Anyone got stories about notably nutzoid old school coaches?
I was lucky to have run for half a dozen old timey coaches who were great men and great influences despite being more than a little crazy.
The most notable was John Ward at Santa Ana City College, and later the Southern California Striders, forty years ago. He was a fraternity brother of John Wayne and Ward Bond and had been a boxing instructor in the Army during WWII. As an 18 year old I watched in awe as he rolled his own Bull Durham cigarettes and lit them with one hand while navigating a team van down the freeway with the other hand, with the windows open! In Orange County near Coach Ward's home someone released an alligator into a resevoir where he fished. There was quite a local controversy about what to do until John got fed up with the issue, took his scattergun out on his aluminum boat and blew the gator to smithereens. He was not what you would call a sophisticate... but he produced a ton of middle distance runners every year by running people into mass barfing sessions... coach would laugh, tell some really raunchy joke, and then have everyone jump back into the workout. But he was effective. The teams were always strong, relays virtually unbeatable, and two JC guys from Santa Ana made the USA-USSR Team(Eddie Caruthers and Fred Kuller).
Chelsea Boone was a very successful coach of football, wrestling, track and field, etc., for Elkhart High School in Elkhart Indiana in the 1920's and 1930's. My grandfather, who is now 90 and was an athlete of Coach Boone's, relates one day Coach Boone was driving several of his athletes in his Model A to a competition in a neighboring town. Somehow, his car and another vehicle had a collision. Coach Boone got out of his car to inspect the damage. So did the other driver who proceeded to rant at Coach Boone. Mr. Boone took a look at him, knocked him to the ground with one punch, knocking the man's hat off in the process. The man got to his feet, grabbed his hat, and jumped in his car and speed off.
Grandpa said the boys in the car did not say a word. They were however successful in their competition that day. Coach Boone had gotten their attention.
Can't top that one, or even come close. I did spend some time in a van with a coach who cussed another coach/official all the way down I-75 from Cincinatti to Lexington. A non-stop barrage of verbal venom for almost 100 miles -- I was impressed.
Had a high school coach who was macho and crusty as they get. He was the classic blood and guts, die trying, gut it out type guy. He once ran around our grass athletic field for over two hours...running literally until he had blood in his urine, just to show we distance runners what it takes! When I psyched out and placed fourth in a cross-country race I should have won he told me (in front of the whole team as we were getting off the bus after arriving back at our Southern California school) that I should give up distance running and go buy a surf board...he added that he never wanted to talk to me again. Despite this we actually ended up being good friends years later.I think jhc68 knows who this coach is....
Yeah, what a guy, huh, Lynn? I remember that Tom loved to watch Ron Larrieu front-run. Larrieu always got caught from behind but Coach loved his effort way more than the winning. Then, again, there was the time the team bus didn't show up at Orange Coast College and Tom decided we should all pick up our gear and run all the way back home!
They survived WW2, childhood disease and the depression and understood rank perfectly....Their Knute Rockne speeches were an art..If anyone on the team would have ever called them by their first names, they would have had an anerysm...
The problem was, when you live in a household of constant Knute Rockne speeches...everything else in the world is reduced to insignificance....
Damn, I miss those days and I mean that...No, I miss those coaches, not those days.
He wasn't old enough to be crusty, but in terms of values, my middle school coach Brooks Johnson was certainly old school. After school he was very laid back, he'd play blackjack in his office with Upper School kids. He signed his letters Brooks Johnson,H.N. That would be considered politically incorrect now.