FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - Take all of John Wooden's national championships, then add them to Bear Bryant's.
Now multiply by two.
John McDonnell still comes out ahead.
Most sports fans wouldn't know McDonnell if they bumped into him on the street, but the dynasty he has built at Arkansas is one of the most impressive in all of sports. The soft-spoken Irishman has led 42 teams to national titles in track and field and cross-country, and he'll try for one more this week at the NCAA track and field championships in Des Moines.
"You're never going to see anybody like him again," Florida State coach Bob Braman said. "It's just impossible for anybody to win 42 national championships."
McDonnell has been coaching Arkansas's men since 1972, when he began as the cross-country coach. He took over the track and field program in 1978.
"I was hoping that someday I'd win one national championship," he said.
He accomplished that in 1984, when the Razorbacks took the NCAA title in indoor track and field. That was the first of 12 consecutive indoor national championships.
Five times Arkansas won the NCAA "Triple Crown" with championships in cross-country and indoor and outdoor track and field in the same academic year.
And then there's McDonnell's proudest achievement: In his final 34 seasons as coach, the Razorbacks won the conference championship in cross-country every time. The first 17 were in the Southwest Conference, the last 17 in the Southeastern Conference.
"So many things can go wrong," said McDonnell, who turns 70 next month. "We always seem to pull it out."
So what's his secret? Is there something in the water up there in the Ozarks?
Well, for starters, McDonnell has had some talented athletes, from Olympic triple jumper Mike Conley to sprint stars Tyson Gay and Wallace Spearmon. But Arkansas hasn't always relied on big names. The Razorbacks' most recent national title came in 2006 in indoor track and field - after Gay and Spearmon had departed.
"Probably a third of the championships he has, somebody else was supposed to win," Braman said.
The Razorbacks have been most powerful in distance events, a testament to their conditioning and their ability to peak at the right time. When an athlete puts on an Arkansas uniform, he knows exactly what the expectations are.
"He throws it right out there: We're going to work hard and we're going to win," said Dick Booth, the Razorbacks' field events coach. "He had a real uncanny ability to know when to chew a kid and when to pat him on the back."
McDonnell always has tried to be approachable. Communication is an important part of his coaching philosophy.
"You can learn a lot by listening," he said. "A lot more than by talking."
And when he does speak, he doesn't have to raise his voice to command attention.
"Not only is he a coach, he's a mentor, a father figure, a leader," said Arkansas' Nkosinza Balumbu, this year's indoor champion in the triple jump. "He's done so much for the sport of track and field."
Two of McDonnell's national championships are now under dispute. The NCAA took them away last year because of violations involving Gay and a former assistant coach. Arkansas has appealed that decision, claiming the penalties were excessive.
"I hated that to happen. It was one incident with one athlete for about two months," McDonnell said.
"They made a big thing out of nothing."
McDonnell's reputation within the track community hasn't been damaged, and his legacy at Arkansas will be a lasting one.