Thursday, April 5, 2012

Vol. 2 NO. 34 Bob Day, R.I.P.

March 15, 2012

One of my high school team mates sent me this email today.
Mike Solomon


At 9:40 AM, my friend Bob Day lost his race with Father Time, as will we all some day. The running community lost a great ambassador and I lost a friend who was sincere, respectful, funny, honest and genuinely dedicated to the athletes and friends who knew him. Bob was a UCLA Hall of Fame member and the 12th American to break the 4 minute mile barrier (and did so six times), with a best of 3:56. He represented the USA in Mexico City in 1968 as our fastest qualifier in the 5000 meters ( with a personal best of 13:40! ) and spent a lifetime supporting the running communities in San Diego and Orange County, spending the last 8 years of his life coaching Cross Country and Track at Beckman High School. Please keep his wife Jenny and his daughters, Amanda and Dava in your thoughts and prayers. Bob was 67 years young.


Bobby Porter

By David Wharton, Los Angeles Times

March 17, 2012
It was relatively early in Bob Day's track career at UCLA and he was scheduled to race against one of the best two-milers in the nation. His chances of winning seemed slim, so the coach told him to focus on second place and earn valuable points for the team.

"He just kind of looked at me," former Bruin Coach Jim Bush said Thursday. "Then he went out and won … and from that day on, I never said he couldn't do something."

Over the next two years, Day established himself as the greatest distance runner in the history of UCLA's storied program, setting records in multiple events, leading the Bruins to a 1966 national championship and representing the U.S. at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics.

Day died of bladder cancer Thursday at his home in Irvine, his wife said. He was 67.

Born Robert Winston Day on Oct. 31, 1944, the Southern California native grew up in San Marino. He worked in the healthcare industry for many years before becoming a coach at Beckman High School in Irvine, where he built the track and cross country programs from scratch.

"He was so happy," Bush said. "He loved it."

During his college career, from 1963 to 1966, he set school records at 1,500 and 5,000 meters. His times of 3:56.4 in the mile and 8:33 in the two-mile were national records at the time.

After setting the mile mark, which stood as a school best for four decades, Day told the Times: "Competition always gives you an added lift."

Bush recalled the lanky athlete as a hard worker who was smart enough to adjust to different strategies. Day also was considered the top cross-country runner in the nation during his junior and senior seasons at UCLA, where he majored in business administration. He was captain of the national championship team, but a heel injury kept him out of the title meet.

After graduating, Day won the 1968 USA Track & Field Senior National crown in the 5,000 meters and competed in Europe until an injury forced him to retire. He moved to Irvine in the early 1980s with his family.

Each spring, UCLA's best distance runner receives the Bob Day Award. He was inducted into the school's athletic Hall of Fame in 2002.

Day is survived by his wife, Jenny; and daughters Dava Voss and Amanda Day.

Coach Bob Day

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

great link!!! Please. What were the times and finishers in the 1962 USA vs Russia meet at Palo Alto?
Bob Martin -

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