OUR THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS ARE WITH RICK MEINDL Rick was
the first three time All-American at C. U. and coached there for many years. Sadly,
he has had a lot of health problems and now is in hospice. Cards can be sent to
Heartland of Dublin, 4075 W. Dublin Granville Rd, Dublin, OH 43017.
WE DON’T KNOW WHAT TO SAY ABOUT THIS FALL Not long ago
there was a lot of hope but now more and more colleges are cancelling their fall
sports, including cross-country. Wittenberg and the NCAC will not have any
intercollegiate sports through December 31st. Capital is still talking about having
students on campus. We are not sure about their sports season this fall. This
virus has been especially hard to deal with. Whatever happens, Capital will not
be the Crusaders. It was announced this past week that CU is retiring the crusader
mascot and the cruasader name. This past spring, Pastor Hout chatted with the
Capital track and xc coach and she feels very badly for what the athletes have lost.
Poor Capital shot putter Josh Miller. He was especially hit hard by all of this.
He was on a roll and ready to make indoor All-American when they cancelled the
indoor nationals moments before he was to compete. He was the OAC field event
athlete of the year after winning the indoor shot and weight throw. Congratulations
to him and also Emily Hilt who won the all-Ohio Pentathlon. It seems like just a
short time ago when we had a great alumni meet with lots of wonderful memories
shared at the beautiful Capital indoor track oval. How terrific it was to see so many
old running friends gathered together. There are lots of new athletes on the Cap
team and Pastor Hout gave them a break by not competing this year. He still
walked 5 miles and unicycled a half mile during the alumni meet. He also blew
up a lot of purple and white balloons to add to all the festivities.
GO CAPITAL CROSS COUNTRY Good old C.U.X.C. gave their all at the OAC
championships this past fall. They should get the most improved school award as
they moved up several spots on the OAC ladder. Go Crusaders!!!
THIEL COLLEGE WAS FEATURED IN A COCA COLA COMMERCIAL
You may have seen this advertisement during football games last fall. It was played
quite often. “Support your team” they say even after a big loss is flashed on the
scoreboard (60-3). They are a small Lutheran college in northern Pennsylvania. A
few years ago they dedicated their new stadium and guess who the first football game
there was against? It was against Capital!!!
40TH ANNIVERSARY REUNION OF THE CAPITAL CROSS COUNTRY
team was held recently. What a special time it was for the pride of the purple
harriers. Let’s not wait another 40 years to get together again!!!
NOTES FROM LAST YEAR’S CROSS COUNTRY ALUMNI MEET
-Aaron Folsom was never #1 on his high school xc team
-a number of times the CU xc team could go to meets in one car
-former UC coach Bill Schnier may be the only CU xc person to see Steve Prefontaine run
-Mike Hout competed against Pre’s teammate in the Florida relays
-Ted Rust met his wife at the Boston marathon
-Folsom made all OAC in xc running barefoot
-a number of Cap xc people have coached xc teams to the state meet and two have
coached college teams to national championships
-OWU used to time it to have xc meets finish at halftime of football games
-Kenyon had a train run through their xc course and stop half the runners
-the 1970’s xc team had a good intramural basketball team that beat a lot of other
teams in the campus league
Have you seen the 1974 XC Christmas card? It is a photo with Santa
and the distance team from Capital. What a great photo with
smiling runners and a surprised Santa. The guys ran the three miles down
to Lazarus on High Street (in Columbus, Ohio) to get the iconic picture then
ran back laughing all the way. What a classic!!!
GIVING THANKS FOR GREAT CAPITAL TRACK TRIVIA
from Mike Hout
With OSU football playing for the Big Ten title this weekend, I remember Archie
Griffin (football’s only 2 time Heisman winner) and give thanks for his friendship.
He often stopped by the outdoor CU track to run and play with his son.
