He is survived by his wife Jan Todd; his sister Connie Todd; his nephew Timothy Todd Ray and wife, Sheri Graner-Ray; and his "adopted" son Mark Henry, wife Jana Perry Henry, and their children, Jacob and Joanna.

Todd touched and helped reshape nearly all aspects of the field of strength training, brought the study of strength into academic respectability, and particularly helped create the modern sport of Strongman. He was involved in the birth and development of both men's and women's powerlifting, personally coached two of the strongest men in history—Bill Kazmaier and Mark Henry (and his wife Jan Todd, a pioneer in women's powerlifting), and was famous for his encyclopedic knowledge of strength history and his richly detailed, humorous stories. Todd also played a particularly important role in debunking the belief that lifting weights would make one "musclebound."

Terry Todd began life as the Beaumont, Texas, "First New Years' Baby for 1938," an achievement that also marked his first appearance in the newspaper. Although the Todds are an "old South Austin" family, his father, B.C. Todd, and mother, Ima Williams Todd, were then living in Beaumont where his father was founder and owner of KOLE radio in nearby Port Arthur. Terry, and his younger sister, Connie, appeared on their father's radio station during their early childhood in a show called "Uncle Dan, The Funny Man" in which their father read the Sunday comics while Terry and his sister commented. After the family moved back to Austin in 1946, Terry attended Austin public schools, was a stand-out Little League and Pony League baseball player, was a three time winner of the city-wide Cheerio-Top Yo-Yo Competition, and, in high school, won several Austin table tennis championships.

Todd's first serious sport was tennis, which he learned from his father and on the public courts at Little Stacy Park in South Austin. He played varsity tennis at Travis High School, and lettered in tennis at The University of Texas under Coach Wilmer Allison. After his high school graduation in 1956, however, he began weight training—at first simply to make his left arm as large as his dominant tennis arm—but then, as his interest in the capacity of weight training to build strength and muscle grew, he began full-body training and was soon playing varsity tennis weighing as much as 235 pounds. Coach Allison, like most coaches in the 1950s, warned Todd that lifting would hurt his tennis game and make him musclebound, a fact Todd intuitively knew then—and thousands of coaches know today —was simply not true. Todd finally gave up his scholarship rather than continue to hear about his bodyweight and decided to explore his strength potential.

After receiving his B.A. in English from U.T. Austin in 1961, Todd began working on a doctorate in the interdisciplinary History and Philosophy of Education program and used his graduate years as a time to weight train seriously. By 1963, when he won his first major title—the AAU Junior National Weightlifting Championships—he weighed 300 pounds. He then turned to powerlifting and won the first men's national championships in 1964, and, in 1965, the first official Senior Nationals in the sport. Todd was the first man to squat 700 pounds and the first man to total 1600, 1700, 1800, and 1900 pounds in powerlifting. He set numerous American records, and his best official lifts were: a 720-pound squat, a 515-pound bench press, and a 742-pound deadlift. Todd retired from competition in 1967 and reduced his bodyweight by returning to tennis which he played for many more years.

Todd received his doctorate from the University of Texas in 1966, writing one of the first historical dissertations on the subject of resistance training. In the mid-1960s, he moved to York, Pennsylvania, and worked as managing editor of Strength & Health magazine while still a doctoral student. Following graduation, in 1966, he began his academic career at Auburn University before moving to Mercer University in Macon, Georgia, in 1969. During this early phase of his career, Todd's academic focus was not on sport or strength training, but rather on the problems faced by America's schools. At Mercer, he founded the African-American Studies program in 1969, and ran a series of summer seminars that brought together the major intellectuals working to solve the problems of American schools in the 1970s. Educational theorists John Holt, James Herndon, and Edgar Friedenberg became life-long friends. In 1973, when Todd married Janice (Jan) Suffolk, Jim Herndon served as best man at their wedding. Edgar Friedenberg, then a main reviewer for the New York Review of Books and perhaps the most important public intellectual in the school reform movement of the early 1970s, played the pivotal role in Todd's joining the faculty at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, in 1975.

