Rohe Track Era All About Us!

 

TOM SCOTT

UT Track and Cross Country, 1962-1964
B.S. In Zoology, UTK, 1964
M.A. in History, UTK 1966
Ph.D. In History UTK, 1978

Professor of History, Kennesaw State University,
Kennesaw, GA, 1968-2011

Professor Emeritus of History and University Historian,
Kennesaw State University, 2011-Present

KSU Distinguished Teaching Award, 1994
Georgia Governor's Award in the Humanities, 2004
KSU Distinguished Professor Award, 2008

I will always be grateful to President Andy Holt, Athletic Director Bowden Wyatt, and all the people at the University of Tennessee who had the foresight to recruit Chuck Rohe as the track and cross country coach in May 1962. I was finishing my freshman year at the time. I enrolled at UT for its academic programs, and walked onto the track team out of a love of running and to break up long days of classes and studying. The track program had reached rock bottom, and we pretty much had to coach ourselves. We had a few good athletes, but I'm sorry to say that most of them quit when they found out how much harder the workouts were about to become.

I think it is fair to say that I had already learned the value of hard work from a host of mentors at home, school, and church, and was doing three or four hours of homework a night even in high school. But Coach Rohe raised to a new level my consciousness of what I was capable of doing. That lesson stuck with me throughout graduate school and my career in college teaching. Perhaps more importantly, I learned from Coach Rohe the importance of maintaining a positive attitude toward the problems of life. His “what a day” cheerfulness said loud and clear, “don't complain, don't make excuses, don't underestimate what you are capable of doing, don't waste time worrying about why you can't do something, and just do it.”

Since I took a full load every summer, I graduated in 1964 after three years, but I stayed long enough to be part of our first SEC championship in cross country and indoor and outdoor track and field. I'm very proud of what we accomplished. I learned a lot from my fellow runners as well as Coach Rohe. Nothing was more enjoyable or educational than all the trips we took to meets in other cities. I loved to visit other campuses to see the different styles of architecture and how other college students lived. And the conversations on the trips---especially when Coach Rohe was involved---were as stimulating as any I experienced in the classroom. My involvement with the track program was easily the best part of my undergraduate experience. It's applicability to my teaching career came in an understanding that all students deserve the type of mentoring that we received. I may not have always succeeded, but I always believed that professors should put their students first---before their research agenda---before any of the other obligations of academic life. Classroom teachers have a lot to learn from good coaches, like Chuck Rohe, not least that they care deeply about the students you teach and that their success should be your first priority. That pretty much sums up my teaching philosophy through a career of well over forty years.