Born: May 14, 1967

So how in the world did Natasha Kaiser-Brown, who became an NCAA and Olympics standout, ever find her way to the University of Missouri?

“It’s really kind of cool,” Kaiser-Brown said. “I was at the Junior Olympic Trials in Los Angeles, my junior year in high school. Right before I ran the 400 meters, this athlete yells from the stands, ‘If you win, I’ll take you to dinner. Shoot, if you lose, I’ll take you to dinner.’ That made smile and I ran well, which got Coach (Rick) McGuire’s attention.”

McGuire, the longtime coach of Mizzou track, recruited Kaiser-Brown to Columbia, and she has sprinted to success ever since. In fact, she has run straight to the welcoming front door of the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame, which is proud to induct Kaiser-Brown with the Class of 2016.

A track star at the University of Missouri from 1985 to 1989, Kaiser-Brown was a six-time NCAA All-American, setting a national collegiate record of 51.92 seconds in the 400 meters at the 1989 NCAA Indoor Championships. She was also a five-time Big Eight Conference champion and was named the 1989 Big Eight Female Athlete of the Year. Kaiser-Brown holds five individual records at Mizzou and also ran on eight record-setting relay teams.

Kaiser-Brown went on to represent the United States on 16 national teams, highlighted by running a leg on the U.S. silver medal women’s 4×400 relay at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. She also earned a spot on the 1996 U.S. Olympic team and has won four World Championship medals.

Among World medals was a gold in the 4×400 relay in 1993, when the U.S. set a world record in 3 minutes, 16.71 seconds. Kaiser-Brown also ranked second in the world that year after a silver-medal performance in the 400. In 1997, she was on the U.S. 4×400 relay that set an American record and won silver at the World Indoor.

This from a Des Moines, Iowa native who was recruited by Iowa State and Iowa but choose Mizzou because of the family-like atmosphere. Kaiser-Brown already had won six state championship by the time McGuire recruited her.

“Coach McGuire was a different coach. He was a sports psychologist and coached you to how you felt,” Kaiser-Brown said. “You learned to pay attention to your body physically and mentally. Coach was very nurturing and, if you listened to him, there was no way you were going to do poorly.”

Understand just how far Kaiser-Brown has traveled. A knee injury nearly wrecked her freshman season – and career. She underwent surgery after Thanksgiving, less than two months before the start of the Indoor season.

“That injury really motivated me to prove I deserved to be there,” Kaiser-Brown said. “In my mind, I thought, ‘I’m getting this scholarship to run, it’s my job and, if I don’t run, I wasn’t going to get to keep it.’”

While rehabbing, Kaiser-Brown overheard a Mizzou high jumper naming the names for the 4×100 relay, and Kaiser-Brown wasn’t one of them. Call it extra motivation for her to work hard and return to racing, which arguably kick-started her whirlwind collegiate career.

Injuries slowed her during her sophomore and junior seasons, but she enjoyed another standout season in 1989. “That year, it felt like everything clicked,” she said.

It was in 1988 when Mizzou’s coaching staff added Darroll Gatson, whose no-nonsense mentality fueled Kaiser-Brown’s success in World and Olympic competition. Unlike track stars from cold-weather schools, she chose to train in Columbia after graduation. Gatson made calls in order for Kaiser-Brown to compete in high-level meets.

“You’d think it’d be easy to get into those meets, but it’s not. It’s political,” Kaiser-Brown said. “But when you get in, you have to demonstrate why you are in.”

Between 1989 and 1994, Kaiser-Brown ranked in the U.S. Top 10 in the 400 Indoor and Outdoor eight times. When she helped the U.S. 4×400 in the 1992 Olympics, she did so as the lead leg – a new role that set up her 1990s. She also competed in 16 Drake Relays, one of the premier track events, and won the 400 three times in the decade. All this while also serving seven years as an assistant coach at Mizzou.

These days, Kaiser-Brown and husband, Brian, are raising a daughter, Elexandria, and two sons, Quinton and Kristian. She is in her 15th season as the head track coach at Drake University, which has enjoyed many successes. But she has never forgotten Mizzou.

“I think I had a really fun collegiate team. We started off just as a women’s program and then it was combined,” Kaiser-Brown said. “The team was so special and was always positive. We rooted for and believed in each other. That was the nicest environment to be in college.”