I give thanks for a kind and generous Jesse Owens who not only trained with the
CU long jump record holder (Red Trego) at OSU but also gave us a nice autograph
just months before he died: “To Coach Hout and the track men of Capital University.”
I give thanks for a visit from the greatest athlete to ever step on the CU campus: Edwin
Moses (multiple WR setter, gold winner and over 100 races without a defeat). He was
here in connection with Black History month. He ate with us and give a nice speech
How wonderful to be able to tell George Troutman stories, the only athlete from CU
to ever beat an Olympic gold medal winner (Al Oerter). That was at the Penn Relays.
He had a driver who then took him to the Drake relays the same weekend. George
ended the season #10 in the nation for all divisions in the shot put.
Year after year we hear about another Madden football video game. I give thanks for
this so we can remind everyone that not one but two Capital track athletes were
picked ahead of him in the NFL draft (George Troutman and Ken Pleger).
Former 880 record holder and University of Cincinnati track/xc Bill Schnier is in
at least five halls of fame. He may be the only CU track person to ever see Steve
Prefontaine run in person (although Hout competed in a decathlon with Pre’s
teammate at the Florida Relays).
I give thanks for our 4 by 880 relay team that won the Kentucky Relays back in
the late 60’s. Schnier was on that team along with Bob Peck, Charlie Hunsaker
and Rick Mettle.
Everybody hears about three time All-American Rick Meindl and he deserves all
the credit he gets. But CU had the greatest three person shot put relay team the
OAC has ever seen. I give thanks, also, for the great (and often overlooked) work
of Joe Schleppi and Dan Maloney.
Consider this……CU and Akron had a home and home series of dual meets in the
1960’s. Many of our home track field records are held by Akron athletes.
I give thanks for bare feet because that reminds me of Aaron Folsom winning the
OAC in the three mile (barefoot on a hot track) in a conference record that stood
The above sheet was handed out at the 2018 Alumni meet at good old CU (Many
thanks go to Hannah Weiss and her staff for putting on another great alumni meet).
Some did not seem interested. Some wondered why it was all stuff from the “Mike
Hout era” (like I was there 50 years). I wondered why others were not writing things
down and telling their stories!!! The good news is that the sheet did spark some good
conversation. Here are some things I found out:
-Big congrats go to Jeff Jenkins who brought his old jersey in a frame. This is what he
wore when Capital won its only OAC championship in track and field.
-Jim Demo coached some great teams at Glenville High School. He was at the alumni
meet and reported that he also saw Pre. Jim was there for the famous 1972 Olympic
Trials race. He said it was “electric.”
-It was good to see the A.D present (Roger Ingles). He told me about a professor at
Capital who ran in the Penn Relays and wrote a book about Olympic runner Abel
Kiviat. His name is Alan Katchen. I look forward to finding out more about him.
-Curtis Pride is the first deaf person to hit a home run in the majors. His father John
Pride was a top 100/200 runner for Capital and was at the meet. John says his son
is now working for Major League Baseball as “Ambassador for Inclusion.” His
parents were both thrilled to see images and videos of their son on Google.
-Bill Schnier says he is not in five halls fame. I say he is. He did run a solid 600
which was quite impressive for a 74 year old. “Did anyone not lap me?” he asked.
“Well, I didn’t have a good look at the whole race” I said. “They all lapped me,
didn’t they?” he said. “Yes” I sheepishly said,” but I wish I could run like you and
we are all proud of your effort.”
-Schnier also told the story of the construction of I70 and the day they all ran down
the four lanes to downtown Columbus (before the cars hit the highway). Interestingly
enough, I told him about how, years later, the xc team trained on the entry ramp to
I70 after it was constructed but still had a “no entry” sign at the bottom.
-It was great to see some pole vaulters for Capital. Two guys were giving it their
best but sadly there still are not any female vaulters. Hout was impressed with all
the purple tape used on their poles.
-Speaking of tape, it was really cool to see the tape used to separate the throwing and
jumping areas. It was purple with Capital track logos on it!!!
