Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Vol. 2 No. 61 Jerry Dyes, a Texas Legend

       In the April 1962 posting that covered some of the big Relays meets,  there was mention of a remarkable performance by Jerry Dyes of Abiliene Christian College.  Jerry won the javelin (237'-4"),  triple jump (49'-11 3/4") ,  and long jump (broadjump in the day)(25'3 1/2") at the Kansas Relays.   I was able to contact Jerry to get some details about his history.  He certainly had great arm and leg strength and running speed to go with it. He was a member of the Abiliene Christian 440 relay team that won the Penn Relays over Villanova with international sprinters, Frank Budd and Paul Drayton.  Jerry mentioned that the Penn officials didn't allow him time to change out of his javelin shoes for that race.     He  has some great coaching credentials as well, having coached at Abiliene, Northwestern State University in  Lousiana (1970-82) , Louisiana Tech (1982-88,  and U. of Texas San Antonio.  He was very forthcoming when I contacted him as you will see further down in this posting.  He's  a great storyteller, and I would love to hear him talk about track and field in the 60's.   Jerry retired from competition early at the age of twenty-two.   (His great regret in life).  But he got back into the sport at the Master's level and went undefeated in the javelin for about 15 years.  He competed at the international level, not just behind the family barn where his career began.   He defeated former Olympic champions including Janis Lusis at world Senior Championships.   He currently coaches cross country at Schreiner University, a Division III school in Kerrville, Texas. 

Below are some of our email conversations and photos and extracts from his Facebook page.
Jerry doesn't mind being contacted at his email address  
June 21, 2012 2:30 PM
To: Dyes, Jerry B
Subject: some of your track and field history


I'm currently co-writing a blog on 1950's and 1960's track and field.   We've gotten up to April 1962, and I noticed you had a brilliant day April 21, 1962  at Kansas Relays;,   Javelin 237-4, Long Jump 25- 3 1/2, TJ  49 - 11  3/4.   We're wondering if you also drove the bus and washed the uniforms.    Would you be willing to recount anything about that day and the season in general?    Our site can be found at     Also appears that you are still in the coaching game at Schreiner U. in Kerrville.     Is that where Kinky Friedman is from?  
George Brose
Kettering, OH  

                                                            International Masters Champ

                                                                   A Fourth Grader


Thanks for the note.  I have retired and am coaching part time as cross country coach at Schreiner University.  Yes, Kinky Friedman is a Kerrville native.  I remember riding a train from Abilene to Lawrence that spring.  Indeed, I would ride the same train two years later and win the decathlon at the Kansas Relays.  I made the greatest mistake of my life by not doing the decathlon at the Olympic Trials that year.  I gave up track in 1964 and went into coaching.  Life’s experiences tell me that I gave up a great opportunity by not concentrating on the decathlon for the following eight years.  I guess it is a regret.  I am the only person to win the javelin throw at the Texas, Kansas, Drake, and Penn Relays.  I had five opportunities and finished second by a foot or so at the Texas Relays in 1962.  The javelin throw and long jump were rained out that year on Friday and were conducted at the same time the next morning.  I was running back and forth from the stadium to a field well outside the stadium.  I finished second in both events.   J.D. Martin is a friend of mine.  I assume you all were teammates.  I have to run, but good luck with your blog.  Jerry Dyes


I just opened your reply note at Schreiner and responded with a long reply, but lost it somewhere on this computer.  I will try again, but will probably not be as detailed as before.  I read your blog.  I love it.  I like to read about those guys and see the various photographs of each.
Catoon from ACC newspaper

I notice you have Earl Young's photograph.  I guess you know he is struggling with leukemia.  It was found last summer and he was told he had two choices.  Do nothing and pass on in three months or look for a bone cell donor.  They found one guy from Ireland who matched up with Earl. It took and if he makes it to September he will be in remission.  Also the Styron twins were teammates of mine that one year in  1960.  Great competitors.  I am going to send you the email address of a teammate of mine at ACC.  His name is John Lawler.  He won the 1961 NCAA Steeplechase Championships.  He is an Aussie and lives in Sydney today.  He knows all those guys who ran at Houston in the 1950s and 1960s.

