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

Tyler McCandless Wins in Kauai, Again!

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

Wednesday, August 23, 2023

A Hiccup For 800U

Both Handal Roban and Isaiah Harris failed to advance to the semi-finals in the World Athletics Championship 800M yesterday.

Isaiah found himself in a slow heat and was nipped for an automatic qualifier for third place by 0.03 seconds. I think this represents the first time he has failed to make a final including his days as a Nittany Lion. Next year, Isaiah! 

Saturday, August 19, 2023

Joe Kovacs Gets Bronze At World Championships

Joe Kovacs placed third in the shot put at the 2023 World Outdoor Athletics Championships today. That's after placing 4th in the US Championships.

Winner Ryan Crouser almost surpassed his world record on his last throw. This despite 2 calf blood clots. Scary situation, for sure. 

Friday, August 18, 2023

An Oldie But A Goodie

Clark Haley and I had the opportunity to interview Coach Groves at the 2009 Alumni Run.

And as the new interns attempt to get the Coach's Celebration up on YouTube, we will have another video to enjoy.

Tuesday, August 15, 2023

I Am So Bad At Golf That I Sabotaged 3 Good Golfers!

Each of the 3 people in my foursome this year  are good golfers. But it takes only one rotten apple to spoil the barrel. Here's the only video I took at the tourney. It shows Bill Malchano, Bob Gabel and Steve Shisler all hitting an excellent tee shot. I didn't even get out of the cart because the absolute best shot I could have hit would have been the 4th best..

I subsequently duffed a chip shot and missed a putt. 

Sunday, August 13, 2023

15 Disparate Musings About The 2023 Track And Field Alumni Reunion

  1. Apologies go out to my fabulous foursome this year. Three of the finest friends and long-term attendees whom I both admire and respect. I did nothing but bitch and moan the whole golf round, while contributing nothing but missed putts and bad vibes. I am truly sorry.
  2. Talked Mike Shine into golfing for the first time. I believe he enjoyed himself and had 4 shots that counted.
  3. The dinner was excellent again this year. Ribs, BBQ chicken breast, fusili Mac and cheese, garlic green beans and Paul Mundy Memorial triple chocolate cake.
  4. Got to speak with Ryan Foster and his father. Two delightful people. I think I convinced Ryan to get a third cat. The interactions and interesting behavioral changes that occur with the addition of each new cat are worthwhile. I forgot to inform him that the equation for the proper number of litter boxes is (# of cats + 1).
  5. The Hyatt Hotel is an excellent venue. The expense is worth it.
  6. Clark and Harry are great at what they have done to keep this independent movement going. Check how many other schools are doing as much. It isn't many. And if they attempt to add me to those who deserve praise, only believe 10% of it.
  7. Finally got to meet Joe Head, the first Nittany Lion to run in the Olympic Trials Marathon. He was a full-fledged member of our group before it was founded.
  8. The Coach's Remembrance was just right. I especially liked Ken Cooper's, Ryan Foster's and Artie Gilkes' presentations.
  9. I live streamed the ceremony on our Facebook (Meta) page. Eight people watched live, but it has already been viewed more than 100  200  300 times since.  I actually hurt my back and tired my arms holding the phone up for 2.5 hours. Too stupid to think of a stand...
  10. Coach Schwartz was my assistant coach for XC in 1977.I immediately knew he was the ying to Coach Groves yang at our first meeting. Total and complete respect.
  11. This weekend reinforced my opinion that members of our group are the most interesting, the most accomplished and the most intelligent people I have ever known.
  12. Coach Gondak is an excellent inheritor of the position once held by Coach Groves. I first met him at one of our early Friday receptions where I brought the potato chips and Clark Haley was truly the Keeper of the Beer in the small meeting room at the Hampton Inn.
  13. Ken Worthen is apparently the finest golfer in our tournament history. I heard many people telling me his play was outstanding from hole 1 to hole 18. I did not get to speak with him, but I want to thank him for dragging Don Ziter to his third tournament championship! Harry Smith also.
  14. The monies we collect for the weekend may seem steep to some, but that is never the case. In low turnout years we break even with Officers often adding significant funds behind the scene. In high attendance years we do have a surplus, which is given in its entirety to the Penn State Men's and Women's Track and Field and Cross Country teams. (Not the Coach Groves Scholarship Fund). In these surplus years, the funds are often given to an individual employed by a company that matches charitable contributions. This is not done to earn Nittany Lion points for someone to get better parking or tickets for football games etc. The only funds ever mismanaged by our group was the $4.24 lunch at Wendy's I was once allowed by a donation from Paul Mundy made to our blog. BTW the Mountain View Golf Club has changed the hole where Paul hit the tractor trailer on 322. I miss those days.
  15. Got to speak with Brie Berkowitz for an hour on Friday. I have known Brie since she was a young lady. Her mom was our kids' school nurse and a running partner of my wife. Her dad was a XC coach in our county. They have already endeared themselves in the PSTAFXC community, and Brie is an outstanding PV coach for the Lions. Truly a small world!
  16. More to come... 

Friday, August 11, 2023

A Large And Robust Reception

It was a spirited evening of excellent comradery at the Hyatt in a ever changing State College. Building is going on everywhere and everything seems under construction.

A large number of newfound members came, and the core of frequent attendees were more vibrant than ever. 

Raffles were held with the top prize of a really neat metal Nittany Lion decoration made by Olympic silver medallist Mike Shine auctioned off to Sue Miley.

The foursomes were selected according to the arcane Vatican formula overseen by Harry Smith and Clark Haley. 

Lifestream Of Coach's Celebration

I will attempt to Live stream the Coach's Celebration on Saturday from 10:00am to noon on our Facebook Page

Back In State College

Just made it in to the Hyatt. Sprang for a suite on the top floor. Already ran into Tom Shiffer. He must be back from Europe slumming it with us reprobates! Hope I can golf with him.

Remember when the coal burning building was the tallest thing around? My wife once climbed the thing for a view of the whole valley. 

Thursday, August 10, 2023

In Every Life...

We have never had one of our Golf Tourneys canceled due to weather. We have had a few damp rounds, however. One year there was a raging river just a few inches underfoot on the back nine. Quite creepy, actually. My expensive Nike shoe fell apart and I had to move on to Adidas since. Neither company has sponsored me, though.

The weather forecast looks ominous, but I don't trust weathermen. Even if 1/3 of them are fellow Lions.

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