-Sadly, Joe Schleppi has still not heard anything from the hall of fame committee. I am
convinced he should be in there.
-Rick Meindl has lost a lot of weight and I think we need to keep him in our prayers.
-Hout walked a bunch around the track after the meet. The three miles he got in that
night brought him to over 2000 miles for the year. He was impressed with the workout
being done by 800 record holder and winner of the 600 that night-Benjamin Herbert. He
was there running hard 400’s longer than Hout was walking.
GEORGE TROUTMAN MEMORIES
from Mike Hout
Amazingly, I only had three full seasons with Coach Troutman.....but they provided a lifetime of memories.
I can vaguely remember meeting him when I was a senior at indoor meets at Ohio State. He was always on the move and had lots of people to contact. I also saw him at the Gahanna Lincoln relays and, once again, only got to speak to him for a couple of minutes but it left an impression. There was also a recruiting visit he organized for a number of really good athletes thinking about going to Capital. They were all much better than me and I wondered what I was doing there. We had a meeting with the current captain, Randy Pfeiffer, and I was in awe of his awards and his speed. While he spoke to us, he sat on the edge of an old oak table. Years later, when I was head coach, I sanded that table and stained it. It became my coaches desk. What a solid piece of furniture and it could hold a lot of items in the drawers. I loved having it there and using it with all the memories I had of that recruiting visit with Coach Troutman, Randy Pfeiffer and the old stadium.
First year at Capital:
Once again, the old stadium played a big part in a meeting. Coach Troutman called all the track people together in the fall and we met in the locker room under the stands. At the time, I did not quite understand what the meeting was for but he kept asking us about our grades and telling us to stay focused. All I knew was that the state champion hurdler from Canal Winchester was there and other good athletes that made me wonder how I was even going to make the team.
Indoor practices were held at the old Alumni Gym but most of our work was outside in the cold. If it weren’t for indoor meets at Ashland and Ohio State and Denison, I don’t know if I would have gotten many opportunities to hurdle or high jump.
There were a few times we were allowed to practice at the Ohio State indoor oval. That was always a big treat. I did not have a ride one time so Coach Troutman gave me a lift back to campus. He was imposing and I was scared to say anything to him. So, when we got on the highway from the wrong exit and started traveling the wrong direction I did not know what to say. Finally, I came up with a plan that makes me laugh to this day. “Coach,” I said, “why are all the signs backwards.” He immediately turned around and got us going the right way and I breathed a sigh of relief that he wasn’t mad at me.
On the way back from an indoor meet at Ashland we stopped for something to eat. Right away we all knew who were the most important athletes. The throwers always got more money than the skinny runners and jumpers. “They need more food because they are bigger” we always heard. There was some talk going around about Coach being on a diet. I didn’t know anything about diets back then but I was humored when he ordered a salad and what came out was the biggest thing I had ever seen.
Sometimes it was hard to see Coach Troutman ever get excited. But when Joe Dobos won the indoor championship in the high hurdles on that clay track at Denison, Coach was ecstatic. My dream was to somehow see him get that excited about me.
I don’t know what happened to me after that. I think I just lost focus and wondered what I was doing in life. My attendance at practices became sporatic and I just stopped going after a while. To this day I am stunned to think I quit the outdoor track team my freshman year. It is a regret that still haunts me.
My Second Year at Capital:
I gained a lot of weight that summer working as a salad man for L&K restaurant in Delaware. I was stunned to see the scales when I got back to college so I started getting more active again. I mostly worked on my own but I do remember going the the Columbus Campus gym (the old Columbus Academy High School) one day and seeing Coach Troutman running around that gym. He was putting a lot of effort into it. When he was done he was really sweating but he stopped by me and made some comment about how good it felt to run and how he should do it more often.