You can use those photographs I have on FB.  The Penn Relays shot did circulate around the countryside in 1962.  Actually, I ran the 440 yard relay with those javelin shoes on my feet.  They would not let me change shoes.  I was throwing the javelin when the relay started.  We won beating a good Villanova team that had Frank Budd and Jerome Drayton on it.  Young and Richardson was on our team and our exchanges were very good.  The next year at the Drake Relays in a down pour I had the same thing to happen.  I ran the first leg on the 880 yard relay and had to come back and throw three final throws in the javelin with one of those being the winning throw.  The approach was a quagmire.  I won several world championships in the Masters competition.  One, had several Olympic throwers in it such as Janis Lusis the 1968 champion and 1972 runner-up.  I never lost a Masters competition in the javelin throw between 1985 and 2000.

I  ran on several relays that won championships at Penn Relays (62) and Drake Relays (63).  I ran the sprint relay at Penn with my javelin spikes on my feet.  They would  not let me change my shoes.  I was throwing the javelin at the time and was  not allowed to go over and change.  We beat a good Villanova team that had Budd and Drayton on it.  Both became Olympians.  I had Young and Richardson on my team and we had our exchanges down pretty good.

I really enjoy your blog.  I will continue to check in from time to time. 

I wish you the best.  Incidentally, I understand your experiences as a coach.  Its fun but competing is many times better.


Jerry Dyes


I only did two decathlons.  One at the end of the year in 1960 when I was a freshman and the other at the Kansas Relays in 1964.  The latter was in the morning time.  The weather was cool and overcast.  It rained a bit both mornings. There were about eight competitors which included J.D. Martin and Phil Mulkey.  I won the event but only one event was worth recalling.  I cannot recall the exact marks in most cases.  I hit a hurdle and just about fell down in that race.  The best I remember was 10.9; 23' 9"; 47' 10" (off of painted ply board that was wet... I was usually good for 50 feet most any time.) 6'; and 50.5.  The second day was 17.7; 124'6"  (it was really slick also) 11'6"; 249' 1" (which was an American decathlon record that stood for 20 years); and 5:06.5.  I was only running to beat Mulkey in the 1,500.  He finished behind me and was second.  J.D. paced me through it and assured me Mulkey was not close.  I let J.D. go and finished up.  I was a fool not to follow up in the decathlon later that summer and for the next eight years.  The conditions at Lawrence were not good for doing a good decathlon that day.  Incidentally, I think Mulkey broke the world record in the decathlon a couple of years prior to that.  I do not remember my score but it was something like 7,056 points.


Looks in the javelin picture that it was taken inside the stadium at Penn?   They throw outside the stadium now.  Amazing how the stats go up on the internet now.  Almost immediate as they have a survey crew that is wired online as they measure with a lazer.    

The Penn Relays conducted the javelin inside the stadium in those days.  That was 1962, so much has changed.  One thing I might mention regarding change are the landing pits for the high jump and pole vault events.  We had nothing but sawdust and all of that changed after 1964.  I was, and, still, am very allergic to sawdust.  I would come out of those pits scratching and itching like crazy.  Indeed, I would break out in whelps.   I believe I could have handled both events if that reality had not existed.  Too, the flop came along afterwards and it was a much better technique for me.  At 29 years of age I set a personal best in the high jump at 6’ 6’” while working out with my athletes using the flop in 1970-71.  Over the years I worked with woodworking projects and had to wear a mask and protective clothing.  I, finally, gave up woodworking for that reason.

Long Jumping at Abiliene

I met Bill Carroll (Oklahoma coach) in 1960.  I was a freshman at Northeast Louisiana.  My coach, Lew Hartzog, arranged for me to compete in the Oklahoma AAU that spring in the triple jump.  I won the event with a 49’ 1 ¾” jump but destroyed both heels on the asphalt  runway.  That day I met Anthony Watkins who I believe made the Olympic team that year in the long jump.  I may have in the triple jump if I had not come down with those terrible stone bruises which forced me to change my landing technique on the successive jumps.  Forward rotation happened and cause my jumps to be shorter.  However, Coach Carroll was very nice to me.  He introduced me to Bud Wilkerson that day and suggested he might go into banking sometime in the future.  I remember that night some guys drove me up to the Black Hotel in downtown Oklahoma City and we had to contend with one of those storms that Oklahoma is so famous for these days.  I was oblivious to it at the time.

