April 7 - 9, 2016 UT Tract Reunion REUNION RECAP APRIL 2016 By Tom Scott
Thanks to Coach Beth Alford-Sullivan and the UT Athletics Department for inviting all former track and field and cross country athletes, male and female, to a great reunion on April 8 and April 9, 2016. There were many highlights, beginning on Friday with a reception for 50 years of Ed Murphey Award Winners. Most of them came back for the reunion, including Pat Pomphrey, Bob Redington, and Richmond Flowers, the first three recipients (1965-68). Richmond won the award twice. We were sad, however, that another award winner from our era, Bill Skinner (1969 and 1970), passed away last October. He was very much missed by all of the Rohe era alumni at the reunion. There was also considerable sadness that the person who created the award, three-time SEC mile champion Ed Murphey (1955-57) is also no longer with us, having passed away in October 2014. But we very much appreciate the fact that his children have continued the award in his memory.
Friday night the Rohe era group and a large number of the past Ed Murphey award winners gathered at the Holiday Inn-Cedar Bluff for a reunion banquet. The keynote speaker was Bud Ford who delivered an excellent tribute to the Murphey recipients. Afterwards, a large number of folks gathered in the hospitality room to socialize and embellish old memories. Thanks to Tom West, Ned Vickers, and Adam Ingle for their contributions of liquid refreshments. According to Coppley, the last of the party-goers departed (were escorted out) at around 12:30.
Saturday morning began with an 8:30 fun run on the Tom Black Track. The Rohe era was well represented by Rocky Soderberg who seemed to make a memorable impression on some of UT's current female athletes. Rocky finished the mile in a little over 8 minutes, just about twice the time of some of his great miles in the early 1960s. At the banquet Saturday night, Coach Sullivan recognized Rocky for his splendid effort.
During Saturday morning we also held a UT Rohe era board meeting to which all attendees were invited. Minutes are posted on the Rohe era forum. Following the board meeting, we gathered for a lunch in the Neyland-Thompson Sports Center, where Terry Hull Crawford was honored as UT's first woman runner to win a national title and as UT's first women's track coach and first to coach any women's team to a national championship. A number of the ladies from the 1981 championship team came back to join in the celebration for their former coach. Terry gave credit to Charlie Durham, who attended the reunion, for placing a Knoxville Track Club advertisement in local papers in 1966 inviting young women to join a new KTC women's track program; and to Roger Gum for serving as her coach. She also praised Chuck Rohe and the male athletes of 1966-1970 for treating her like one of the guys, training with her, and taking her to meets all over the country. Coppley Vickers and Tom Scott did an oral history interview with Terry on Friday morning, and it will be placed on the Rohe era website as soon as it is transcribed and edited. (Tom also interviewed Bud Ford for the website during the reunion).
A highlight of the luncheon for the Rohe era group was the awarding of the first ever Coach Chuck Rohe Leadership Award to an outstanding weightman on the UT track team named Cameron Brown. He not only is an All-American, having finished 3rd at the recent NCAA Indoor Championships, but he is captain of the 2016 track and field team, president of the Student-Athlete Committee, and an excellent student with a 3.65 cumulative GPA while double majoring in Business Analytics & Marketing. Also during the luncheon this year's Ed Murphey award was given for the second straight year to the outstanding sprinter, Christian Coleman. After the lunch, we were treated to a tour of the athletic facilities by some of the current runners. On Saturday evening the festivities concluded with a banquet hosted by the Athletics Department inside the stadium. It was wonderful to have an opportunity to sit down and talk to UT alumni of a variety of eras from the Ancients to the present. We are planning to have another Rohe era reunion in two years, and, if you missed the reunion this year, the Athletics Department is very likely to host more reunions in the future for everybody. We are really grateful to Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics Dave Hart, to Senior Associate AD Donna Thomas, and to Coach Sullivan and all her staff for making the weekend so memorable.