Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Happy Birthday Coach Groves

Which means Penn Relays week! Goodness squared. 

Sunday, March 24, 2024

2024 Track Alumni Reunion And Coach Groves Golf Outing Ushers In The 2024 Olympic Athletics Schedule

 Our Reunion and golf tourney is being held in early August this year and will correspond with the beginning of the Track and Field events of the 2024 Paris Olympics.  Set some time aside to join your teammates and meet new friends at our event.

22nd Annual Penn State Track and Field Alumni Gathering / Harry Groves Memorial Golf Outing

(August 2 – 3, 2024)

As I normally start these invites, let me first apologize to anyone receiving this notification that may not be interested in attending this event – we’ve done what we could to screen / purge addresses, but unfortunately, it’s not full-proof…                     

This year, the opening reception and dinner will take place at The Graduate, 125  South Atherton Street.   We have a block of rooms reserved there for $199 / night (held until July 3) – (reference the Penn State Track and Field Alumni) – phone number there is (814) 231-2100.  As an alternative, the Ramada located at 1450 South Atherton St ((814) 238-3001) usually has rooms available around $129/night, as does the Penn Stater (800)-233-7505 (there are no blocks there for preferred pricing just as a heads up and those rates are always subject to change)…

FRIDAY’S EVENTS (August 2nd):                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

7:00 pm – 10:00 pm   Meet and Greet cash bar (hors d ‘oeuvres will be provided) – Graduate Ballroom                                                                                                                                    

                       50-50, Putting contest, other games TBD (bar crawl sure to follow)

SATURDAY EVENTS (August 3rd): 

9:30 am – 11:00 am  - Numbnutz Alumni Triathlon will be year, sorry – I know how much you enjoyed the laughs…    Coffee, juice, donuts to be provided. 

1:00pm – 6:00pm   - Golf outing at the Mountain View Country Club (old Elks Club) again this year with the putting contest taking place at 1:00 pm (something we’ve been arriving too late to do for the past three years) with a 1:30pm start to captain’s choice scramble.  If you need clubs, there are always folks bringing extra sets, so you don’t have to worry about renting (be sure to let us know when you register, so we can plan to have them there).

1:00pm – 3:00pm   Activities for those not golfing (Depending upon weather), - yet to be determined, we will follow up once we have volunteers and chosen events.  We typically have a group gathering to hike Mt. Nittany or take a campus tour (either to the Creamery or the Sports Museum (may be an additional cost)).  Meeting spot(s) and tour guide(s) to be announced Friday night – leaving from the hotel lobby (Vivian to heads this up).

6:30pm – 10:00pm   Dinner reception and awards ceremony for golf outing will take place at The Graduate  Ballroom (125 South Atherton Street – Lobby Level).

For those of you whom have not heard, there has been a new endowment / scholarship fund established in the name of Coach Schwartz.  The link established for this fund is:  If you prefer mailing in your contribution, make your check out to Penn State University adding on the memo line “Coach Gary Schwartz’s Endowment fund” – mailed to Donor and Member Services – 2583 Gateway Drive, Suite 130 Bristol Place One – State College, PA 16801


Costs / Fees:

$450 / FAMILY (all under one roof) – All Events                                                                                                                  $400 / FAMILY – Saturday only – All Events                                                                                                                                            $400 / FAMILY – All Events (with only one golfer)                                                                                                                $250 / FAMILY – Both Nights – No Golf                                                                                                                                  $200 / FAMILY – Friday Night Only                                                                                                                                          $350 / SENIOR (67 or Older) FAMILY – All Events        $300 (with only one golfing)                                                                                                        $250 / SENIOR FAMILY – All Events - No Golf                                                                                                                       $300 / PERSON – All Events                                                                                                                                                      $200 / PERSON – All Saturday Events                                                                                                                                      $150 / PERSON – All Events – No Golf                                                                                                                                     $100 / PERSON – Golf only                                                                                                                                                                $250 / SENIOR PERSON – All Events                                                                                                                                       $175 / SENIOR PERSON – All Saturday Events                                                                                                                      $150 / SENIOR PERSON – All Events – No Golf                                                                                                                      $100 / SENIOR PERSON – Golf Only                                                                                                                                                                         FLYING IN – DROP $100 off your fees                                                                                                                                      RECENT GRAD (past three years) – DROP 25% off your fees                                                                                              OLYMPIAN – COMPLEMENTARY – and thanks for attending!                                                                                            PAYING BY PAYPAL – ADD $10 to cover the fees                                                                                                       QUESTIONING THE METHODOLOGY BEHIND THE COSTS – DOUBLE YOUR CHARGE                                                      


This event is open to men, women, and friends (or enemies) of PSU alumni and of course the Alumni themselves - the more the merrier!  This is all about the laughs, brother/sisterhood and continued support for the current men’s and women’s track teams.  Remember, when it comes to considering golf, you will have three other hackers on your team to laugh at, and with, so don’t worry about how bad your game is! 

