Tom Ecker was raised in Waverly, Iowa and graduated from high school in 1953. He participated in many activities in high school. Tom lettered in football, basketball, and track. It was Track and Field where he excelled. He first qualified for the state meet as a sophomore in the high and low hurdles. During his junior year, he broke a small bone in his foot competing in the high jump during the district meet. In spite of this he still won his first title winning the low hurdles. He suffered another leg injury his senior year during the second game of the football season that would keep him from completing the season and he missed the entire basketball season. Tom recovered in time to compete in the State Indoor meet in Iowa City.
He won four Indoor State Titles. He won the 60-yard high hurdles, the low hurdles, the long jump and the high jump, setting state records in all four events. During his Season outdoor season Tom failed to win the four events only three times, twice in the high jump and once in the long jump. Tom was the first athlete from Waverly High School to compete in the Drake Relays. He won both the high hurdles with a time of 15.5 in the rain and the long jump with a jump of 20′ 5″, which is not a bad jump considering the weather conditions. In his final State Outdoor meet he won the high hurdles in 15.0, the low hurdles in 20.5 and the long jump in 21′ 9.5″. He finished second in the high jump. During his career, Tom won eight titles.
Tom excelled in other areas besides athletics, in high school. He wrote and performed on a weekly comedy radio show on Wartburg’s KWAR-FM. He was also selected as the outstanding performer in a state one-act play competition held in Iowa City.
After graduation Tom enrolled at the University of Iowa. He competed in Track & Filed and won the Big Ten Indoor 600 yd title his senior year. He also ran on several relay teams that won titles at both the Kansas and Drake Relays. Tom became a teacher and a coach in Kentucky following his graduation from Iowa. After three successful years at Elizabethtown, he was named the Head Track Coach at Western Kentucky University. During his tenure, the Hilltoppers won their first conference title, going from last to first. He became a regular lecture at many clinics around the country. He also started his writing career, during which he as authored or co-authored fourteen books. He is best known for his work in the area of biomechanics.
In 1966, Tom was named the coach of the Swedish National team and prepared the m for the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City. He has delivered lectures at the 1968, 1972, and 1976 Olympics. He also was a consultant in 1980 and 1984 Olympics. He was the only American presenter at the International Coaches Association meetings at the Olympic Academy in Olympia, Greece in 1986. Tom spent 26 years as an administrator in the Cedar Rapids School System. He now spends his retirement giving lectures on the Olympics on cruise ships. He continues to create word puzzles for major papers around the world. His most popular puzzle, called Wuzzles, is syndicated by King Features, and seen by some 6 ½ million people every day.
Bob Ehrhart earned all-state honors as a quarterback in football and in track as a pole vaulter while a student at Naperville High School, Naperville, Illinois. As a collegian, he was a four-time Big Ten Pole Vault Champion at Northwestern University and he shared the Drake Relays title in that event with three other vaulters in 1954. B
ob entered the collegiate coaching profession in 1960 and led his 1965 Northwestern cross country team to the Big Ten title and second in the National Meet. The year 1969 was a blessing for Drake University as Bob Ehrhart became the Track and Cross Country coach at this University. Under Ehrhart’s direction Drake Track & Field and Cross Country teams have won nine Missouri Valley Conference championships, which include 6 in indoor track, 2 in Cross Country, and 1 in Outdoor Track. Bob has coached 23 All-Americans, 12 at Northwestern and 11 at Drake, including 1970 NCAA decathlon c hampion Rick Wanamaker and standout sprinter Kevin Little , a 2 time All-American. Ehrhart has served as a coach for the United States Track Team which competed in the 1989 World Cup Track championships in Barcelona, Spain, and the U.S. Track Team which competed against England in a dual at Birmingham, England in 1985.
In 1981, Ehrhart was elected first vice-president of the United States Track Coaches Association and concluded a two-year term as president of that organization in 1985. This individual has served as referee at a number of major track and field meets across the nation, including the Big Ten Conference Indoor and Outdoor Track and Field championships, the Big Ten Conference Cross Country meets, as well as the 1988 NCAA National Cross Country championships. Prior to July of 1992, Bob Ehrhart was head Men’s and Women’s Track & Field and Cross Country coach as well as the Relays’ Director at Drake University.
