Who else but Roger Huffman to rededicate Huffman Track?Roger Huffman’s voice broke a few times, but for the most part, the 80-year-old was his affable, humorous self this afternoon during the rededication of Huffman Track at the Badlands Activities Center.
By: Dustin Monke, The Dickinson Press
Roger Huffman’s voice broke a few times, but for the most part, the 80-year-old was his affable, humorous self Friday during the rededication of Huffman Track at the Badlands Activities Center.
“I’m overwhelmed,” Huffman said as he took the podium at the Dickinson State University Student Center Ballroom.
Huffman spoke and listened to six speakers prior to the Blue Hawk Games track and field meet at the BAC.
The original Huffman Track at Whitney Stadium was dedicated to him in 1987. The rededication, which was supposed to be held at the new stadium, was moved to the Student Center because of high winds.
Still, an estimated 150 people attended the event, which lasted about an hour and was filled with lots of laughter and a few tears.
Following Huffman’s roughly 10-minute speech in which he spoke humorously about maintaining the university’s first track — a cinder and dirt facility west of May Hall — which he called “a huge production,” and his efforts to help build a modern track, he told the group what he thought when he first laid eyes the new track at the BAC.
“When I saw that track, I said the same when I saw Jeanie (his late wife) in the sixth grade. I said ‘Wow!’” Huffman said.
It was a heartfelt moment in an event filled mostly with anecdotes about a man who spent more than 30 years forming DSU’s athletic programs. Huffman coached DSU’s track and field and cross country teams for numerous years and was also the school’s athletic director.
Jerry Schwartz, who ran track and cross country for Huffman in the early 70s, spoke about the four stages of track he learned from his coach — practice, pre-race, race time and post-race.
Schwartz brought about bursts of laughter with his speech, including a moment where he spoke about doing the “whistle run,” which he credited Huffman with inventing and called, “a great workout, pure torture.”
“He knew we would run each other into the ground. He also knew it would develop poise and control,” said Schwartz, who retired from Dickinson High School in 2005 after winning multiple state championships and a national cross country coach of the year award.
DSU track and field coach Pete Stanton closed the rededication by calling Huffman, a man who was never his coach but has been a mentor to him, “an inspiration to me and my career.”
Dickinson Press Sports Editor Dustin Monke is covering the dedication of the Huffman track live today at the Badlands Activities Center.
Check out his Twitter feed at twitter.com/monkebusiness.