Rohe Track Era All About Us!

Compiled by Tom Scott 07/28/2013


Gerry Purdy, 1963-67

I recall that a number of the track team members had this ‘god awful’ idea to go hop a train. I can't remember all of those who did this, but it seems like it was at least four and maybe seven or eight (I'm getting senile, I guess). I remember ‘pieces of it’ but can't remember the details….I ‘think’ the event happened in 1963 or 1964, either spring or fall (but not winter) as it wasn't cold at the start of this ‘adventure.’ I remember that we went to the train yard one evening, ran up and jumped aboard an open box car, and ended up in Paducah, KY. We stayed there, trying to catch a train back, and waited until something like 4 am. On the way back, the train stopped and a watchman came after us. (Were we really stupid or what?). I can't remember how we figured out what train was returning to Knoxville. We got back something like at 7 am to the athletic dorm, and there was Coach (or, he found out about it soon that morning). After chewing us out (“Were you guys trying to get killed?”), he announced that we had to do a lot of stadium steps. I remember I have never been so sore in my life. That's likely just 10 percent of the story. Some guys will remember dates and details that my brain has long forgotten. I'll never forget that it happened, even if I can't remember the details.