After coaching 31 years in college, Bob Ehrhart became the first director to serve solely on a full time basis for the operation of the Drake Relays while Gary Osborn became the Head track and field coach for both men’s and women’s track and field programs. Bob is in his 24th year at Drake, the longest tenure of any head coach or relays director in Drake history and he has fulfilled his duties with distinction. Serving as meet director for the Drake Relays operation is a full time, year around jog that requires travel, diplomacy, and a first name friendship with almost every collegiate track coach in the country. The annual success of the relays is often dependent upon this director’s ability to attract the current top stars from around the country to make this a state and national event. Bob and his wife, Marlene, are the parents of four children.
“Oh yeah, who is that”? Coach replied.
Jim earned varsity letters in track and cross country all 4 years at Illinois while earning his Bachelors Degree in Chemical Engineering. He was honored as a Cross Country All American in 1978, ran on 2 Big 10 Champion track and field teams, finished 7th in the 2 mile at the 1978 NCAA Indoor and ran on the winning 4 mile relay team at the 1977 Drake Relays. He had collegiate bests of 29:06 for 10K, 14:06 for 5K, 3:46 for 1500 meters, 8:40 for 2 miles and 4:03 for the mile.
Jim went on to earn his Masters Degree in Business Administration in 1993 at SMU.
Jim now lives in Bradenton, Florida where he holds the position of Vice President of Global Concentrate Juice Procurement for Pepsico.
Davis Eidahl, was born in Iowa City, Iowa, and graduated from Newton High School in 1959. During his high school career he participated in basketball and track. He earned All-Conference honors in basketball. He qualified for the State Track meet two years and played in the State Basketball Tournament.
After graduation Davis attended Central College and participated in basketball, track and cross country. He was four year letter winner in basketball, track and cross country. He also serve as the captain in all three sports. He set the freshman scoring record in basketball and his team played in the Division III playoff three years.
Davis graduated from Central in 1963 with a Bachelors Degree. He later earned a Masters Degree from Liberty University in Lynnchburg, VA. Davis started his career at Anita High School in Anita, Iowa in 1963. He has spent the last 37 years at Pekin High School in Packwood, Iowa. Davis’s accomplishments as a track and cross country coach are magnificent. He is also a very successful competitor even today.
He coaches both the boys and girls cross country teams and here are some of his accomplishments. He has won five State Championships (3 for the boys, and 2 for the girls). His teams have won a combined total of 32 conference and 5 district championships. Davis has had two boys win Individual State Championships. His track teams have won 26 Conference Championships, 7 District Championships and 2 State Championships. Davis has coached three Drake Relays Champions as well. Some of his individual accomplishments as a competitor include, 316 Individual Race Walk wins, 39 State Race Walk Championships, National Junior 50K Walk Champion and an Olympic Trials qualifier in 1972. Davis has been honored by several groups for his career achievements. These include being named Regional Coach of the Year seven times for Cross Country and five times for Track, State Coach of the Year in Cross Country twice by the IATC, Regional National Coach of the Year in Cross Country in 1989 and 1995, by the National High School Coaches Association, and Iowa Outstanding Race Walker 9 times.
Davis has been active with AAU track and field. He has taken athletes to several Region 7 meets. He has won 29 State and TAC championships, as well as 12 State Pentathlon and Decathlon Championships. Davis has given of his time in other areas as well. He has been a member of the state advisory Track Committee and currently serves on the Cross Country Advisory Committee. He has hosted several district meets in both track and cross country. Davis has been a lecturer at numerous clinics throughout the region. He is the founder of the IATC State Cross Country Team Rankings. Mr. Davis Eidahl inductee to the Iowa Association of Track and Cross Country Coaches Hall of Fame 2001.
If you have been involved in track and field for very long you have heard the clichés “He or she was ahead of their time”, or “He or she was as good as anyone around”. Well, those sayings are more than clichés if you are talking about Dick Eisenlauer.
