Rohe Track Era All About Us!

Compiled by Tom Scott 07/28/2013


Dave Jensen, 1970-71

I came to Tennessee initially as a football player; ACL surgery on my left knee curtailed those efforts. Coach Rohe, however, was a name known to me, as it should be remembered that he was, in addition to his track duties, also the head football recruiter. The 1969 NCAA Track & Field Championships were at Tennessee & I met a guy there from West Point named Dale Frederick - a hammer thrower. He had started out at The Academy as a Football player and because of injury had taken up The Hammer. I was impressed with his attitude and enthusiasm for throwing. I remember going to Coach Rohe and asking him if I could begin practicing this event at the track. Ken Garvey had completed his eligibility and was, to my knowledge, the first hammer thrower at UT. Coach said, “Go right ahead,” and told me that Coach Polhemus would be my weight coach for the event. Coach Polhemus worked hard with all of the weight men on the team and certainly spent a considerable amount of time helping me learn this event.

I found out after throwing that next season that since Tennessee was winning the SEC indoors and outdoors every year, and no other schools except Kentucky had a thrower, there was little chance that Coach Rohe would be successful in getting the hammer added to SEC Track competition. Coach Rohe, however, continued to be supportive and not only allowed me to continue, but also let me compete as an individual, indoors, with the 35 lb weight and outdoors with the hammer, traveling to a number of great meets. Coach’s influence continued to the summers where I and a number of other athletes worked for him virtually all summer in “The All Sports Camp.” Coach Rohe is everything that all of you have said - and certainly his lessons of life and the remarkable discipline that he taught have served me well all these years. Thank you, Coach!