Friday, October 18, 2013

Vol. 3 No. 60 Tribute to Billy Mills

This picture shows Billy probably winning the Big 8 cross country meet against Oklahoma State Aggie, Miles Eiseman.  (I'll accept corrections to this as the picture was not captioned.

Hi George, Paul Ebert here, I ran in this big eight and have all the results at Stillwater, Okla
        team finals
          Oklahoma St 40, Kansas  50,Oklahoma 84, Missouri 85, Nebraska 139, Iowa st  161, and Colorado 180
             In 1960 at Stillwater
          1. Bill Mills      Kansas    15:03                    In 1958 Hodgson OU 14:00
          2. John Haraughty  OSU      15:04                In 1959 Eisenman OSU 13:55
          3. Jack Mc Phail    OSU      15:05                 2.Mills Kansas 14:11
          4. Harold Smith    OSU      15:06                  3.Hodgson OU  14:14
          5. Bill Dotson      Kansas    15:07   
          6. Robert Hanneken  Missouri  15:17 
          7. Raymond Schmitz  Missouri  15:23  
          8. Leslie Stevens  Nebraska  15:28   
          9. PAUL EBERT      OKLA.    15:31  
          10. Lee Smith        Okla.    15:33   
          11. Gail Hodgson    Okla.    15:36
          12, Bill Hayward    Kansas    15:38
          13. Pat Mc Neil      K State  15:39
          14. Kirk Hagean      Kansas    15:43
          15. Ray Graham      OSU      15:46
          16. Bill Stone    OSU    15:49    
          17. Robert Linrud  Kansas  15:56
          18. Don Gabbert Missouri  15:58       
          19. Bill Kinney  Nebraska  15:58
          20. Karl Brown Iowa St    16:02
          25. Tim Leonard OU        16:10
          27. bud Stewart OU        16:13
          30. Jerome McFadden Missouri 16:16
          33. Ted Reisinger  Kansas  16:23
          35. Dick Neff      OU      16:28
          36. Neville Soll  OU      16:35

This site from the University of Kansas , honoring Billy Mills, was brought to our attention by Mike Solomon, a former Jayhawk , runner.  There is a brief video of the final 300 meters of the 1964 10,000 meters that Billy Mills won in such surprising and spectacular fashion.   There is also a brief biography of Billy. 

This past August , I had the pleasure of chatting briefly with Billy at the induction ceremonies of the Cincinnati area Track and Field Hall of Fame.  He proved to be a superbly gracious individual , willing to share stories and acknowledge the help that others had been in his career and his life before and after the Olympic victory.  I had no idea of all the money he has raised for worthy causes.  When I mentioned to Billy that I had run at the University of Oklahoma shortly after he graduated from Kansas, he instantly remembered the names of some of my teammates including Gail Hodgson and Ernie Kleynhans and that they were from South Africa.  Such a memory that could conjure up names from fifty years in the past.

I do remember reading in one of Nicholas Sparks' books Three Weeks With My Brother about a round the world trip that Sparks took with his brother, that he had once dated Billy's daughter.  Although that relationship didn't work out,  Billy remained close to Sparks and ended up paying for Sparks' honeymoon when he married another woman.   Sparks had had a tough life growing up in a single parent family, was a good half miler and ran for Notre Dame. 

Another example of Billy's persona occurred at that Cincinnati meeting this summer.   A friend Dick Trace had given us of picture of Billy running in a three mile race for Quantico Marines.  In the picture with Billy, who was leading, was Les Hegedus from Central State University (Ohio) and Andy Schram (Miami of Ohio).  Hegedus had gone on to win that race.  Billy was kind enough to autograph the picture to Les , saying, "Les, you beat me bad that day."    Billy later admitted that he had suffered frequently from hypoglaecemia and was still learning to control it.  This was one of the day he had run out of fuel.  He mentioned that he used to eat honey before a race, but when his coach, Bill Easton found him doing it, he told Billy to refrain from that practice for some  reason.   In those days when the coach spoke it was his way or the highway.


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