In Nova Scotia, Todd's interest in strength and powerlifting became more central to his academic focus in part because his wife Jan was setting world records in powerlifting. In 1977, after Sports Illustrated profiled her in an article entitled "The Pleasure of Being the World's Strongest Woman," the Todds were invited to New York to make several TV appearances and visit the Sports Illustrated offices. That visit resulted in an assignment from SI for Todd to write an article about champion arm wrestler, Al Turner. Once completed, more assignments for SI followed, and among the most notable are his 1982 profile of Herschel Walker, "My Body's Like an Army" that Atlanta mayor Andrew Young arranged to distribute to thousands of Atlanta school children; his 1981 article on pro wrestler Andre the Giant that was discussed in the 2018 HBO documentary Andre the Giant (in which Todd also appears); and his 1983 "The Steroid Predicament," regarded as one of most influential articles on doping and sport of the 1980s. During his lifetime, Todd authored more than 500 articles in scholarly and popular magazines. He also authored or co-authored seven books including Philosophical Considerations of Physical Strength (2010 with Mark Holowchak), Herschel Walker's Basic Training (1985 and 1989 with Herschel Walker), Lift Your Way to Youthful Fitness (1985 with Jan Todd); Inside Powerlifting—the first book on the sport of powerlifting (1978); and Fitness for Athletes (1978). His final book, Strength Coaching in America: A History of the Most Important Sport Innovation of the Twentieth Century (with Jason Shurley and Jan Todd) will be published in 2019. He and Jan also began the important academic journal Iron Game History: The Journal of Physical Culture in 1990 and have edited it for the past 28 years.

In 1979, Todd returned to Auburn where he established the National Strength Research Center at Auburn University, a training facility in which top-level strength athletes like Bill Kazmaier, Lamar Gant, and Jan Todd interacted with exercise scientists to help advance strength science. As his reputation as an expert on strength grew, Todd was often asked to do color commentary on TV and worked for several years as a "consultant on strength sports" for CBS television. Todd was also involved with the early TWI Worlds' Strongest Man Competitions both as a broadcaster and as a strength expert, and, in 1980, 1981, and 1982 he promoted his own "Strongest Man in Football" television shows.

Terry and Jan moved back to Austin in 1983 where he joined the faculty of the Department of Kinesiology and Health Education. With them came more than 300 boxes of books, photographs, magazines, and other materials related to strength training and physical culture. Todd had realized when writing his dissertation in the 1960s that many academic libraries had little information about strength training, bodybuilding, and weightlifting, and so he and Jan, began collecting such materials with the dream of one day establishing an academic library for the strength sports. The Todds realized that dream in 2009, when they moved what had grown to more than 3000 boxes and many pieces of art, into the now internationally famous H.J. Lutcher Stark Center for Physical Culture and Sports located in the North End Zone of the U.T. football stadium. Now used by scholars from around the world, the Stark Center has changed our understanding of what belongs within the field of "sport history". The Center is a repository for the large collections of physical culture and sport materials donated by the Todds, by UT Athletics, and by many other donors. It is also recognized as an Olympic Study Center by the International Olympic Committee. The Stark Center was yet another of Terry Todd's visionary ideas and he has been the Center's primary fundraiser. Todd was actively working toward an endowment goal of $10M needed to ensure the Center's future when he passed.

In 2001, Todd was asked by Arnold Schwarzenegger and his partner, Jim Lorimer, to create a Strongman contest for the Arnold Sports Festival, held annually in Columbus, Ohio. Now recognized as the most prestigious contest in the Strongman sport, the Arnold Strongman Classic Todd created has transformed the sport itself. Todd prided himself on offering the highest prize money in the sport and in creating events for the Arnold that measure true strength and not endurance.
Creating and running the Arnold Strongman Classic not only kept Todd at the forefront of the Iron Game but also led to new opportunities for Todd to unite history and strength in a series of documentary films for which he served as producer. Sponsored by barbell and equipment manufacturer Rogue Fitness, of Columbus Ohio, the documentaries are available free on Rogue's Facebook page and include Levantadores, about Basque rural sports and stonelifting in Northern Spain; Stoneland, exploring the strength traditions of Scotland; a new 90-minute film on Iceland's strength traditions that will premier this summer, and biographies of strongman Eugen Sandow and Louis Uni.