Eisenlauer was a Mr. Everything. President of his senior class at Des Moines East, football and wrestling letter winner and Captain of the track team at East, Vice President of his fraternity and track team captain at Iowa, East High hall of fame member. You get the idea.
It is for his accomplishments on the track that we honor this 1971 Des Moines East graduate today.
His father Dick, and Hall of Fame coach Jim Lyle introduced young Dick Eisenlauer to track and field getting him involved in AAU Junior meets held at Drake Stadium. At East it was coaches Jack Oxenrider and Bill Charles who turned him on to the 440, which would become is go to event at Iowa.
When Dick graduated from Des Moines East in 1971, he left as one of the top sprinters in Iowa high school history. He was the Des Moines Metro Conference champion in the 100 and 220 in 1969, 70 and 71. He added the 440 to his arsenal in 1971, winning all three events in meet record fashion.
Eisenlauer had done every well at Drake and state as a sophomore and junior, earning a combined five top 5 finishes, but his senior season of 1971 was his best. He won a Drake Relays title in the 100 and anchored the winning 880 yard relay. Back at Drake Stadium a month later, for the state meet, Eisenlauer put his name in the record books and on the All Time lists with an outstanding performance. Albeit hand held timing, the results speak for themselves. He won the 100 in 9.8, set a new meet record in the 220 with his 21.4 and ran the 440 leg on the runner-up mile medley team.
When Dick got to the University of Iowa he was able to work with his biggest influence in track and field and one of the most influential people in his life, Hall of Fame Coach, Francis X. Cretzmeyer. Cretz was able to take Dick from being one of the best ever Iowa high schoolers to a Big 10 champion and All American for the Hawkeyes.
Moving up to the 440 proved to be the right move for Eisenlauer. He won the Big 10 indoor meet in the 440 as a freshman, was an Indoor All American in the 440 as a sophomore, ran on the Big 10 champion 440 yard relay as a junior, then won the Big 10 outdoor 440 and earned All American honors as a senior.
Dick’s collegiate PR of 46.74 was #3 All Time at Iowa when he graduated. Now, some 40 years later it is still #10!
Dick is currently the President of Harrington Signal Company in Moline, Illinois. He and his wife Linda are the proud parents of four children.
Tom started his career in athletics in 1963 were he served as head FB and track coach at Hubbard Community School and later at Eddyville Community School. In 1979 he became an assistant football coach at William Penn College. From 1982 – 1986 Tom was an assistant track coach at Central College. In 1986 Tom became the Head Track coach at Central College. Tom also served as an assistant football coach at Central. During his tenure at Central College Tom was the Director of Placement and Career Services from 1983 – 2002. Tom started officiating track in 1991 and he remains active. His resume of meets includes: The Drake Relays Big 12 and Big 10 Conf. Indoor Championships The Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conf. Championships Boys and Girls State H.S. meets Central college Invitational Iowa Invitational NCAA D-I Cross Country Championships NCAA D-III Outdoor Championships Along with officiating track, Tom has been the Offensive Back Field Coach at Pella Christian H.S. for the past 2 years.
As an Iowa State senior in 1979, Debbie Esser became the first woman to win four consecutive national collegiate track titles in the same event. She was and is the “Hurdler” She set the national 400-meter hurdles record fresh out of high school and won a national AAU championship. She piled up all 13 titles at the girls’ state track meet. Esser set off on a four-year prep parade that ended gloriously on a brilliant mid-May weekend in the sunshine of Drake Stadium. In the Friday preliminaries, Esser and her teammates — sister Denette along with Caren and Lynn Horstmeyer — set a national record in the mile relay. Up next were the 220-yard low hurdles, where Esser won, breaking the record she’d set the year before. Then came the long jump title. Then the 100-yard hurdles. Esser won both the 220 and the 100 for the fourth consecutive year. When Woodbine repeated its mile-relay victory in the finals, Esser had either won or had a hand in four state titles.
When girls could run no farther than 880 yards, the desire to be a runner and basketball player saw Robin Evans leave the Carroll School District where track was not a part of the program, to the high school of Manilla and a home away from home with the Hennessays. You might say this was a primitive form of open enrollment. A small person in size with a big heart, this individual became a giant in the area of track and field under the coaching of Larry Bullock. Robin very modestly told of some of her accomplishments. They are:
- State Cross country Champions two years.
