Rohe Track Era All About Us!

Compiled by Tom Scott 03/14/2014 


Jerry Wrinkle (former Knoxville Fulton High School track coach and co-founder of Knoxville Track Club — the KTC held its organizational meeting on his front porch)

Soon after Chuck became the track coach at UT, he was still director of a summer camp located in North Carolina near Brevard. He invited Charlie Durham, me, and a couple of other guys to spend a weekend at the camp. Chuck was busy during the day on Saturday, so we spent the afternoon playing the par three golf course there at the camp.

That evening, after his camp responsibilities were finished for the day, Chuck suggested we go to a night club he knew of in or near Asheville. Arriving at the club at around 9:30 P.M., we were told that the club was full. There was a pretty steep cover charge, if I remember correctly.

Never to be outdone, Chuck Rohe magically transformed himself into the player personnel director for the Atlanta Falcons of the NFL. Wow! What a change! We were invited into the club like VIPs with no cover charge. Rohe could talk a guy out of his shirt.

Fortunately, there were no real Atlanta Falcons personnel in the club, so we had a great time. I sure was glad they didn’t ask Durham and me what our jobs were with the Atlanta Falcons.

Another story has to do with the shoe business. One evening after a late night working with Chuck in his office, Charlie Durham, Chuck, and I were going to stop for a beer before heading home. This must have been about the time the athletic type shoes were becoming so popular. Chuck’s friend Jimmy Carnes, the track coach at Florida, must have mentioned to Chuck that he was considering getting into the shoe business on the side.

In the course of the conversation, Chuck, being one with an entrepreneurial spirit, seemed to think WE might want to get in the shoe business on the side. The wheels were already turning in that man’s brain. The comment I recall was: “We could just sell the shoes out of the trunks of our cars.” This guy could sell sun tan oil to an Eskimo.

Now can’t you just see our friend Rohe at the SEC Track Championships in the parking lot, trunk lid up, preaching the benefits of buying his shoes? The truth is that Chuck would delegate the shoe selling to Durham and me in the parking lot while he was winning another SEC Championship. Fortunately, there wasn’t a positive response to the shoe idea, so the proposition fell by the wayside. On second thought, maybe Chuck already had a trunk full of shoes. We’ll probably never know.