I played a lot of indoor basketball that year and jumped like crazy. Between that and losing weight, I found I had a lot of spring in my step. I was thrilled to jump well that indoor season and hurdle a little better. Our team was not as strong in the running events with a number of great runners graduating, so when the indoor OAC championships came around at Denison, I was the only one to qualify for the finals. This was a significant thing because this meant I had to stay around and eat on campus before the finals. With everyone else gone, Coach Troutman had to stay with me and we passed the time telling stories. Coach was a champion story teller and had me laughing about all the chairs he had broken in his life, including one he broke on the first date with his wife. He told me all about the San Francisco 49er football team and how he made second string but hated the lifestyle and came back home. He even shared how he was once very interested in seminary but was not impressed with some of the students and how they lived their lives.
When the subject of track and field came around I found out some amazing things like how he went to both the Penn Relays and the Drake Relays in the same year (he had a driver who took him to both meets). How he felt like he did poorly but he did beat one guy who was doing even worse in the discus at Penn - Al Oerter, the reigning Olympic gold medalist. How he followed the Ohio State thrower (Marshal) and always dreamed of beating him and finally had a competition with him after the season and, indeed, won on his final throw. How he got his coach so mad once that Troutman was left at the Muskingum meet and made him figure out on his own how to get home. (He said he was just hungry. Food always got him in a lot of trouble). He also had a great discus throwing story from Penn Relays about a former world record holder (Fortune Gordien) throwing his discus in the stands on purpose, because the spectators were too close to the discus area. ”He warned them,” Coach said.
I did go about my business and made some solid improvement in a number of areas. At the end of the year I heard about a decathlon competition to be held at Ashland. That was my dream so I entered and got trounced. Yet, it was what I always dreamed of so I immediately began studying the event and training full time to improve my score.
Third Year at Capital:
My third year at Capital with Coach Troutman was the exact opposite of my first year. I was motivated. I was focused. I was dreaming of big things. The decathlon consumed me and Coach somehow got me into a decathlon at the University of Tennessee. It was the Dogwood Relays, a fine event with national caliber competitors in a number of areas. I was thrilled to death. I was also quite nervous, for good reason. I was not up to that kind of competition. Yet, I went and gave it my best...scoring in everything but not having any giant marks except in the last event. I came around the last lap in the 1500 and found myself leading the competition. Then I heard a voice over the loudspeaker say “Here comes Mike Hout from Capital University. Let’s give him a round of applause.” This was so exciting because just minutes before the announcer was talking about Doug Brown setting an American record in the 6 mile run and the crowd was cheering for him. Of course, it was a little late to be scoring big points in the decathlon, still it was nice to win an event at this prestigious meet. I remember telling Coach Troutman about the whole event and him smiling and nodding. “Sounds like you had a good time” he said. He was right.
Coach Bob Mehl worked with the runners and would often whistle to let us know where we were on splits and training intervals. When Coach Mehl was not there, Coach Troutman would take his place except he could not whistle like Mehl. But he could yell. Ted Rust has lots of great memories of his yell and even once preached a sermon on it. When we needed to hear our splits, Coach Troutman would say “Wee-Ohh”.
Early in the outdoor season we went to a meet at Cedarville that would touch me the rest of my life. I say that not because I ran a big personal record in the high hurdles or because of anything like that. I say this because we had to stop the meet and go into a basement on campus while a tornado came through. We could see the funnel coming our way across the field. It turns out that it was the famous Xenia tornado of 1974 and what we saw was the destruction of that town. When we came out of the basement, we saw the roof of a dorm torn off and a number of telephone poles snapped like toothpicks. There were not many things that shook Coach Troutman up but this seemed to be one of them.
Once during practice, a number of athletes were trying to get the goalpost out of the ground so the baseball team could play on the infield (that was where they used to play all their home games). There was a long struggle and finally Coach Troutman walked over and told all the guys to get on one side of the goalpost. Then he went to the other side of the goalpost, by himself, and yelled “pull”. It came right out.