Todd's is an unmatched legacy in the history of the Iron Game. He was inducted into the International Sports Hall of Fame in 2018; received the National Strength and Conditioning Association's highest honor—the Al Roy Award—in 2017; was honored as a "Legend" by the Collegiate Strength and Conditioning Coaches Association in 2009, has been inducted into both the men's and women's powerlifting halls of fame, and, in 2013, received the Honor Award of the North American Society for Sport History for his contributions to that academic field. As a long-time friend said when they learned of his passing on Saturday, "It may seem that our world is a bit weaker today but actually we are all immeasurably and eternally stronger for having known him."

On Wednesday, July 11, per Terry Todd's personal request, a brief graveside service will be held at 10:00 AM at the Oakwood Cemetery Annex, just south of the U.T. baseball field. The street address for the cemetery is 1601 Navasota St, Austin, TX 78702, but the Todd family plot is best reached by turning onto Comal Street and then turning east into the Annex.

A public memorial service to celebrate the life of Terry Todd will be held on the campus of the University of Texas on Saturday, July 28 at 3:00 PM in the Connelly Ballroom of the Etta-Harber Alumni Center at 2110 San Jacinto Boulevard, Austin, Texas, 78712. Please visit the Stark Center's website at www.starkcenter.org and register for this event so we have an accurate count for seating. Parking and other information will be included on the website as it evolves. For information call 512-471-4890 or 512-471-0995, or write info@starkcenter.org.

In lieu of flowers, the Todd family asks that contributions be made to the H.J. Lutcher Stark Center for Physical Culture and Sports to help build its endowment. Donations may be made by using the Donate Now button on the front page of the Stark Center website (www.starkcenter.org) or via regular mail to: Cindy Slater, The H.J. Lutcher Stark Center for Physical Culture and Sports, 403 E 23rd St, Austin, TX, 78712. Please make checks to: "Stark Center-The University of Texas at Austin." All donations are tax deductible.


Condolence & Memory Journal

To Jan, my name is Nathaniel Glover. I graduated from Mercer University in 1975. Dr. Todd was my advisor. You have my condolences. God Bless.

Posted by Nathaniel Glover - Pooler, GA - Student   January 17, 2019

Just saw this announcement and wanted to send my condolences to the family. Back in the mid 70's through the 80's I competed in college sports (shot put & Javelin) and powerlifting and if you never heard the name Terry Todd and Jan Todd, you didn't have a pulse. Dr. Todd is gone, but his teaching and knowledge will live for 100's of years. God bless the Todd family your directions built a destiny.

Posted by Rick Allen McIntosh - Orlando, FL - Student   October 19, 2018

I am sorry to learn of Terry Todd's passing. My uncle Ralph Countryman, one of the founders of the National Physique Committee, knew Terry well and always spoke of him very highly.

Posted by Teresa Countryman Countryman - Oakland, CA - Family Friend   July 26, 2018

Jan, I am so sad to hear about Terry.
He (and you) have left such a great legacy to UT Austin.
Ann Brewer

Posted by Ann Brewer - Tyler, TX - Coworker   July 19, 2018

Terry always was willing to share his knowledge & help others. I personally learned a lot from him. Prayers to Jan & the family.

Posted by Sue Humphrey - Austin, TX - Friend   July 13, 2018

Terry and I became closer friends when Travis High School opened with me as a Junior and Terry a Sophomore. I recall well our discussions back then about "bulking up" for strength, but even then he was an ace tennis player. We both played doubles with the firemen at the firehouse on South Congress. At UT we were also together a lot in the first 2 years, and then with a hiatus Jan and Terry visited Uschi and me at our house in Bavaria. Still later we saw each other at our mutual friend's ranch Bob and Carol Boothe.