- Only Iowa high school girl to ever run the mile under 5 minutes.
- One of the first four high school girls in the U.S. to run the mile under 5 minutes at the National A.A.U. in Los Angeles in 1970.
- Holds the 1500 meter record of 4:36 for an all time high school record.
- The Drake Relays Committee was nice enough to start a mile run so that Robin would have a chance to run and she ran 4:55, an all time high school record. This was before Iowa girls ran more than 880.
- Robin was a member of 13 State and National event championships- Distance Medley – Mile Relay – 880 Run.
- National Federation 880 champion at Wichita in 1970, running 2:15. Ran 2:13 in Iowa the same year.
- Robin was rated in the top ten women miler’s for 3 years, 1970, ’71, ’72. For Robin, the one thing that stands above all these accomplishments is that she has been told that she helped speed up the spread of girls sports in Iowa, especially in the area of distance running in Track and Field.
Ken attended Wapello High School where he was All Conference in basketball, Captain of the track team, and the State Mile Champion. After high school, he attended the University of Iowa where he was a 3 year Letter winner in Cross Country as well as being a member of the Big Ten Champion Cross Country Team. Following graduation from the University of Iowa, Ken started his Math teaching and coaching career at Anamosa High School as Assistant Varsity Football, Head Boys Track, and Cross Country Coach. During his coaching tenure, from 1964-1986, his Track teams won 34 invitationals, 7 Conference and 9 District titles. His Track teams won back to back State Titles in 1974 and ’75, places 2nd once and 3rd 4 times. He has had the pleasure of coaching 8 individual and 2 relay teams as State Champions. In 1975 he was selected as Northeast Coach of the Year. Ken was seriously injured in a fall in June of 1986 and has not been able to return to teaching and coaching. Ken and his wife Sandra still live in Anamosa and are the parents of 3 daughters.
A graduate of Laurens High School and Buena Vista College, he started his coaching career at Manilla where he had teams that placed third and second at the state outdoor meet. He coached Manilla to the Iowa Federation Outdoor Championships in 1964 and 1965. He has coached at Missouri Valley where his teams were conference track champions 5 straight years and runner-up the sixth. In 1966 he was the coach of the Iowa Girls’ Track Club which won the National Federation Women’s Track and Field championship held in Carvallis, Oregon. He was also the coach of the Iowa Girls 440 year Relay Team that defeated Texas in the Drake Relays. Harlan has most recently coached Girls Basketball and Track in the LeMars Community School system.
This Sioux City native graduated from Wayne State College in Nebraska in 1966 and began his teaching career in the Melvin school system. In 1968 he and Becky, and children Brett and Brittany, moved to Tipton where Dave enjoyed a fine career. He coached baseball, softball and basketball during his tenure there, but it was coaching track and field that would become his passion. In his 35 years at the helm, Tipton won 7 state team titles, was second twice and had 36 state meet event champions. Members of his squads won a state title in every event but four. His squads also won 12 conference and 11 Regional team titles.
Longtime coaching companion and friend, Dave Vogelgesang, said “Dave developed a great training regimen for his girls and was very good about getting his athletes in the weight room, long before many girls were doing it.” Vogelgesang added that “Coach Fetterman had a real knack for putting the right kids in the right places to score well at Regionals and advance and do well at state.” Dave was honored by his peers by being selected as the Regional Coach of the Year seven times and the State Coach of the Year seven times. Twice he was a National Coach of the Year finalist.
Dave retired from teaching in 2005 and from coaching in 2007.
