CBA Unveils Statue of Co-Founder and Running Legend Dr. George Sheehan
December 5, 2022
Over 60 years ago, Dr. George Sheehan believed in a vision for an all-boys, Catholic preparatory school in Monmouth County. Together with Peter Fleming and John Henderson, the trio founded Christian Brothers Academy with help from the Brothers of the Christian Schools.
A nationally-competitive running program soon followed thanks to Sheehan, and on December 4, his impact on CBA and the running tradition was symbolized with a larger-than-life statue on campus.
The brand-new Dr. George Sheehan statue is a gift from his family as part of the nearly completed Sheehan Track & Field Complex. The statue sits at the base of the access road that leads to the new track & field facility, allowing all who pass through campus to see it. Perhaps even more symbolically, the statue is just a few dozen yards away from the starting line of the cross country course that loops through the CBA grounds.
“As we get closer to finishing our new state-of-the-art track that bears the name of Dr. Sheehan, it is altogether fitting that we honor him with this statue,” President Ross Fales said to the audience. “This statue will immortalize his founding contribution to CBA and serve as an inspiration to our runners and other athletes.”
Created by sculptor Brian Hanlon, the Sheehan statue shows the CBA co-founder in his classic Manhattan Jaspers running singlet. Sheehan was a standout track runner at a Manhattan College – also operated by the Brothers – before cementing his roots in Monmouth County.
In 1962, the Academy cleared an area on its 157-acre campus to create a competition field for the track team. Officially, it was named after Sheehan, who had emerged as a leading voice in the running community and a visionary for the young program at CBA.
Years after his college days, he began to run intervals in the historic Round Barn with the CBA runners, and ultimately, completed multiple Boston Marathons and clocked the world’s first sub-five-minute mile by a 50-year-old. As a profession, Sheehan was a noted cardiologist, but he soon became a best-selling author in connection with the running and fitness movement that took off in the 1970’s.
At the unveiling of the statue, Sheehan’s sons spoke to the crowd about the impact that their father had on them and CBA.
“CBA was sacred ground to my dad and continues to be for our family,” said Tim Sheehan ’65.
Fast forward to 2022, the CBA Colts have well over 100 state championships between cross country and track & field. Sheehan’s family remains active in the CBA community, with one of his great grandsons, Andrew Chiles ’23, currently attending the Academy. Chiles addressed the crowd just before the statue was unveiled.
“In my almost four years here at CBA, I have had the pleasure of living out his legacy firsthand,” Chiles said. “He firmly believed that through running, and any sport, that we can find our best self. By enduring the day to day struggle and working hard to accomplish my goals, CBA has truly made me a happier person.”
The Sheehan Track & Field Complex is scheduled to open this upcoming spring, in time for the outdoor track season.