I was fortunate, like so many other track runners, to be coached by a man by the name of Woody Greeno.
Yes, he smoked a pipe to calm himself. And yes, cussing came very naturally for him. And just by being himself, athletes were motivated.
It wasn’t enough to win a meet for Woody. And it wasn’t enough to win the final event, the mile relay, for him. What would bring a rare smile to his face was to win a meet by winning the last event and beating the socks off Doane in that relay.
When I ran on the mile relay and came around the first turn, all I had to do was take a quick look down to the next turn. Woody would be there, not sitting like other coaches in the stands with stopwatches.
I would run down the backstretch holding back a little in reserve, waiting for his command. As I began the final curve, Woody would holler. That was all I needed.
Lots can be said about Coach Greeno, but this is all that needs to be said: Woody was always there.