Allen Dean “Al” Feuerbach
Al Feuerbach is one of Iowa’s own national heroes. Born in Clinton, he attended Preston High School where he lettered in baseball, basketball, football, and track. This talented individual attended Emporia State University at Emporia, Kansas. At this school he received NAIA All-American honors for 4 years. After his graduation in 1970, his accomplishments really were noticed. 1. Member of 13 USA National Track and Field Teams. 2. Member of the Olympic Team in 1972, 1976, and 1980. 3. Member of the Pan Am Gold medal Team in 1971 and 1979. 4. Member of various USA-USSR Dual Teams. 5. Co-Captain of USA National Tack and Field Team in 1973-74-82. 6. He served as throwers coach from 1978-80 at San Jose State University. 7. He is in great demand for track and field clinics throughout the world. 8. He is now working in the TV and motion picture industry. Some of his works are: MCA/Universal’s “Road to Moscow”, a documentary feature in 1980. Was organizer and co-host of “Two Big International Mountain Games”, an NBC-CBS-ABC affiliate. ESPN “Future Sports” in 1982. NBC “Al McGuire on Sports” in 1983. 9. He has published many clinic articles on Track and Field and Olympic Style Weight lifting. 10. The video “Al Feuerbach’s Basic 70′ Shot Putting” is truly an excellent teaching tool. 11. He threw the shot 71′ 7″ and is ranked as the third all-time best shot putter in the world.
Kent grew up in Wisconsin. He was an outstanding Football and Basketball player. Graduation from High School lead him to Luther College in Decorah, Iowa. Kent was All-Conference in Football and Basketball his junior and senior seasons, an All-American in Football his junior season and Conference Long Jump Champion his senior season. He remained at Luther College and became a Professor of Health and Physical Education, Chairman of the Department from 1964-1996. He coached Football for nine seasons, Assistant Basketball for Ten seasons, Head Basketball coach for 25 seasons, Assistant Baseball coach for seventeen seasons, Assistant Track and Field for 2 seasons – Head coach for 10 seasons, and Head Cross Country coach for 27 seasons. While Head Track and Field coach his teams won six Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Team Titles, placed Second in the 1965 NCAA Division III National Championships in Long Beach, California, along with five All-American Runners that season. Kent won 21 Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Cross Country Team Titles in twenty-six years. He guided Luther to the 1985 National Title. His teams finished in the top ten National Team Finishers ten times, second in 1978, third in 1980, and fifth in 1987. Kent served as President of the NCAA Division III Cross Country Coaches Association, served as a committee member for the NCAA Track and Field Committee, Director of the International Coaches Team to Iceland four times and a renowned clinic speaker. Kent was the NCAA Division III Cross Country Coach of the Year, and named ten times as the Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Cross Country Coach of the Year. Kent is now retired and lives in Decorah. His wife passed away in 1992, but his days are filled with visits to and from his children and grandchildren.
Jack Foresman is a lifelong resident of rural Cleghorn and a lifelong member of the Mt. Pleasant Church. In high school Jack received varsity letters in every sport offered. His senior year he qualified for the state track meet in the pole vault and the mile run. He received his bachelor’s degree from Wayne State College in Nebraska. Lettered three years in track, captain of the track team and set school and conference records in the two mile run. Jack returned home from two years of military service during the Korean conflict. He then embarked upon three ventures in which he remains active to this day. He married Lillian, began farming and began officiating track meets. Jack has served his community in many ways: ten years on the local school board; eighteen years on the Cherokee County Board of Supervisors; served as an elder, Sunday School Teacher and Superintendent; participated in numerous county government and veteran’s day programs; member of the Cleghorn Centennial Committee; member of the committee that organized the Meriden-Cleghorn Community Library; organized and helped fund a nine hole golf course; and personally spearheaded the organization and fund raising for a new all-weather track at Marcus-Meriden-Cleghorn. Jack’s contributions to high School Track & Field are just as impressive. Jack started track meets in virtually every part of northwest Iowa; started several state meets back in the days when they were hosted by high schools located around the state; he has been involved with the prestigious Tomahawk Relays in Cherokee since his day as a high school athlete. The Tomahawk, along with the Holstein Relays, was one of two northwest Iowa meets which at one time attracted the top high school track teams from the entire state of Iowa, but from the entire upper Midwest and was the site of numerous record performances. Jack was awarded the trustworthiness Award from the Marcus-Meriden-Cleghorn Leadership Team. Jack has served as a track official for fifty years in the 2003 season.