Saturday, February 20, 2016

V 6 N. 16 More Conversations with Darryl Taylor Part Two

You pass my hair cut inspection.      

Check out the first entry we ever did on the blog   Dave Kamanski from Bellflower HS  is pictured (previous post) shaking your hand.  My colleague Roy Mason was at Bellflower and knew Dave.  In our first ever blog posting six years ago Dave got the following ink.

Roy wrote:
 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

The DVD is copied.   On it you will also get a nice bonus of archive films from the U. of Kansas  pre Jim Ryun days showing  Wes Santee winning the Big 7 cross country meet about 1955, also Big 7 Indoor races and field events.  Some rare footage of Wilt Chamberlain high jumping indoors and oudoors and triple jumping out doors.  How he got a release from the basketball coach to jump at the conference meet is anyone's guess.  Might have had a Saturday afternoon game, so he could have had time to get to Kansas City where the Big 7 Indoor meet was held same day.  Also on this is Cliff Cushman,  Al Oerter, Parry O'Brien all at Kansas Relays.   Film quality is a bit lacking, but still good enough to appreciate those days.  George

Good memories.  Did you write all this from your head, and a little reference to your training log?
I knew all the guys at Dayton Roosevelt who were the first team under 8:00 in 1962.  Warren Hand, Alan Payne, Charley Reed, and Lee Calhoun.   Warren won the state in XC his junior year.  Alan ran 1:56 not sure if he went to college.   Lee and Charley came to Oklahoma when I was there.   Lee won the Big 8 indoors at 600 yards as a soph. and triple jumped.  He could win the 880 and TJ in dual meets.  Charley was a journeyman 880 and mile relay guy.   Lee drifted around for a couple of years after college then  became a preacher, ended up with T.D. Jakes' mega church in Dallas.  He died about three years ago.  His little  brother Billy also came to Oklahoma on a partial scholarship as a half miler.  He moved down to the 440 won two NCAA indoor titles at that distance.  By then he had a full ride.   He never ran the NCAA outdoors, because he had to go home to Dayton to work the summers at a GM plant to support his wife and kids.  I see him every once in awhile when I go home.  Charley worked many years at GM and is now reitred.   I think Alan also worked most of his life at GM.   A lot of people will enjoy your stories.

Forgot to mention,  I remember seeing you run in some of the big indoor meets on TV  with that blond hair.
At first I thought ,  "Is Rainer Stenius running the 880?"  Then heard your name.   When I was in high school in the late 50s early 60s in Ohio we had some good chargers in the 880 too.   Barry Sugden from Akron  Beuchtel and Darnell Mitchell  and Choice Phillips  from Cleveland John Adams .  Mel Brodt coached at John Adams and went on to Bowling Green to coach Sid Sink and Dave Wottle.  Sugden was a child from the Firestone family tire merchants.  He could have been a legacy entry into Harvard, but chose to run for Stan Huntsman at Ohio U with Mitchell and Elmore Banton. Good decision.    Breaking 2:00 in those days meant something, usually a full ride somewhere if your grades were half decent.   Not any more.  George

Thanks a million-the DVD I'm copying right now contains the 1935 CIF Southern Section Finals, I believe held at the Coliseum in LA. That would be the one with Zampirini winning the mile in his National Record that lasted until Max Truex took it down in the 1950s.  Zamperini's CIF record lasted until Dale Story ran 4:16.9 in 1959, leading up to his big race with Archie San Romani JR. at the Compton Invitational, Archie getting the best of Dale 4:08.9 to 4:11.2.  That race being contested in the Open division against College and Club athletes robbed both of a National HS record. Evidentially Dale ran another 4:11.0 for the record in some other competition. 
Here are a couple of interesting photos from my archives you might enjoy from the long, long ago!

I do have notes from every year I competed, beginning in 1955 as a XC runner at Excelsior HS. Some detailed and some just what a work-out consisted of. This particular race I had references to from the program, photos, my work-out journal and that 8mm B&W film that my Dad took, probably lasting a full 20-30 seconds. So, a combination of all those plus my recollection of the biggest race of my HS career.  Made it to league finals, won my quarter-final heat for CIF Finals, made it to CIF Finals but nothing could quite match the electricity of that cold night. As I began putting down memories, more and more details came back to me. I see Larry Canova a time or two each month so he added some of his perspective. All fun! I also received a brief note from Steve Bruhns and Don Pickering saying they enjoyed the trip back in time but I'm still waiting to get them to tell me what they remember of that night, just to complete the story for myself.
I have other writings from some of my races and work-outs over the years but to be honest, pushing my stories onto your blog just seems like bragging a bit. I have little to brag about and much to be thankful for in terms of the great team mates and opposition competitors I was privileged to share the track with. When placed side by side with the truly great athletes of the 1950s and 1960s I just don't measure up to their standards.
That being said, I will continue to share some of what I remember and wrote about in the past. You guys are to be applauded for making this forum available to runners of all levels of ability and accomplishment. I SALUTE you for that!

I wonder what meet you might have seen that I ran in. I can only recall one local indoor meet that my parents were able to watch at home. My Dad set up his 8mm camera and recorded the race off the TV.  Also, the Albuquerque meet was scheduled to be broadcast on year but just before the 2MR started, there was a "Breaking News" interruption announcing that President Johnson had been sent to the hospital with some ailment. When the broadcast came back on, we had already finished.
You are making me think that I might find some film footage at LA 84 Foundation. I will check that out for sure. My two sons would love to see their Dad run an indoor race. And now my grandkids would enjoy that also.
Thanks for the tip.
Also, Darnell Mitchell and I were room-mates for the Pacific Coast Club on a trip to compete in the Saskatoon Saskatchewan Indoor games in '68 or '69.  We also ran in a 1000 at one of the LA indoor meets, Darnell was running for the Army and I for the PCC.  He won as I chased him around the track for 2nd place. I'll have to see if I can find a photo from that meet. John Bork was also in that race as was Dave Kemp and Mike Eck from Cal State Fullerton.  Think I ran 2:11

Start of L.A. Invitational 1000
Mike Eck,  John Bork,   ?   , Darryl Taylor,  Dave Kemp,  ?  Darnell Mitchell

With a lap to go I was still with him. Seems like I was always chasing those legitimate 1:47 guys!

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