Saturday, November 26, 2016

V 6 N. 87 Stan Huntsman R.I.P.

Stan Huntsman passed away at age 84 in Austin, TX where he finished his coaching career at the University of Texas.  He had also coached at Ohio University and University of Tennessee.
Stan Huntsman with cross country team members including Elmore Banton on left Robert Heller and Larry Smith

The Knoxville News  Sentinal remembers Stan in this article:
Stan Huntsman

In a similar article, The New York Times recalls that when Ohio U. dropped their men's track and cross country programs, Stan sent back his Masters Degree from the univesity and had his name taken out of their Hall of Fame.


I remember Stan as someone I wish I had been coached by at the end of my college career.  I was recruited by him and made a campus visit in the Spring of 1960.  It was my first trip away from home on my own where no familiar face would be waiting for me when I got off the bus. I was the only kid in my high school getting recruited for anything to do with sports at that time.  So no one  there could give me any idea what to expect.  To get to Athens in Southeast Ohio I travelled northeast from Dayton to Columbus, changed buses and headed back south.  I still  remember seeing a legless man in the Columbus bus station pushing himself along on a board  with small rollers.  He had what looked like an iron ring in each hand to propel himself along the ground, so his hands wouldn't be soiled on that station floor.  What was he expecting from me?  My world up to that time had been pretty narrow and protected.  Sixty years later I would see a man with a similar handicap directing the parking of buses in a station in Kigali, Rwanda.  How he kept from being crushed is anyone's guess, yet he was granted the dignity of being allowed to do so.

As the bus started getting into the beautiful hill country surrounding Athens I found the place enchanting.  Getting off the bus I asked  my way to Stan Huntsman's office and introduced myself.  I didn't know what to tell Stan or expect from him.  What should I say?  How much money am I worth?  I was just a junior and had had a reasonable sophmore year for those days 4;32 mile, 2:05 880. The state record then was about 4:29.   It was Spring and the track season was about to begin.  Stan really didn't seem to know what to say or ask either.  Certainly he was in no postion to be bargaining for my services.  I had two seasons ahead of me.  As it turned out, my junior year I barely improved on my times.  And I was probably not considered a good prospect after that stagnant third year.    I spent Friday afternoon and all day Saturday on campus and returned home on Sunday morning. Never visited a class, only talked to a couple team members for a few minutes.   That Saturday Ohio U. hosted the Ohio U. Relays.  It was coooold and blustery and even snowed during the meet.  But there were some outstanding talents there that day in the form of a young long jumper and hurdler named Ralph Boston from Tennessee A&I  and a very good 220 sprinter named Paul Drayton,  and oh yes a decent Ohio State boy named Glen Davis.    I shared a dorm room with another visitor Brad Hill,  a boy from Hamilton, Ontario  Talking to him opened another world to me, learning that people ran track in other countries and did things a little differently.  They ran in clubs for one.  They also had easy access to  purchase Adidas track shoes.    He told me of other Canadians who came down to the States to run, like Ergas Leps at Michigan.   What, you mean they come down here to run and go to college?  By the time I got on the bus, my planet was turning on a slightly different axis than it had when I left Dayton that Friday morning.  I would go on to have a very good senior year and got recruited by more far away places like Oklahoma.  Stan would get a couple of good high schoolers from the Akron and Cleveland area, Barry Sugden, Darnell Mitchell, and Elmore Banton and turned them into international class runners.  Might he have done that to me?  I'll never know and there are a lot of other things I'll never know about what might have been.  But I'm glad to say that I at least crossed paths with Stan Huntsman one time.
George Brose

1 comment:

Wilfred Schnier said...

Great memories. A few years later Stan would have been saavy enough know exactly what to say and you would have surely been a Bobcat rather than a Sooner. It was almost impossible to say "no" to Stan as he killed you with kindness.