Rohe Track Era All About Us!

Compiled by Tom Scott 07/28/2013

Ken Rowlett, 1966 - 1969

I had been at UT for less than a week, and the cross country team was training in the mountains near Gatlinburg. One day Roy Hall and another fisherman/runner caught some trout in the stream next to our cabin. The fish were stored in the fridge on a screened-in back porch. In the wee hours of the night we were awakened by noises that sounded like our cabin was under construction. There was banging and pounding and hollering like I'd never heard before. I flipped the lights on to see Roy Hall standing on top of something, maybe his bed. He held something like a stick or possibly his spinning rod as if ready to fight. He was shaking like aspen leaves in a storm. I asked what was going on, and he could barely speak. "A b-b-b-bear" and "p-p-porch" is all I could interpret. I looked out to see a Black bear with its front paws on top of the fridge, door open and the last few egg shells scattered around. We had been raided thanks to the odor of trout, and the bear went on his way amidst all of the commotion. Blackie was about 7' tall. It took a while for guys to settle down and go back to bed. What an experience! I already had something to write home about.


Ken Rowlett, about 1969

One of Coach Rohe's favorite sayings was, “Rome wasn't built in a day.” It was in the fall cross country season, and our workout was 40 x 440 in 68 seconds with a 110 jog between. This was the day before a meet with Virginia Tech on Cherokee Blvd. After 30 reps, and having led every lap, I walked off the track at the 330 mark, totally pooped. As cross country captain, I had put in 120 miles in the last six days, and enough was enough. After workout, Sam Rutherford and I were heading down to the training table for chow when the elevator stopped on the first floor. There stood Coach Rohe, and he lit into me for being a bad example by leaving workout early. I said. “Rome wasn't built in a day, Coach,” and the elevator doors closed. The look on his face was priceless, and Sam and I still love that moment today. The next day, I set a course record for five miles and we took the first five places against a team that beat us the week before. Sweet victory UT style!

Running Underground in UT Tunnels

Ken Rowlett

Sam Rutherford and I became curious one winter [around 1968 or 1969] about the steam rising out of "manholes" and decided to explore. We lifted the steel cover and climbed down a ladder to a fully lit maze of tunnels. It was warm as summertime, so we did some mini workouts, 200 repeats, occasionally. The tunnels were 8-10' wide and 8' tall. We ran all over campus and when we came to a cover we guessed where we would surface. What a blast! We climbed out and took off running. You should've seen the expression on other students faces!