John Lawler and Dennis Moore came to ACC from Australia in the fall of 1959.  Charles Christmas was a Tennessee lad who came to ACC in the fall of 1961.  He ran around 1:48 and 4:03.  All of these guys showed up at a track reunion in Abilene last May 2011.

                                                        Jerry Throwing at Penn Relays

The following is from Jerry's Facebook Page


Other Memories!

by Jerry B. Dyes on Monday, May 28, 2012 at 5:02pm ·
I went to Northeast Louisiana College one year right out of high school. Those guys had a great track team. We had 18 indoor and outdoor track meets that year and we won every meet. We beat L.S.U. twice, and they came to Monroe and the score was like 100 to 30. It was an awesome team. I was third that year in scoring points. Prior to that year I had always been the high point person in high school. But, I was a freshman and there were two juniors there named Dave and Don Styron. Twins! And, were they fast? Really fast! They won the dashes, hurdles, and both relays at every meet we went to that year. Both are in the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame! I was a good competitor before I showed up over there, but being around those guys I learned how to be really tough. Whether they would admit it or not I believe they experienced the fatigue syndrome as I did. Don made the Trials that year in the 400 hurdles but I think they were out of gas. So, why did I transfer? Unknown to me at the time I enrolled was a mandatory obligation that every male had to participate in R.O.T.C. It only took a short time for me to discover I was not army material. I could probably kill many enemy soldiers if it was necessary for me to be a soldier (I was a hunter most of my life and always bagged my share of the game.) but I would probably have been killed because I am a natural competitor. The Army tries to change you into something else. I was not very compatible. I do remember the final inspection of the R.O.T.C. that year. It was about 105 degrees that day. A general visiting from the regular service was doing the inspection. We were all standing in one spot for a very long time with our wool outfits covering every part of our body and a tie holding a khaki shirt tight. My company was at the very back of the group of several thousand men and boys. Guys started passing out in front of me, in back of me, beside me, and next to me a 6'7" basketball player actually fell against me. The corporal heading up my squad was bing bravo suring the incident, but about ten minutes later, he was on the ground. When the general got to the few left standing, he wanted to know why I was not passing out (he would not ask that question today). I informed him that I was a track athlete and probably in better condition than almost every one else. He looked at me for a long time and moved on down to the last standing person in the squad. My hands were so sweaty I did not think I would be able to hold on to my rifle when I presented it to him. I did. I wanted to ask him how he felt but decided it was not protocol. After it was over we learned that one of our weight men did pass out but he was about a football field length from me. Quite a few people went to the hospital for heat exhaustion. I decided that day there must be another school I could attend that did not require Army R.O.T.C. Since I led the freshman triple jump in the nation, a close second in the javelin throw, and third best in the long jump I was offered a full scholarship by the first two schools I contacted. I ended up at one of those. There was another reason, and a better reason than the one I posted but it is not for this moment. I alluded to it above in a very general way.
Winning was important and I usually tore my body down winning team meets through out those years I was identified with a team. There were not many that did better at scoring the most points at a track meet. I only participated in four losing meets during my four years in college. University of Kansas one year, University of New Mexico another year, and two national meets that I managed to compete in at the time. I could not go my freshman year since a Louisiana state law prevented my team from competing in certain meets (which included national meets). And, those were the days we had team scoring meets every weekend like most of the high schools continue to do today.
I want to elucidate on the subject a bit more. I was always tired the last quarter of the season throughout my team experiences as an athlete. I never did less than four events. One night, my freshman year in college, I did eleven events. The concluding event was the mile relay. Being a gung-ho performer I never considered the matter of fatigue and competitive flatness until the third year of my coaching experience concluded. I had the best quarter-miler in the state of Texas in March. After four months of racing sprint relays, mile relays, two mile relays, and open 400'x (that included heats) he was tired. He finished seventh at the state meet and brought the mile relay home last with a 49.0 clocking (far slower than his early season times). He was very tired. After that experience I backed off on multi-event performers by selecting meets with minimal heats, and not using performers in every relay. At the NAIA championships, one year, I had a guy to run 12 races with the mile relay final being the last event. We chose our efforts prior to this meet. I have coached a number of multi-event people, and, unfortunately, because