Jan, all of the best to you in this difficult time. As you know, we are fairly far away in our house in the Blue Ridge Mountains and cannot make the memorial at the Ex-Students' Center, but we are with you in spirit.

Jack and Ursula Vaughan

Posted by jack vaughan - Young Harris, GA - Friend   July 13, 2018

Jan, We have just learned of Terry's passing and your great loss. We are saddened at the news, and our hearte and prayers are with you. Words are so inadiquate in times like these, but we wish you God's comfort and peace. We will be in touch, Bill and Judy Pearl

Posted by Bill and Judy Pearl - Talent, OR - Friend   July 12, 2018

Thoughts and Prayers

Posted by Carolyn & John Krieg - Friend   July 12, 2018

God Bless, Dr. T, he will live always in our strong memories! Truly a man with undying interest, dedication and fascination regarding the pursuit of the infinite dynamics of strength!

Posted by Philip Pfister - Charleston, WV - Friend   July 12, 2018


My most sincere condolences to Jan, the Todd family and his countless friends. He left quite an amazing footprint on the earth, educating and inspiring so many of us as did you Jan. God Bless you brother.

Posted by Brian KUHRT - RUMSON, NJ - Acquaintance   July 11, 2018

Dear Jan,
You and Terry left a huge mark here in New Germany, Nova Scotia. I am so sorry to read of Terry's passing. You, family and friends are in my thoughts and prayers.
With sympathy,
Ann Wright (Gummeson)

Posted by Ann Wright Gummeson - New Germany, NS - Student   July 11, 2018

I used to read his column Size and Strength authored with Paul . Thank You Mr Todd .

Posted by Owen Keeler - Vancouver Canada - Student   July 11, 2018

Jan, There are no words to express the loss I know you are feeling. You and Doc were a true champion of the sport and more importantly great human beings to the people you touched. Throughout the years my love and admiration has never waivered for you both and I truly wish you peace during this difficult time.

Posted by Bona 123    July 11, 2018

The world of strength lost a giant.

Terry was admired all over the world for his countless contrtibutions to the Iron Game.

Sincere condolences to Jan, to the Todd family and friends.

May he rest in peace

Thomas Klose
Witten, Germany

Posted by Thomas Klose - Witten, Germany   July 11, 2018

So Sorry to hear of your Loss. I remember both you coming to our small farm and visiting as a young child. My father Stanley Haines and Uncle Clinton Haines have always had kind word of you both. I remember the kindness you showed to my sister and I. Again I am very sorry to hear of you Loss.
Diane (Haines) Robar

Posted by Diane Robar - Barss Corner - Acquaintance   July 11, 2018

In a bookstore decades ago I picked up Inside Powerlifting without noticing who had written it. I read various paragraphs at random to get a feel., and thought, Wow, this guy can write! Through the years my respect for Terry, and for you, Jan, has increased, not randomly, but specifically for what you both accomplished as a team. I am very disturbed by Terry's passing, but I hope he is at peace, after a magnificent life.

Posted by Joe Roark    July 11, 2018

I had the distinct honor to be part of the University of Texas powerlifting program from 1990-1992, and the opportunity to learn from, and get to know on a personal level, both Terry and Jan was the highlight indeed. Godspeed Terry. Jan, I am thinking of you and wish you strength and comfort in this most difficult time.

Posted by Eric Hammer - Parkland, FL - Friend   July 11, 2018

My condolences to Jan Todd at the passing of her husband, Terry. Terry's book, INSIDE POWERLIFTING, really inspired me to stick with powerlifting, over bodybuilding, in the summer of 1981, when I was just 16 years of age. Still doing powerlifting and other strength training at 54 years of age.

Posted by Kevin Spirek - Necedah, WI - Acquaintance   July 11, 2018

Jan, My deepest condolences on Terry's passing. My prayers and thoughts are with you. You are both my heroes. You opened up an entire world for so many by introducing strength for women. I can't find the words to express my gratitude and respect for you both as it all sounds so inadequate. Your husband will be remembered for the legendary life he lead which is unparalleled. You were a powerful and loving couple that demonstrated to the world how a marriage should be. I am blessed to have known Terry,

Posted by Cory Everson - Bell Canyon, CA - Friend   July 11, 2018

Jan, I am so sorry for your loss. Terry was a remarkable man and the impact of his work will always be with us. Please know that you and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.

