Our little piece on Stan Huntsman's passing has brought in an outpouring of messages and memories about the man. Apparently Stan had touched a lot of people in positive ways that they wish to make known, and we are happy to share those notes. For that reason we are putting out a second posting with these stories about Stan. Included is a remarkable piece written by Stan himself that has been passed from David Milliman to Bruce Kritzler and on to us. Thanks, Dave for sharing Stan's work. If more comments come into this blog, I'll place them on this particular posting/
Jimmy, Sam and Stan are gone now. But NOT to be forgotten.
Pace Running Magazine
The Fourth Dimension, by Stan Huntsman
"History is the expression of social, political and economic forces." -Theodore Gronert, History Professor, Wabash College (1953)
We can define the social, political and economic factors that affect history. These factors make sense to us as both readers of history, and as students of mankind. History can be seen to flow from these three factors as vectors of change. So too, can we analyze the body, mind and spirit of man.
Man delights in defining the course of history in tangible form. Historians view vectors of change through the eyeglass of social, political and economic forces. We are at once students of history as well as students of mankind. As we read history, so too, do we read the soul of man. We analyze the factors of change as we analyze men. The three dimensional notions of Body, Mind and Spirit relate depth, width and height to our concepts of man and his place in history. As the words of the official seal of the University of Texas state in Latin: "Praesidium, Civitatis, Discipline.” We triangularize the education of man, just as we study his history.
Yet hidden in the cracks of this conception, is the non-transmittable, immutable process of life itself. The quality of life cannot be bottled and processed by the vectors of change, the idylls of academia. The forces of change cannot be pre-destined without the will of man, the joy of living, and the quality of the moment.
It is this moment, this zest of life, (this process) which is the Fourth Dimension. This moment exemplifies the character of a true champion. In track & field, the champion actualizes his moment better than his competitor does. He controls the flow of awareness from the backlog of experience and participates in the moment of competition, in the hours of athleticism that brings him life. In this way, the champion controls his destiny.
President Grant's success as a great general has been attributed to his fixity of purpose, but at least one historian has written that his "persona" was the trait that made the Union Army work. "Persona" is defined as a character trait. You can write the word down, but it is hard to define. You might see it now, but you cannot capture it in a bag and carry it home. As lightning in a bottle, it is only as alive as General Grant himself.
Many historical figures have had this fixity of purpose, this aura of person power and conviction, this certainty of direction and the ability to inspire loyalty. I felt this in the presence of Darrell Royal, the legendary Texas football coach. When he was talking, the depth, and the truth of what he was saying overcame me. Moreover, he was saying it directly to me and to me alone. The rest of the group might as well have not been there at all. His words had a disproportionate affect on me, much more so than if he had written me a letter or called me on the phone. The Fourth Dimension of history was at work on that day as he was speaking to me. I imagine this was much the same as when General Grant was addressing his troops in another time and another place.
Coach "Bear" Bryant had this sign on his desk: "Don't stand there, make something happen." This was Bryant's philosophy of life condensed into one sentence; these words reflect the key to the possibility of success. Use one's precious commodity of time to create something in the present, to capture the dynamic of the moment with diligence and with as much affect as possible.
A great coach, teacher or athlete will exhibit the traits of greatness in every hour of his/her life. The flow of its execution will be natural, not forced. It will be exercised in an eased and matter of fact manner, relaxed and with a smile. Tension has no place in the act of winning. Intensity without relaxation is worthless.
Two of the greatest athletes I have coached, David Patrick and Winthrop Graham, were great examples of the uninhibited flow of this winning philosophy in action. David Patrick was an intermediate hurdler who also was a National and World Champion. Graham was an Olympic Silver medallist. Each processed the ability to train like a champion, and to smile and take defeat graciously when it was asked of them. Two occasions that illustrate the character of these two men stand out in my mind.
One spring day I met with my Tennessee squad of 40 or so runners and asked them to warm up on their own and to meet me at the track for the workout. This was an informal, inspirational workout, as we had no major upcoming meets. Practice was to be a relaxed, no pressure exercise. Unbeknownst to me, a heavy rainstorm was gathering and we were caught in a deluge that lasted for far more than that half hour.