they were attempting to qualify for nationals, they had to do back-to-back decathlons and pentathlons. The first performance was always better than the second effort. I won the Kansas Relays Decathlon on a Thursday and Friday one week and competed in a conference track meet the following Friday and Saturday. I was wiped out even though I won three open events and placed third in two other events. It was an Olympic year. My fatigue was a definite downer. I did not even attempt the decathlon at the Trials. I recall four years earlier the almost exact same thing occurring. I was a freshman and was really doing great. Well, this one weekend I flew to Oklahoma and triple jumped at the Univ. of Oklahoma on Friday. They had a runway like the street out side. I had never jumped off asphalt. Well after seven jumps my heels were bruised as badly as one can imagine bad. I was traveling without my coach so the flight on to Kansas City the next morning and another triple jump competition that night pretty well sealed the deal. I had these blood bruises on my heels. It was worst that black. I won both events but paid a big price. I followed the schedule and move on to Emporia Kansas to challenge that school's decathlon star. Obviously, he was fresh and on a Monday and Tuesday evening in late May, he, and I, along with two other lads, did a decathlon with only the two coaches there (my coach had caught up with me) and a few girl friends there to cheer their fellows on. Trying to show off in front of that crowd was about the only fired up emotion I had. He won, but if I had been fresh he would have lost. Also, I had broken my elbow a month earlier. I threw the javelin, discus, and shot put with a broken elbow. Later that summer I had an operation to remove the chipped or broken bone. Ever attempt to jump or throw was agony. The heels were sensitive. The elbow was subject to acute pain. But gung-ho as I was, I competed in Houston that Friday night and won the triple jump at a distance about four feet shorter than my earlier season best. I was really through even though I went on and qualified for the Trials at the AAU meet in Bakersfield, California. The latter had another asphalt runway. Fortunately, the Olympic Trials was at Stanford University and they sported a grass runway. I placed, but would have made the team if I could have jumped the distance I jumped earlier in the season. I could not and did not.
Running came natural for me. I never felt like I was straining unless I ran out of gas, but until then it was easy. I have watched thousands of people run. Fluidity is a blessing for some and a void for others. But, my mother could run fast. I think I was 13 when I finally could out run her. My mother did not recognize me as a good athlete until she watched for a while.  After all she could out run me until I was 13 and she thought of me as her house boy. I was the oldest child and well trained.  One day she witnessed me (I was about 20) throwing a fishing cane pole (redneck javelin)...actually good for developing arm speed) over 400 feet and she could not believe it. I remember her saying, "How can you do that?" It was measured. There were other guys there attempting to throw those canes, but they were only reaching a hundred feet or so (It's a far more ballistic action than you can imagine.  Throwing it was nothing more than a body explosion... well for me anyway.) My father and some of his friends measured the throws from 75 feet from our back door over a field inhabited by cows, over another field, and across another fence.) As I noted, she called me her "Clark Kent" afterwards. I said that to a group the other day and they laughed at it. The story of my life!  Yes, I remember her saying, "How can you do that?"  I did not know the answer at the time.  Today, I would tell her, "Probably, because of you!" My father enjoyed the rough and tumble stuff. He was a great high school basketball player. Anyway, what I learned was one really did not know until one found out about me. They, almost, always, assume the opposite.  But, it was so much fun to win under those speculations, or projections.
Being the sort of fellow I was made it easy for guys to assume less of me than I was capable of doing. I only weighed about 185 pounds back then and looked the part of being a regular character not worth challenging in any category of activities. But, I learned to take advantage of this reality. My mother had taught me to be very humble. So, my response was to win as much as possible. If you did not know I was winning you pretty well fit in the earlier category as described above. I reckon a lot of guys concluded that I looked like the weakling that walked by Charles Atlas out on the beach and had sand tossed on him. I am not sure if I could have whipped Atlas in a fight, but I am pretty sure I could have thrown an object faster and further, jumped further and higher, ran faster and longer and no telling what else. (However, I will admit if I had lifted weights in those years, there's no telling; he was up on me on that one.) So, I transferred after my freshman year, and in those days that meant being basically idle for a year. I did workout and continued to develop physically since I was only 19. Too, I bumped into some guys who were able to size up the situation, so off to the races we went. During that year I was able to throw the 12 pound shot put 64 feet (while throwing the 16 lb. 53 feet). We went many places and the bets were on. We never lost. This included shot put