Donations / Gifts are happily accepted if you would like to help us defer some of our costs, as we contribute all proceeds to the current program.

Please send checks or money orders to:

Harry Smith                                                                                                                                                                                          2040 Central Grove                                                                                                                 Toledo, OH  43614

PayPal option available again this year on the Blog or Facebook page (Dave Baskwill is coordinating) – if utilizing PayPal include another $10 to your total as mentioned above to defer the charge (as mentioned above).

If you should have any other questions or comments, please let me know – Hope to see you this year!     

Clark Haley ’85   (484) 716-8517

Monday, November 27, 2023

RIP Mike Fanelli

Very distraught to learn of the passing of the great Mike Fanelli. We became friends through this blog. Despite having crossed paths many times, we never formally met.

His help with our blog and his love for running always was a great motivation. He encouraged my ramblings when others were indifferent. 

He always wanted to be a guest at our Reunion and Golf Tourney as he was a great admirerer of Coach Groves. He also married a Nittany Lion.

My condolences to his family and friends. Thanks for your example. 

Wednesday, November 1, 2023

Who Was Faster? A Meaningless Poll

Neither Scott Fitzkee nor Gregg Garrity were on the PSU Track team back in the day. But as PIAA State sprint champions (I know Scott was, and have been told Greg was too. The Interns were unwilling to look it up for sure.), they would have been notable contributors to the team. Coach Paterno was never big on 2 sport stars, or helping Coach Groves in any way. There were exceptions.

But my poll question is unrelated to that. It was brought to me by a patient who ended up as a Penn long jumper when Coach said he had too many jumpers already to him while attending a PSU summer camp. 

Who was faster?  Scott Fitzkee or Gregg Garrity?

I know the real answer already, as I know both of the gentlemen. Scott was the biggest star in York County Track in the 70s and Gregg was on my Holmes Hall dorm floor in 1980-81.

Answer in the comments here or on the Facebook page. 


Sunday, October 29, 2023

Steps Forward On The Cross Country Course

Penn State made strides forward on the Madison, Wisconsin Cross Country course at the Big Ten Championships.  Both the Men and Women had performances that matched their best in several years. Both performed better than their pre-race predicted finishes.

The women finished 4th with 3 attaining All-Big Ten honors:

  • Madaline Ullom    6th
  • Florence Caron    11th
  • Kileigh Kane        13th

The Men placed 6th with Evan Dorenkamp placing 17th

Saturday, October 21, 2023

It's Already Championship Season!

Our honorary Drone Fuhrer, George Brose, of the all-encompassing track blog Once Upon a Time in the Vest , sent along this wonderful picture from 1963. 

It shows Coach Groves and his William and Mary team heading to the NCAA XC Championships. They finished 17th.

Sunday, October 15, 2023


It was Homecoming yesterday in University Park and the football team dominated poor ole UMass in what I consider a little bit of overkill.  But what do I know? I admit I don't keep up with things anymore, and never watch any pre-game or post-game blather.  I also turn the sound off,  so because of Penn State's glorious no-name uniforms, I don't know any of the players names unless there are graphics involved on the screen.

Football Alumni make up the largest sports alumni group at Penn State Athletics. I would bet their active numbers are higher than 75%.  The second largest sports alumni group is Penn State Track and Field/Cross Country.  With all the work Clark Haley and others have done for 21 years now, we reach less than 20% of the total number.  Rather disappointing , to say the least. We continue to work to get those numbers higher.

So, it is heartwarming to hear from new members.  And when we do, I try to highlight them. This example is especially cool because it points out that Clark truly is a Leader.  Thanks, Clark!


