Rohe Track Era All About Us!

Compiled by Tom Scott 07/28/2013

STORIES ABOUT THE RAILROAD TRESTLE OVER LAKE LOUDON:

Coppley Vickers, 1963-65

The only time I ever short cut a workout was one of our morning Cherokee Bluff runs. I got started late and was going to be late for something. I had heard about several who would cut the run short by walking across the railroad trestle over the river. Well, I started across the trestle and got about half way across when a train started across from the opposite side. I climbed under the trestle, hung on until the train went over me, then got back on the track and made it across. First and last time on the trestle for me! Did not know anyone knew about my trestle encounter until we were on the paddle boat riding down river at the last reunion. Coach Rohe was sitting near me . He looked up at the trestle as we went under it and said : "Vick isn't that your trestle that you got caught in the middle by a train.?"


SEMPER FI:

Coppley Vickers, 1963-65

I think we had five or six of our team mates/coaches who were Marines. To them, I say Semper Fi. At that time there were only two kinds of Marines...those who had been to Viet Nam and those who were going to Viet Nam. I have no idea how many of us served in the other services, but I suspect there were quite a few. I saw that Gaylord was a fighter pilot. My Viet Nam experiences were nothing compared to Bob Barber and Denis Flood. My most interesting experience was living by myself (part of the time I had a radioman with me) for two months as a forward observer with a Montagnard tribe on a mountain top overlooking the entrance to the Ho Che Ming trail. Denis's story and his journey to become a member of the UT track team are unbelievable.

Denis and I ran together at Quantico briefly after he spent six months or more recovering and rehabilitating from life threatening wounds inflicted on him in Viet Nam. I was just getting out of the Marines at that time. I called Coach and told him there was a young Marine who ran the 880 at Quantico that he should check out. (I may have said something about Denis having the benefit of the G.I. Bill). The rest was history. Denis has written two semi fictional books: The Midnight Mile, the unforgettable story of a battlefield death that brought a town back to life; and The Quantico Marines....”as war rages on U.S. Marines are ordered not to fight, but to run.” Denis donates all proceeds from the books to The Wounded Warrior Fund.


TOUGH WORKOUTS:

Coppley Vickers, 1963-1965

We had some tough 40 x 440 workouts with a timed one-minute rest interval. It was one of my favorite workouts. The best 40 x440 interval with a timed one-minute rest workout I ever did was on the cinder track in the stadium [about 1964 or 1965]. I averaged 65.5 and ran the last one in 61. What a day!

I vividly remember the first Rohe workout I had [as a freshman at Furman in 1960]. In high school [at Knoxville Fulton] about the toughest workout we did was 6 passing quarters after we had warmed up with a 2-mile jog. Coach Rohe took us out on the divided highway going to Spartanburg. He told us to run back on the median 10 miles and average 6 minutes per mile. He would be waiting on us at each mile giving us our times and “encouraging” us to pick it up . I remember thinking to myself, “Oh, my goodness, what have I gotten myself into?” When he left Furman for UT, I missed that “encouragement” so much that I transferred to UT my junior year. When I ran in the Marine Corps, they thought I was making up some of the workouts that we did at UT. Coach Rohe made a major impact on my life journey. He planted the seed that I should go to Law School. And he planted in my mind his life philosophy, “What a Day.” I love him and have a major debt of gratitude to him.


STORIES ABOUT THE RAILROAD TRESTLE OVER LAKE LOUDON:

Coppley Vickers, 1963-65

The only time I ever short cut a workout was one of our morning Cherokee Bluff runs. I got started late and was going to be late for something. I had heard about several who would cut the run short by walking across the railroad trestle over the river. Well, I started across the trestle and got about half way across when a train started across from the opposite side. I climbed under the trestle, hung on until the train went over me, then got back on the track and made it across. First and last time on the trestle for me! Did not know anyone knew about my trestle encounter until we were on the paddle boat riding down river at the last reunion. Coach Rohe was sitting near me . He looked up at the trestle as we went under it and said : "Vick isn't that your trestle that you got caught in the middle by a train.?"


COLD WEATHER STORIES:

Coppley Vickers, 1963-65

Cross Country meet 1964) in Chicago in a downtown park beside Lake Michigan, sub-zero spitting sleet and snow. Jim Dupree (half miler) had just returned from a meet in Russia. He had one of those Russian hats on with fur ear flaps on top of the cap. He had grown a full beard. There were ice icicles hanging from his beard. Boy, did he look fierce. Coach devised wind breakers out of tin foil that we sculpted, covering our chest; and we put the tin foil between our long sleeve jersey and our sleeveless UT running jersey to break the wind. All I remember about the race was how cold it was, and I came away with a clear understanding why Chicago was known as the Windy City.


CROSS COUNTRY TRAINING AT SPENCE’S CABIN:

Coppley Vickers, 1963-65

I just had a surprise birthday party for my 70th this past year at the Spence Cabin. In 1964, I think, Coach arranged for the XC team ( Bob Redington. Dave Storey, Roy Hall, Melvin Maxwell and Rocky,Mickey, and Don Pinkston ( I cannot remember for sure—it has only been about 50 years) to stay in the Faust Cabin across from the Spence cabin for a week. The scariest animals we saw were a couple of squirrels and a chipmunk or two. We then ran to Pigeon Forge (going through the dark tunnels was a little scary ...actually downright dumb) and stayed for a week at my uncle's cabin on the “Gatlinburg” golf course in Pigeon Forge. While at the Faust Cabin, one of our workouts was about 6 miles down to the Sinks and back. Of course, we jumped off the cliff into the deep pool at the sinks and swam for awhile. I can tell you without a doubt that I enjoyed running around the golf course much more than in the mountains. I think one of the worst/most painful/toughest XC workouts I can remember was running 7 miles all downhill from Elkmont to Gatlinburg. It was pure joy turning around and heading back up hill to Elkmont.