Rohe Track Era All About Us!



Jimmy Watson

UT Track:  1963-1966, Manager

Military Experience:  USMC; 1967 -1975; Captain; After completing The Basic School at Quantico and Flight School in Pensacola, Jimmy Watson went to Vietnam in November 1969 and flew helicopter missions there for about 13 months. A little more than five years later, on February 18, 1975, Captain Watson and three other Marines were killed in a helicopter crash at Camp Pendleton. The accident apparently occurred during a lead formation flight shift that caused an air collision.

Vietnam:  November 1969 - January 1971, Assigned to NMH-361

MOS, Duties, Duty Stations:  CH-53, Helicopter Pilot; Graduated from Officer’s Candidate School, Quantico, VA; Graduated from The Basic School, Quantico, VA; Graduated from Army Helicopter Training Program; HMH-363, Tustin, CA; HMT 301, Instructor, Tustin, CA

Medals:  National Defense Medal; Vietnam Service Medal; Air Medal

Comments from Obituary:  Funeral arrangements are now complete for Capt. James Lloyd Watson, Jr., a former Clevelander, who was one of four airmen killed Tuesday in El Toro, California, after two large Marine helicopters collided in midair during a training flight near Santa Ana Marine Helicopter Base. Capt. Watson, whose wife, Sue Campbell Watson, is the daughter of the late Walter and Pauline Campbell, was a helicopter instructor at the Marine base. He was a member of Calvary Baptist Church in Santa Ana, California. Interment will be in Sunset Memorial Gardens with full military honors.

Comments Submitted by Sue Watson Ogle (Jimmy’s Widow):  Jimmy had great admiration and respect for Coach Rohe. He reinforced the proper work ethics that Jimmy had been taught by his parents. By working with Coach Rohe as a manager, he learned about the skills of being a good leader and being a team player, all of which are very important to an officer in the Marines. He was chosen to be the pilot for a General in Vietnam because of his ability to relate well to his superiors. The organization skills that were required to be a track manager carried over into his military jobs. Jimmy was very appreciative of the opportunity that Coach gave him to have this wonderful experience during his years at UT. I am sure if Jimmy were here today, he would love to have the opportunity to say “Thank you, Coach Rohe.”


Wayne Whigham (1969-72)

told to: Audry Hardy

Here is another Rohe Era story shared with me by the late Wayne Whigham shortly before he passed in 2013. After one of the SEC Meets in Alabama, a couple of ‘good ole boys’ drove by the motel where the team was staying. They yelled out some 'ugly epitaphs' as they rode by. El Wayne threw a rock at the truck and yelled …come back and say “your peace.” The truck turned around, came back and one of the good ole boys got out of the truck to confront Wayne. Wayne thought “Oh Crap!” However, as the good ole boy was making a racial point with Wayne, one of our shot putters, Tom Stock I believe, walked up and hit this good ole boy between the shoulder blades. Wayne said, "That boy dropped like a sack of potatoes.” There are other stories where Wayne Whigham's, aka El Wayne’s, mouth has gotten him in trouble.

Here is another El Wayne story. I was sitting in El Wayne’s Gibbs Hall room one morning when a couple of huge football coaches came to Wayne’s Room. It seems that Wayne had addressed a member of the dorm mother’s staff (Mrs. Bacon was the dorm mother) with an unflattering word that rhymes with “witch”. The coaches were there to instruct the El Wayne on how Southern ladies should be addressed. As I sat there between Wayne and the coaches, it dawned on me that this was not my battle as it was not a racial issue. I got up and left Wayne sitting on his bed as the Coaches towered over him. Never spoke to Wayne about the outcome of this meeting. However, there is no instance where a lady should be addressed with any word that rhymes with “witch”. As for language, Wayne remained in a learning mode during his Vol experience. As for me I never felt bad for abandoning my teammate. I am sure if the shoe had been on the other foot, he may have done the same....perhaps! What A Day.