My name is Tom Williams, and I was on the XC and T&F teams back in '81-82. (I am in the back row of the attached team pic)

Among my great regrets in life, one has been not being more connected to the team back in the day and moving forward.  I arrived at PSU with total anonymity and left the same.  To his great credit (and somewhat out of character in those days), Coach Groves let me walk on.  I was not a D-1 athlete.  I knew it, and Coach Groves knew it.  However, I knew I wanted a Penn State education, I knew I loved the sport, and I knew that one day I wanted to coach.  Coach Groves gave me more than my share of verbal smacks along the way, and like many stupid 19 year olds, I assumed he hated me.

Fast forward to 2008--a big leap.  See the other attached pic.  While at a conference in Eugene, I found out there was a track meet at Hayward Field.  Attendance was a no-brainer.  When I went, I found out the US Jr National Team was participating and one of the coaches...was Harry Groves.

I found Coach, and perhaps thankfully he did not remember me.  But as he put it "there are a lot of people I don't remember any more."
And then something remarkable happened.  I mentioned that I was a coach, and Harry lit up.
Coach Groves shared that he had been trying to keep a list of all of "his guys" who went on to become coaches.  Suddenly I wasn't the scrub walk-on.  Suddenly I was someone Harry wanted to get on his list.  It was awesome.  Not the same guy who scared me to death my freshman year!
Back then I rarely had a camera with me, and even when I did I seldom took any pictures.  Thankfully, I got a picture which now means a lot to me.  Me and Harry at Hayward Field.

So, to guys like Clark Haley and everyone else on that '81 XC team...I wish I had been a better teammate and friend, but make no mistake, it was one of the most memorable years of my life.



2nd quick story...
Being a scrub, I also errantly assumed other guys on the team looked down on me, and certainly no scholarship guys would even know my name.
Then about 10 years later I was helping out at the runners' expo for the Peachtree Road Race in Atlanta.  This guy--who looked familiar--came up with a huge smile and said "Tom!  How are you doing, man?"  It was Clark Haley.  He acted like I was a long lost brother, which I guess I was without realizing it.

I have had lots of interactions over the years with my buddy Mark Heckel, who didn't believe I ran at PSU until he checked the team track photo.  :-)   Both there at the same time, but throwers lived on a different planet.


Saturday, September 30, 2023

Evan Dorenkamp Channels Che Arosemena

Evan Dorenkamp became the third PSU runner to win the Paul Short Invitational Gold Race in 23:53.7 (8k). The last winner was PSU Track Alumni Golfer Che Arosemena way back when!

The Men's team placed 5th of 43 teams.

The Women placed 4th of 44 teams, paced by Sophia Toti in 16th (20:40.0, 6k).

Friday, September 22, 2023

We are everywhere!

Including along the Danube River.   Mark Heckel, our Director of Security, has been touring all of Europe for the past 45 months (or so it seems to me).  He met up with Brian Boyer (our Official Physicist and soon-to-be ex-European Liaison).  Brian will be moving back to State College in the coming week, where Mark will be able to visit him often (including at our next Reunion and Golf Tourney!).

Incredible usage of the Alumni Jersey!

Friday, September 15, 2023

Gunny Was a Remarkable Man

 It is with sadness that I report the passing of Roger "Gunny" Roll.  It is hard to describe Gunny in just words, but here are a few items I find interesting...

  • He was Coach Groves' best friend for many years.  Years that were difficult for him.
  • He would take 10 mile runs with the team in my early years.  Teams that were in the top-4 in the Division I NCAA XC. I probably couldn't do that 1 year after graduation!
  • He had more than 1 Purple Heart from Vietnam.  I think the number was three, but really "just 1" would garner my greatest respect.
  • He taught me many things in those days, sometimes in words, and sometimes by just watching how he interacted with the world around him.
  • I never heard him say a negative thing about anyone.  
  • He was a long-time Official for NCAA meets in both XC and Track and Field.

Never had an interaction with him that wasn't positive.  RIP  (Thanks to Mark Heckel for the photo and the word on the news.)

 We have lost all 3 of these giants of PSU Track Alumni (Golfers) in the last several years.

Monday, September 4, 2023

Tuesday, August 29, 2023

Our Le Faucon d'orange Put Together This Slideshow For The Coaches' Remembrances

 Mark Hawkins put a lot of work into a slideshow that was run throughout the ceremonies held at the Horace Ashenfelter III Indoor Track recently. Don't forget to thank him when you next see him!


Slide Show

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