Saturday, December 28, 2013

In the 1950's my hometown of Dayton, Ohio was blessed with hosting the national AAU track and field championships.   In 1950 a new stadium, funded by popular subscriptions from the citizenry, was built for the ten high schools in the city to use for football.   The head of public school athletics, Perc Welcome, believed that track and field might also be worth seeing at that venue and was able to negotiate the installation of an eight lane state of the art cinder track.  A few years after Mr. Welcome's retirement , the stadium was named after him and goes by that name today.  Today it is used as the home football stadium for the University of Dayton.   It seats only 8,000.   It has hosted the two national meets and a number of state AAU meets and for about  four years the Ohio State High School Meet was held there in the late 1990's while the Ohio State University removed its historic track in the football stadium and built the newer Jesse Owens stadium on the banks of the Olentangy River.

As a thirteen year old in 1957, I had almost no interest in seeing the 1957 meet, as I was more involved in being a caddy at a local golf course.   What I heard about the meets in later years was that they were poorly organized by the local committees, and as a result Dayton was never considered in later years to host again.

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