I went to the track, thinking it likely that none of my athletes would show up. I stood in the storm for a minute or two, realizing the rain had destroyed my intention. Then I noticed a singular figure stretching in the cold, David Patrick. We were quite possibly the only two citizens of Knoxville crazy enough to be out in the rain. Nevertheless, no questions were raised, and no innuendos passed. Patrick did ten 300's in solitude, a champion in the making, the only team member who showed up that day.
In 1985 I left Tennessee and took the head coaching position at the University of Texas. David Patrick also moved to Texas. On an unusually blustery day in the dead of winter in Austin, I was to meet Graham and Patrick at the grass intramural fields for 400 meter repeats. We had planned a hard workout. When we arrived, the sky was spitting rain whipped with a bitter wind. The air was full of static electricity as a Texas sized winter storm gathered around us. Yet, the boys were all smiles and full of run. Even during stretching and warm-ups, I could see this was to be a special day. The three of us stood on the hill in solitude, alone at the complex, facing the wind and the cold. But, I remember the smiles during the intervals, the laughter, the relaxation, the last run to exhaustion, and the feeling of invincibility. I knew then that these men would be champions.
"Punctuality with an attitude" is a trait that radiated out from the champion athletes I have coached. They were most often the first to the locker room and the first to the field. They were anxious to get the show on the road. Even in the early morning hour of six a.m., the best would be ready to run with a smile. They were ready to get the day started, to prove themselves, to put in the miles they knew would lead them to success. This attitude has proven to be standard procedure with all the champions I have known.
A coach spends a vast amount of time with his athletes. He shares their good moments and their bad. He takes part in their triumphs, he ushers them into their first life away from home. He learns of their closeted skeletons, he gives advice of the heart. He becomes their friend and confidant. And when the time comes, he steps away. He is both a father figure and a mentor, but he cannot win for them.
Each man exposes his soul to the other. The process is a laboratory of scrutiny. The process builds character, for falsehoods will be magnified and exposed. The phony will not pass muster, the insincere coach will be exposed. Neither the coach nor the athlete can fool himself lest failure ensue.
It is easy to get cold feet in the decisive moment, as race day approaches. However, the champion athlete keeps his poise and his philosophy in place. Smiles of confidence are readily displayed and a cool calm composure is necessary. The mentor and the mentored will mirror this calm.
The athlete who breaks down on game day undoubtedly has a flaw or weak link in his championship character. As the winnowing out process continues to shrink the competitive field, the world of the athlete becomes smaller. The practice field, the coach's house, the team meetings, the warm up track, the competitive arena; these all take on a new and more personal meaning. The athlete is alone against his competition, against his world. The same forces that guided the athlete must shrink and become one within him. The victor will embody this Fourth Dimension.
Victory is the ultimate focus on the task. It is here that the athlete reveals himself, with his eyes. The eyes are the beacons, the focus of the will. In his eyes, the athlete exposes his intent. The "eyes of the tiger" solidify the effort and reveal the champion on the day of competition.
David Patrick and Winthrop Graham processed these eyes. I only helped to bring them to focus. Patrick won the National Championship and the World Championship in the 400-meter hurdles in 1989 and 1992. He also was NCAA Champion in the 800 in 1982 and 1983. Graham was NCAA champion and won the Olympic silver medal in the 400 hurdles in the 1992.
Both of these men won championships. Both knew how to rise to the occasion. Both knew that to win the championship was to explore the instant, the instant of now. This process is a way of life. This was my way of life.
From Phil Scott
I was recruited by Stan but chose Santa Barbara City College, warm weather and O.U. did not have indoor track. Stan was very nice to me. A very good coach and man, I think a Decathlete also.
Huntsman was a decathlete at Wabash College, IN.Believe Wabash is the only "men only" college in US.