Posted by Manuel Justiz - AUSTIN, TX - Friend   July 10, 2018

Jan- I was so sorry to hear about Terry's death. Terry was a wonderful man whose memory will live on in so many ways, especially in the work of the Stark Center. My thoughts and prayers are with you at this difficult time. Marilyn Kameen

Posted by Marilyn Kameen - Austin, TX - Coworker   July 10, 2018

So sorry for your loss Jan, the 2 of you were a great inspiration for many of us students at NGRHS .

Posted by Todd Hubley - Bridgewater - Student   July 10, 2018

"He loved big things." Eighty years strong, and a legacy for generations to come. Sending you a piece of my heart today, Jan, even though I know yours is full. You made me strong at a time I was broken, and I have been stronger through the several decades since, because of what the two of you achieved together. Wishing you peace & joy. Kathy

Posted by Kathy Edwards - Clemson, SC - Classmate   July 10, 2018

I'm so sorry for your loss. When I was 12 years old, Terry extended to me an act of human caring that changed my life forever. I'm forever grateful.

Posted by Sheryl Yeary - Georgetown, TX - Friend   July 10, 2018

Jan, My condolences on Terry's passing. You both are fondly remembered here on the South Shore of Nova Scotia. My thoughts and prayers are with you at this difficult time. Coline MacDonald former staff of New Germany Rural High School.

Posted by Coline MacDonald - NewGermany, AR - Acquaintance   July 10, 2018

Dear Jan,
Terry was a phenomenal athlete. But more than that, he was a prolific and respected scholar, sought-after mentor, and thoughtful teacher. He will be remembered fondly for his many contributions to the field, not the least of which is the Lutcher Stark Center for Physical Culture and Sports at The University of Texas. It was in the Center that we had a wonderful conversation in the spring, at the Alderson luncheon, that I will remember fondly. I am deeply sorry for your great loss; you are in my thoughts and prayers.

Posted by Sherry Field - Austin, TX - Coworker   July 10, 2018


Jan, my thoughts are with you as you celebrate Terry's life and legacy. I was one of your Grade 9 students at New Germany Rural High and fondly remember both you and Terry from your time in Nova Scotia. Barbara (Wentzell) Rhodenizer

Posted by Barbara Rhodenizer - Nova Scotia, Canada - Acquaintance   July 10, 2018

Sending condolences from Nova Scotia. It was our pleasure to know you both when you were in Nova Scotia.
We are so sorry to hear of Terry's passing and want you to know our thoughts are with you!

Posted by sandi and Kevin Weaver - Bridgewater - Coworker   July 10, 2018

Jan and family,
I was saddened to hear of Terry's passing and send my deepest sympathies. The two of you are without peer in your mentorship and acceptance of young scholars, and please know that his legacy carries on in the lives and careers of so many others. I am blessed to have known Terry.

Posted by Kevin Witherspoon - Simpsonville, SC - Acquaintance   July 10, 2018

I agree with Joe Roark: "The king is gone". I'm just one of millions on our blue planet who loves the Iron Game.
We all owe so very much to Terry, that words are inadequate.
My thoughts and prayers are with Jan and the entire Todd family.
Albert Busek, Munich, Germany

Posted by Albert Busek - Munich, Germany - Friend   July 10, 2018

Jan, I am so sorry for your loss.You and Terry sure had a great time over the years, together, inspiring young weightlifters all over the world. He was a great man and it was a priviledge getting to know him when you lived in Nova Scotia. Take care!

Posted by Judy Fancy - Pleasant River, Nova Scotia - Friend   July 10, 2018

I am so sorry to hear this. My condolences to you Jan and all the family. I always think of both Terry and you with fond memories. As a child you both were the biggest people I had ever seen, and had the biggest dogs also. You both were always so kind to my sister and I, even though we were a hand full. I was glad to see you at the Parkdale-Maplewood Fair a while back. It was nice just to be able to say hi.
Again my condolences to you and your family.

