Monday, October 10, 2016

V 6 N. 75 Knowles Dougherty R.I.P.

Knowles Dougherty R.I.P.

By Paul O’Shea

Cross Country Journal Publisher and Editor Knowles Dougherty died September 1, 2016 in his Austin, Minnesota home.  He was 82 years old.  While a man of varied interests and accomplishments, we knew Knowles as an important figure in our sport for more than three decades.

Knowles was born in Austin and went to its high school where he became a competitive runner on the track and on cross country courses.  He went on to run at the University of Colorado and Swarthmore College.  Following graduation he joined the American Friends Service Committee, serving in Guatemala, Mexico and San Salvador.

He continued to pursue higher education and received a master’s degree in mathematics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a doctorate in education from Harvard University in l968.  Knowles’s interest in alternative education led he and Darlene, his wife, to found the Warehouse Cooperative School in Boston.  They moved to Missouri in l975 where he worked as a teacher and farmer.

Knowles formed a publishing company and launched Cross Country Journal 32 years ago.  The publication was suspended in 2015 with his illness.

Cross Country Journal’s audience consisted of many of the sport’s most accomplished coaches.  Early on Knowles established a Board of Advisors which included Joe Newton, Olympic coach and widely regarded as the most successful high school cross country coach in history, Doris Brown Heritage, two-time Olympian and Hall of Fame honoree, Bob Larsen, Hall of Fame inductee, Ken Reeves, twice named the national high school cross country coach of the year, and Jerry Popp, high school coach of the year and member of the coaches Hall of Fame.

On learning of Knowles’s death readers remembered him for his service and leadership in the sport.

Tom Coyne, Vice President for Student Services, Emeritus at Western Michigan University said:  “When one has a passion, no matter how obscure it seems to the wider world, that passion can sustain, encourage and inspire in ways beyond measure.

“Knowles Dougherty was a runner, wrote about running, encouraged running and provided inspiration and information about running to countless others who also had to, wanted to, run.

“Whether it was for the experienced coach, or better yet, the young runner trying to find his or her way, the gifts of information, advice, encouragement found in Cross Country Journal for over three decades were a true legacy.”

Ed Ernst, head track and field and cross country coach at St. Ignatius College Prep High School in Chicago: “ I started writing for CCJ in the very last years of the publication.  When I was stuck and didn’t want to write anything, I would get an email from Knowles full of excitement for an idea he wanted for CCJ.  Then I would get to work on it, because of his enthusiasm and because he needed it right away.

“Knowles gave us space in CCJ to celebrate our inaugural Magis Miles, a night of mile races on the track and really one of Chicago’s only current big track events.  I wonder how many other events he helped that way over the years?”

I was privileged to write articles for the Journal for almost twenty years.
Many of us who cherish the integrity and guidance he brought to the sport will only appreciate his wider contributions now that he is gone.

Paul O’Shea, a long-time contributor to Cross Country Journal now writes for Once Upon a Time in the Vest from his home in northern Virginia, and can be reached at

Ed.  If you are looking for something you may have missed in Cross Country Journal, I found this on the internet.  It is a compilation of Best Cross Country Workouts from the first twelve volumes of Cross Country Journal published in 1995.

Cross Country Journal   Best Workouts

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