COLUMBIA, Mo. -- Former Missouri track star Dele Udo, a three-time NCAA All-American, was shot and killed this week in Lagos, Nigeria following an argument with a police officer, Tigers track coach Bob Teel said.
Udo, holder of several Missouri, Big Eight and NCAA records, was visiting his native country on a track tour when the shooting occurred, said Teel, who learned of the shooting Thursday.
According to reports from teammates, the 24-year-old athlete had left the athletic training compound in Lagos for dinner Wednesday night, when he and his companions were stopped by a policeman. An argument apparently ensued.
Udo reportedly tried to discuss the problem with the policeman, who then shot him. The policeman is under arrest. Teel said he understood Udo, who was not armed, was shot during the second confrontation with the same police officer.
'Dele was not carrying a weapon,' Teel said. 'He was one of the more popular athletes we've ever had here. He was a tremendously gregarious kind of guy with a tremendous amount of common sense.'
Udo had moved to Columbia following his 1978 graduation from the University of Missouri-Columbia. Just before leaving on the African trip about three weeks ago, he married his wife Angela, who remained in Columbia. Her parents live in St. Louis and were told of Udo's death early Thursday.
In the spring of 1978, Udo teamed with one of his good friends, Dan Lavitt, and Ed Ofili and Scott Clark to set the world record in the sprint-medley relay at the Baylor Invitational at Waco, Texas. That record still stands.
Udo was also a two-time member of the Nigerian Olympic team -- in 1976 and 1980. Nigeria sent a team to Montreal for the 1976 Olympics but did not compete because of the boycott by black African nations.
Godwin Obasogie, one of Udo's teammates, and two other Missouri athletes were running for the Nigerian national team and preparing for the All-African Games. It was Obaosgie who contacted Teel about the shooting.
'It was obviously a shock,' Teel said. 'I just can't picture that happening. I was very, very fond of Dele. He was always a tremendous asset to our team and our school. He was tremendously well-liked.'