skwagner wrote:Tracy Smith attended my high school--Arcadia High, in Arcadia, CA. He was legendary for his unusual training regimen: you could often see him running on the grassy islands that ran up the middle of Santa Anita Avenue. He spoke at my junior high school sports award banquet in 1968 after graduating from Oregon State University, which I also attended. Have heard very little of him since the late 1960s, and as a longtime journalist I'd love to do a story on him. Incidentally, one of my first newspaper articles was on...Tracy Smith, for the Arcadia Tribune.
I went to Alhambra HS and Arcadia was our big rival and we always liked the guys on the team; having the connection to Tracy, who came to a few meets (his younger brother ran for Arcadia, I think) did not hurt.
I have another connection with him that I did not realize until I read the post earlier on this thread). When I was in high school we twice did an Easter Week work camp at Bishop California, the Alhambra Presbyterian Church maybe 1967 and 1968? Since he was later affiliated with the church in Bishop, I guess I worked on the buildings he used a few years later.
skwagner, I just sent you a Private Message with some more info.
Hey Guys, sound this while I was browsing my coaches name! Tracy Smith is currently the cross country coach at Crook County High School in Prineville, OR. He still lives in Bend but coaches XC and LD in Prineville. He is one of the sweetest guys I know and still runs most of our drills with us! On our last XC practice of the season we watched the footage of him breaking off 3 laps early and it was awesome to see his determination and high spirits as he ran! So proud to know him and be coached by him! We are the luckiest team to have him! Anyways, just wanted to give an update on his current situation!
Hey Guys, found this while I was browsing my coaches name! Tracy Smith is currently the cross country coach at Crook County High School in Prineville, OR. He still lives in Bend but coaches XC and LD in Prineville. He is one of the sweetest guys I know and still runs most of our drills with us! On our last XC practice of the season we watched the footage of him breaking off 3 laps early and it was awesome to see his determination and high spirits as he ran! So proud to know him and be coached by him! We are the luckiest team to have him! Anyways, just wanted to give an update on his current situation!
jhc68 wrote:Here's another Tracy Smith question: was he associated with Bishop Union HS X-Country back in the late 1970's? Bishop had a string of very strong small-school teams (no super stars but a lot of consistent, tough kids) and in my foggy memory I have dredged up the impression that Smith was working with them in some capacity. Anyone know?
I realize I am very late in joining this topic, but hopefully some of the people that participated in it are still around. This went way longer than I intended, so I had to do 2 posts due to the length of my comments.
I lived in Bishop from the summer of 1976 - summer of 1978 and went to high school there my sophomore/junior years. Had to move away a week before my senior year began, but that's another topic. Anyways, Tracy Smith was our track distance coach while I was there, and had an incredible influence on my life. He was/is incredibly humble and a man of great character. I was new to running, and while I quickly learned from others that he had held a world record and had been in the Olympics, there was no way you could tell that by talking to him. He was a terrific role model for all of us, and it sounds like he is continuing to be a great example to the kids up in Oregon.
I remember, distinctly, how he would run our interval workouts with us on the track. He would run with the boys, and while we did our recovery jog, he would run with the interval with the girls. By the time the girls were done, we were ready to go and he would go with us while the girls recovered. This would continue for the entire workout with Tracy never getting a break until everyone's workout was complete. Looking back at this, he would have been in his early 30's, and he was still in excellent condition, so for an athlete of his caliber to do this probably wasn't too difficult (the boys would average 65 - 80 a lap). However, the feeling of running with him and watching him run has been imprinted in my mind. He was almost machine like, it seemed like he could go forever and was just so compact and smooth. He was very strong and his arms seemed to move like pistons. He encouraged me to do pull ups to increase my upper body strength which I gladly did in the hopes I could run like him, or at least look like him as I ran. Tracy stressed the importance of knowing your limits and running on pace for most of the race. During our track workouts he would tell us what splits we were to hit. Sometimes it was race pace, other times it was goal pace. He kept a record of each workout and at the end of a certain period of time, the boy and girl who were closest to the splits for those workouts us were invited over to his house for a waffle/pancake breakfast. I was able to win once and I was in awe. He had a glass coffee table in the living room with only a few of his medals and it was impressive. Other than that, you would have no idea of how great a runner he was.
Last edited by bishoprunner on Thu Oct 18, 2012 8:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.
His wife, Caroline, was just as humble. She was also an accomplished runner. They had a golden retreiver, I think it's name was Shawn, that loved to go in the lakes and retrieve. They also had a donkey or a mule named Christmas. Tracy would load her up and take us backpacking in the Sierras. So, as you can probably tell, I wasn't too thrilled to have to leave this just before my senior year. He also had a running camp in Mammoth during the summer that I attended after I graduated high school. I could go on and on, but the bottom line is this: Tracy was a great runner, but above all of that he was a man of exemplary character to his runners. I sent him a Christmas card a few years ago, and it looks like he has raised his children to also be wonderful citizens. I am thankful for the short time I knew him, and am not surprised he is still going strong after all these years. The kids in Oregon are fortunate.
Now, about Bishop Union cross country. We won the Mt. SAC Invitational and CIF 1A (I think that is what it was called back then) in 1976 and 1977. Richard Arnold was our coach, and he was fantastic. A man of few words, but we all wanted to perform for him. Our training area and the courses we ran on in league were nothing compared to the Mt. SAC course. We would come down from 4,000 ft. altitude and see the smooth, almost road-like surface of Mt. SAC and do very well. Our top guy, Steve Peters, won CIF cross country two years in a row. Our second guy, Horatio Martinez, was usually right behind. There was no state cross country meet back then, so I don't know how our times would have compared to the other larger schools. But compared to the small schools, I think we did pretty well.
Okay, sorry for being long winded, but the 2 years I spent in Bishop created some wonderful memories. It's where I began to run competitively, and it was fantastic. We had 2 superb men coaching us, talented athletes, and an excellent environment to train in. I have lost contact with all of them, other than Tracy, so if any of them see this, shoot me an email!
Thanks for the backstory, Brian. I was coaching at Carpinteria HS during that mid 70's to very early '80's time period. Our boy's teams were always in the CIF Finals and a couple of times we thought our seven had real shots at winning but Bishop Union and/or the Sherman Indians were always too tough at the end of the season! I distinctly remember one Bishop runner (I'm thinking it was Peters) running at Mt. Sac with a pretty gnarly looking cast on his arm. That was the sort of resolve that was difficult to beat.