Track and Field
Athlete, coach, winner
Washington State University men’s track and field coach John Chaplin ’63 led the most successful sports program in Cougar history.
The Cougars went undefeated in dual meets nine seasons en route to a 202-17 record during his 21-year tenure. WSU won four Pac-10 outdoor championships, was NCAA runner-up four times outdoors, and claimed the 1977 NCAA indoor championship. Chaplin’s athletes earned 105 All-America certificates and 61 conference titles. Below are just a few of the many athletes he mentored and coached over his years with the program.
Read more about Chaplin and his legacy in “Athlete, coach, winner.”
TUARIKI JOHN DELAMERE: Tuariki “John” Delamere … » More …
Talkback for Summer 2018
Truth or consequences
I retired in May 2017 after forty-plus years teaching philosophy in various colleges, and I can corroborate the observations of Professor Hindman and Ms. Donaway.
Thirty or forty years ago, people listened to whatever the disc jockey selected for air time. Now, people can drive from Pullman to New York and choose to hear only what they want. One consequence is that young people are trained to think that they never have to hear what they don’t want to hear—including
The remark, “When you remove truth from the equation, all that is left is power,” captures the … » More …
Running up the competition
If you want the facts about track and field records, ask a statistics junkie like E. Garry Hill ’69. But he might throw you with another fact, this one culled from long experience as editor of Track & Field News, announcer at the Olympics and World championships, and expert on the sport: Track and field as a spectator sport is struggling mightily.
Rows and rows of empty seats faced runners and field athletes competing at the Rio Olympics. And where can you watch big track events on TV? Hill calls it like he sees it, and he’s seen a lot since he competed for Washington … » More …
WSU Track & Field favorites
I didn’t realize until I compiled this favorite-moments list just how much the dictum of “no cheering in the pressbox” has come to dominate how I watch/enjoy the sport. Unfortunately, I’ve done a good job—too good, in fact—of learning how to be dispassionate. It makes me a better journalist and broadcaster, but it saps some of the vitality out of being a fan. So as you’ll see, my list is very much front-loaded.
Chronologically, these self-centered moments stick with me (noting that I’ve restricted individuals to a single appearance apiece, or it would run the risk of being all Gerry Lindgren and Henry Rono):
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How you play the game
It took a while for the guys to start passing her the ball during pickup games at the gym.
Jeanne (Eggart) Helfer ’82 stuck with it, spending much of her free time back in 1977 simply running the length of the basketball court waiting for a chance to show she knew her way around the paint. It was her first semester at Washington State, a few months before she would start setting school records, and Helfer patiently waited for the guys to discover what her older brother and his friends already had learned back in Walla Walla.
That girl can shoot. And pass. And rebound.
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Staying a jump ahead
Long before he was elected to the New Zealand Parliament, served as immigration minister, and held other national cabinet positions, Tuariki “John” Delamere ’74 was a long jumper with an attention-grabbing technique.
Delamere, a fixture on Washington State’s track team in the early 1970s, didn’t invent The Flip. But he so excelled at the leaping mid-air forward somersault it sometimes seemed as if he had.
His style was so gravity-defyingly smooth that when Sports Illustrated wanted to learn more about The Flip, and the debate that would eventually lead to the technique’s prohibition, the magazine sent a crew to the 1974 national qualifiers to … » More …
Racing into history
The Olympic moment of WSU Hall of Famer Lee Orr
As rain fell in Berlin’s Olympic Stadium in 1936, Lee Orr, a Washington State College student not yet 20 years old, didn’t realize the magnitude of the events surrounding him.
“I was pretty young and didn’t know what was going on,” he said.
It had been over seven decades since Orr raced against Jesse Owens at the ’36 Olympic Games when, in 2008, the soft-spoken Orr recalled his Olympic experience in Germany.
A year after the interview, Orr passed away; however, the story he told lives in sports lore.
Owens’s four gold medals and his … » More …