throwing, racing in the streets, jumping over cars and trucks, and throwing a football for distance. The latter happen by chance on the practice field one day when I threw a football 105 yards. Some guys rounded some other guys up and managed bets. I delivered with a throw of 102 yards. This went on at different places with different guys who thought they could throw a football the length of a field. Most of the time, these egotists managed a throw a bit over 50 yards. Of course, the fact that they were generally boozed up did not help them; but did us. Usually there was a lot of cussing when a ball landed far away from the point of delivery or a shot put landed around 60 feet. There was even more cussing when a car was cleared. Who is that? They were never told the truth. The word got around pretty good in the places we frequented that you needed to be careful because there was a wild man who looks like a choir boy that will take you to the cleaners fair and square jumping and, particularly throwing. My greatest mistake was quitting competition at 22 years of age. It was a decision that is pretty well hard-case stupidity. (This conclusion is only meant for me and no one else.) I was no where near my maximum potential efforts. I never talked about my career very much for a very long time, but I am reaching the age that I need to record as much as possible, or I will not be able to remember such things as just alluded to above. And, other folks who were around in those days are moving on down the road themselves. I talked to one, today, and he says he remembers the day the football was thrown over a 100 yards. He said he was there. Since there were many occasions, I am unsure which time he is talking about. Obviously, it had to be on the field in big A. But, there were several times that happened. I remember one night, or early morning, we bumped into a fellow who claimed he had thrown a football from one goal line through the goal post on the opposite end. The ball would have traveled over 115 yards at a minimum for that to happen. He was a big guy and claimed to have played at the University of Tennessee. We had not heard of him. He was in the Army at the time and stationed at Hood. He looked the part even though I was confident that too much alcohol was traversing his veins. So, his entourage claimed to know where a football field was located and off we went. We had two footballs and followed. Eventually, we found the place and waited for daylight. With one of my guys at the other end of the field with four or five of his, my other friend and I set up at the end of the field with the wind at our backs. He won the toss to see who would throw first and decided he would give me that pleasure. I heaved a very high and nice spiral that landed about 87 yards down field. The Tennessee boy had been throwing about 60 yards warming up and that's about where his first, second, third, fourth, and fifth throws landed. On his last throw he almost reached 70 yards. I was not going to throw any additional throws. My friend, holding the cash said, "Pal, its being nice knowing you but we are going." There were about ten of those guys and they demanded that I throw both footballs. We had the money and were leaving, but I told the guys, "I'll do it." The first throw was over 90 yards and the next throw was over a 100 yards. We left with new friends. This guy, obviously, had some experience and talent throwing, but he was out of throwing condition at the time. Too, I rather doubt if there is anyone who can throw a football 115 yards dead or alive. Well, I concede there is probably a hand full, but that is 345 feet. As you stand and look in the direction you are going to throw it seems almost impossible to think the ball will go that far. It just happens! Today, the NFL has combine efforts where they bring in the best professional football prospects and they summarize that a throw of 80 yards is extraordinary. Most cannot throw a football that far. There are exceptions. According to Google the following distances were credited to these quarterbacks; Joe Flacco 74 yards, Jamarcus Russell 84 yards, Jeff George 88 yards, Troy Smith 73 yards, Matt Ryan 62 yards, Vince Young 65 yards, Phillip Rivers 69 yards, Peyton Manning 75 yards, Brett Favre 75 yards, John Elway 78 yards, Randall Cunningham 78 yards, Ben Roethlisberger 70 yards, and the world record for football throwing is reputed to be 213 yards. I will say that is not correct because it is humanly impossible to do that. It was credited to someone, I, and the writer, had never heard of before. A guy once told me that he saw Craig Martin (former Dallas quarterback) stand under one goal post and throw a football through the uprights of the goal post at the other end. I did not call him a liar to his face, but in my head I knew he was not telling the truth. I threw footballs for distance many times and around 105 yards was the best I ever threw. I did that distance and maybe a yard or two further quite a few times. But, I was a person who was throwing something almost every day of my life for distance. (Just for the record, I threw a football 70 yards in the street out front of my house last Sunday.) That guy and many others wanted to know who I played for and the answer was "I was a pitcher in the Chicago Cubs organization and when I got my control down I would be up there." I made a different decision long time ago and there were times I regretted it, but life is what it is.

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