Paul David Kamanski , I’ll take a moment to explain his significance, both to the sport and to the state of Ohio. Dave was the coach at Bellflower High 15 years before I was. It was he who told me where the old copies of T&FNews were stored in an attic storeroom above the coaches’ office. He coached my lifelong friend, Buddy Cox. When I coached at Bellflower, Dave was just down the road at Cerritos College where he coached track and XC. Dave was a personable guy, a man’s man, a guy who always had time to talk. When Cerritos was installing a new all weather track, Dave asked if he could bring his new transfer sprinter over to work out on our track. It was Houston McTear who had burned a few bridges behind him. The guy didn’t last long at Cerritos which I think was his last stop. Something about attending classes.
Not that class attendance was a major obstacle for Dave. Eric Tweit and I had a kid who had super potential on the track, but not in the classroom. He had run 52.0 without training, but dropped out to take a $3/hr. janitorial job his senior year. Dave got him enrolled at Cerritos and assured me grades would not be a problem, “He’ll be taking 10 credits of Kamanski” – volleyball, wrestling, handball, principles of officiating. The kid enrolled each spring and ran 51+ for the intermediates and 47.0 on a relay leg.
Here is the Ohio connection. (Note: George is from Ohio but not a Buckeye fan.) Dave was best known for being one of the top referees in D-1 football. It was common to see him doing PAC-10 games most weekends. He was also the referee for four Rose Bowl games. (One of our rituals was asking him what time it was. “Well, let me check.” Elaborate extension of his arm. “I see by MY ROSE BOWL WATCH that it is 4:25.”)
Dave was the referee for the 1980 Rose Bowl in which Charles White leaped into the end zone to score the winning touchdown on fourth down with less than a minute to play, giving SC a 17-16 win over the Buckeyes and plunging the state of Ohio into mourning. Unfortunately the cover of the following week’s SI showed White crossing the goal line without the ball. Oops! When asked about this, Dave had a stock answer, “The camera lied”.
Thanks for the interesting bit of history on Kamanski. We had a special relationship with him. Can't recall how many years ago this was, but sitting in the stands at Cerritos College while watching the Master's CIF Championship meet, I spotted Ty Hadley sitting a couple rows below me. I knew he had done some coaching at LBSC in the early '60s so I went down and sat with him for a while. During the conversation, he related that Dave had recently been diagnosed with stomach cancer and would not be around too much longer. I quickly gathered the team that won the Southern California JC Championship Cross-Country title of 1960 and we were able to visit him at his home in Tustin. He still had his sense of humor, telling Larry Canova (Bellflower High School 1959) he needed to get his hair cut! Our little group had lunch together, talked about old times and the impact Dave had on our lives, running and otherwise. It was only a few days later that Dave passed away. He was seldom seen without his beloved cigar and I fear that had some effect on his health. Dave was a graduate of Occidental College and while at Cerritos he went out of his way to take me with him to Oxy's awards banquet 1960 or 1961. In the end Long Beach State was a better fit for me and choosing to be a 49er remains one of the best decisions in my life. Darryl