I was also a witness to the recruitment of a local shot-putter who would make a big name for himself at Capital. I am talking about Rick Meindl. It was great to watch him toss his shot out of the cinder space of our throwing area and into the grass. He even had a few of his tosses hit the side of the Alumni Gym building. When he was gone, Coach Troutman got out his tape and measured some of his throws. We were all stunned at what this kid could do, even as a high school senior.
I had a great decathlon at the end of the season up at Akron and finished third. It was the mid-west something or other but all I knew was I got myself a medal. I did not get many medals in my career and I was excited to get that little thing. They later announced that my score was good enough to qualify for the nationals at Eastern Illinois in Charleston. I was pretty excited and I remember not being able to sleep much the night before we left so I was a pretty poor companion for Coach on the drive there. I think I slept almost the entire way. But I do remember a couple of good conversations with him about the event I was consumed with. “I could have run a good decathlon” he told me during the ride. What about the hurdles? ”I could get over them and even knock them down.” What about the high jump? ”I have strong legs. I can jump better than you think.” What about the 1500? “That’s a long way but I could have made it.” What about the pole vault? “I might have to work on that one.”
In a quiet moment of candor, he thought through all that I had done and how much I had studied the decathlon. “You know, Hout, you would be a better track coach than me.” That was not true but it was very kind. At the nationals, Coach gave me an entry sheet which showed I had the sixth best score coming into the meet. I immediately started to tighten up thinking about how I could keep that ranking and make All-American (the top six would be named All-American). Looking back on it all, I have to give Coach Troutman credit for trying to keep me loose and relaxed to get through the competition.
Part way through the meet, Coach came over to me smiling and I could tell he had a story for me. He said “a guy over there just recognized me from my days of throwing the shot. Can you believe after all these years he recognized me?” He seemed quite pleased to be remembered which made me smile. Now I understand it all much better.
The Division III nationals were run with the Division II nationals and we had to wait a long time for the pole vaulters in Division II to finish. Consequently, we did not start the 1500 until it was dark. After the run, I found out I finished sixth overall and still clearly remember the hug I got from the Mount Union quarterback who also made All-American. “We made it,” he said. Coach Troutman also seemed happy. He kept looking at me in a funny way. Later, while I was in the locker room showering, he said “You are my first All-American.” Sadly, I was his only All-American. A few years later his star recruit Rick Meindl would make All-American a number of times. I wish he could have been there for that.
On the way back from the meet we stopped for some dinner. I was always very careful about what to order and he usually gave me a limit on how much I should spend. When I asked him “What can I order?” his response was “Whatever you want!!!”
That fall I was riding my bike around campus with the nice t-shirt Coach Troutman got me from the nationals meet. I rode by football practice and saw him on the field with the other athletes. He walked right over and talked with me. It made me feel good to know he would stop to chat with me. He made me feel like I was somebody special. This was the last time I saw him. Just a few weeks later I heard he had a heart attack and died. I could not even bring myself to go to the funeral.
SOME OTHER ASSORTED TROUTMAN MEMORIES
I often thought of our relationship as similar to that of UCLA basketball
greats Bill Walton and John Wooden. I was a little too much on the long
hair and unshaved mustache look for him.
After a conversation with the Denison coach, George came over to me one
day and said “Why don’t you just concentrate on the 440 hurdles. You could maybe one day be OAC champ.”
He was the only Capital coach to watch me run a decathlon.
He wanted to help me so much but I was used to being quite independent
at these meets. I will always remember him asking me over and over “Do
you need a towel?”
When competing in the shot, be sure to throw your hips to the sky.
When I was competing I would look over the surroundings and throw for
the low spots.
We were on spring break one year and the dorms closed right before the
Heidelberg dual meet. We ended up sleeping in the trailer in the
He told me about the one summer he painted house numbers on curbs.
They would charge a dollar for each job.
Family members and friends loved his strength because he was always
able to help them move. “Hout, I have moved a LOT of people.”
Amazingly, he never did believe in lifting weights