Posted by Donna (Haines) Varner - Nova Scotia - Friend   July 10, 2018

In Love and Grace.

Posted by Kirby D. Sams Sams - Austin, TX - Friend   July 10, 2018

Deepest condolencies to you JAN. B Filizola

Posted by Biagio Filizola - sapri   July 10, 2018

Dr. Todd, your husband was arguably the brightest and most vibrant soul I met while attending UT. His charmful and cheerful smile always made my day better at the Stark Center. You and Terry made a profound impact on my tenure, as a student, at UT.

Posted by Josh Pearson - Austin, TX - Student   July 10, 2018

Dear Dr. Jan, Very sorry for your loss. I still remember that night Terry picked you up after finishing our discussion on final paper. I will always be his fan. R.I.P

Posted by Yiran Li - Austin, TX - Student   July 10, 2018

Jan, Tina, Daniel and I would like to convey our deepest condolences to Terry's family and to you. Our prayers and thoughts will be with you during this difficult time.

Posted by Joseph Hood - Austin, TX - Friend   July 10, 2018

Jan, My words will be insufficient to fully appreciate the magnitude of your loss or to relieve your heart of the pain. Terry certainly left his mark and made such an impact on so many people. I am grateful to have known him. His presence will stay with us because his work remains and the stories of him will continue. My love to you.

Posted by Jody Jensen - Round Rock, TX - Coworker   July 09, 2018

Jan, Your and Terry's teamwork and accomplishments are unparalleled. Our lives are richer for having known him. We'll remember his powerful presence, intellect and wit. Your love for this great man was evident and inspiring. Love to you.

Posted by John & Sarah Fair - Auburn, AL - Family Friend   July 09, 2018

So very sorry for your loss. Terry was a powerful force in so many ways and Julie and I are proud to have known him. He will be irreplaceable at UT and forever remembered for the way he presented himself and his passions (for so many things). Our thoughts are not only with you, but with Cindy and everyone on staff at the Stark. What a vision legacy he has left for future generations.

Posted by Scotty Sayers - AUSTIN, TX - Friend   July 09, 2018

Jan, Thinking of you during this difficult time. Terry was such a wonderful colleague and dear soul who influenced countless people. We loved him and we love you!

Posted by Mary Steinhardt - Cedar Park, TX - Coworker   July 09, 2018

All blessings on Terry's memory. An impressive fellow. A tennis racket was a mere twig as he was very muscular. I did not know him well, but admired him from afar. He'd moved on to UT by the time I was on the Austin High tennis team.

Posted by Bill Ardis - Austin, TX - Acquaintance   July 09, 2018

Jan, My Condolences on your loss. Sincerely, Dave and Barbara Woods

Posted by Dave Woods - Austin, TX - Friend   July 09, 2018


It is with saddened heart that I learned of Terry's passing. I recall our many discussions of sensitive issues related to sport in its many dimensions. He certainly was a good friend and colleague, and will be in my prayers.


Robert M. Malina
Professor Emeritus, University of Texas at Austin

Posted by Robert Malina - Bay City, TX - Friend   July 09, 2018


Inside Powerlifting was one of the greatest books written about the sport. I have always been a fan. RIP

Posted by Frank Signorile - Jacksonville, NC - Friend   July 09, 2018


Wishing you the peace that passes all understanding.

Dennis L Bates/Curator

Posted by Dennis Bates - Westerville, OH - Acquaintance   July 09, 2018

Jan, I'm so sorry for your loss. Terry was such a wonderful man! I will be sorely lost!!!
Dave Goodin

Posted by Dave Goodin - Cedar Park, TX - Friend   July 09, 2018

Family Album

Community Photos

Terry Todd 1965 winning the superheavyweight division- Senior National Powerlifting Champions
Terry Todd 1965 winning Superheavy Weight Division - Senior National Powerlifting Champions