Think Dick Bowerman is best(?) track athlete to attend Wabash. Went on to run 28:30,for Oregon TC. His daughter Laura ran for Florida State, now coaching at New Mexico.
From: Bill Schnier
Stan's father was the T&F coach at Wabash College but I thought Stan was a javelin thrower. Maybe he was also a decathlete too. I knew him first when he successfully recruited Lamar Preyor to Tennessee. At that same time I opted to go to Indiana to work with Sam Bell, Jeff Dils went to Eastern Michigan to be coached by Bob Parks, and Gary Loe went to Wright State to train under Bob Schul. All of us made very good decisions and were blessed by our mentors or college coaches.Stan was always so kind to me, but then he was the same way with everyone. Tennessee got credit for having a coach with southern hospitality, but he actually brought that aura from his family and Crawfordsville, Indiana. He always seemed to be smiling yet he was a tough competitor who brought out the best in the Bobcats, Volunteers, and Longhorns. Each school reached its pinnacle in our sport during his tenure. He knew the sport through and through but he mainly brought out the best in people. He never big-timed anyone yet was always in charge. He valued every event and was able to relate to the culture of each event area. He was an absolute giant in the coaching profession.
From Richard Bowerman
Stan and his brother Jerry were tremendous athletes at Wabash College . Stan was a super football player - a fullback - Little All American - rushed for 259 yes against Ball State ! He was drafted by the Chicago Cardinals of the NFL . He was a decathlete in track . His father J Owen Huntsman coached at Wabash for about 25 years . I had the good fortunate to be coached by J Owen . StanS parents were like grandparents to me . My son is named after him . I first meet Stan in 1970 when he was at Ohio . He was returning from Drake where his runner Bob Bertleson had won the NCAA 6 mile championship . I was a sophomore at Wabash then . Stan had stopped by to see his parents . Stan called me up and had me go for a run win with Bertleson to talk training .!! That run drastically changed my approach to training ! Bertleson was doing such workouts as 32 x 400 at 5-10k pace with a 100m jog interval . I then trained with Stan at Tennessee in 1975/76 . Stan incorporated some of my 10k training methods that I had learned from Fred wilt into his UT regiment . The 1975/76 year was the best of my life .
From David L. Costill
Stan was my freshman swimming coach at Ohio University. 1954-55. Drank a few beers with him.
From: John Bork
I appreciated your recollection of your "recruiting" trip to Ohio U where you met Stan Huntsman. At the time we dominated the MAC and I did not yet understand what a fine Coach Stan was. By the time he went on to Tenn & then Texas, I realized that he was one one the rare college coaches who "coached" and inspired his athletes.
Hey! I was at the Ohio Relays that weekend to. I remember Ralph Boston coming across the infield with an arm full of 5 Ohio
U sweat shirt awards. We were star struck but managed to ask Him "hey Ralph, what do you have, there? Too which he replied
"I've got 4 larges and an X-large for my wife!"
We thought it so cool that he would talk to us and have a great sense of humor, too!
From: John Bork's teammate Richard Mach
Those were my sentiments exactly and the first thought that came to mind when I learned of Stan's passing. How much I wanted him to have been the coach that I would have preferred to have trained under most of all. He was real. And he was competing with the personable Bob Parks, who was JV coach for my last two years at Western. Stan hailed me at the Indoor Champs back in Detroit one winter and asked what I'd been doing and told him I was developing this magazine, The Racer's Edge, all about bring the latest of research in science, medicine and technology to the art of running faster. He told me he'd heard of it -- he'd heard of the motor oil additive -- and asked if he could subscribe. I was so surprised, flustered and pleased as it was hardly more than an idea, and was still in the midst off drafting its first article on Harvard's what I called 'Fastrack', but said sure and I saw in him in that moment how much he was all about supporting athletes in their endeavors. He was the charter, as in first, subscriber, to the magazine that had quite a short life, but was read by subscribers from 32 different countries before it's demise at the hands of someone with the business sense of .... well, pond algae ... if that.
This piece came from the Austin American Statesman Dec. 4