” A ‘Magic Moment’ in Track History,” 1973

Rummaging around in a box full of old sports media guides, I noticed this photo on the back cover of the 1974 Spring Sports booklet:

New 1974 spring media guide 2

(It’s not at all clear to me why they decided to put “magic moment” and “historic’ in quotes here. It really was historic and arguably magical as well.)

And by the way, here’s what Dave Roberts looked like from the other direction:


I actually posted about him once before without knowing who he was. (I was just taken with an image.) You have to read the comments to get the basic information.

Bonus: I was also interested in the guide itself, which is very small–just a little bigger than a checkbook–and covered all spring sports in one tiny package:

New 1974 spring media guide 1

I found the section on facilities especially noteworthy:

New 1974 spring media guide 3

I’m not really going to venture into a discussion of athletic facilities except to cock a little bit of an eyebrow at the notion of the “modern track and field facility.” There had been a track and field facility in that spot since 1912 and those stands had been there since the ’20s. I wonder if they had recently gotten a new track surface or some such?

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7 Responses to ” A ‘Magic Moment’ in Track History,” 1973

  1. MR says:

    Roberts went on to win the bronze medal in the 1976 Olympics in Montreal. Amazingly, however, he was not the only Rice NCAA men’s pole vault champion and Olympic medal winner. Fred Hansen ’63 tied for the NCAA championship in 1962 and then won the gold medal in the 1964 Tokyo Olympics.


  2. Gaylon Kent says:

    maybe they got some new shot puts…those only last four-five hundred years…

  3. Mark Williamson says:

    Maybe that’s “modern” in the sense of “modern Olympic games” (as opposed to ancient).

    • I agree, being modern in 1973-’74 was what was the best at the time. Look at today’s improvement and we can say they are modern. The new improvements to Rice football will bring it up to today’s turf and scoreboard. 10 years from now it will all be out of date. Staying current on improvements helps with the recruiting of students and athletics.

  4. almadenmike says:

    Frequent use of “quotes” was a prominent “style element” of Rice’s first Sports Information Director, Bill Whitmore. I don’t know if that was a common practice among SIDs of that time, or if Bill just thought it helped his work “stand out” from the deluge of missives from our larger SWC competitors.

    Are there any oral histories of or long interviews with Bill that detail his life and work? He was extremely hard-working, cheerful, kind and very well-respected. (I found only a few short articles, noted below.)

    Bill was Rice’s first SID and a pioneer in the profession. He was nicknamed “The Barber” by longtime Houston Post sportswriter Jack Gallagher … “because I talk too much,” Bill said in an article in the June 26, 1975, Thresher (p. 10) honoring his 25th anniversary at Rice (http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth245241/m1/10/zoom/). (Traditionally, barbers were chatty folks while they cut men’s hair; their shops were often local news hubs.)

    Two brief biographies were published when he was awarded an Honorary “R” in 1990: http://grfx.cstv.com/photos/schools/rice/genrel/auto_pdf/2011-12/misc_non_event/19thHOF.pdf and https://scholarship.rice.edu/jp2/viewer.html?url=http://scholarship.rice.edu/bitstream/handle/1911/64008/wrc02291.jp2. His obituary in the Houston Chronicle, after he died in 2002, contained several lovely tributes: http://www.chron.com/sports/college/article/Longtime-Rice-SID-Whitmore-dies-2105842.php

  5. Jerry Outlaw says:

    I’m a little disappointed that you were completely unaware of Roberts’ accomplishments. There are not so many Rice Olympic medal winners that they can be that obscure. I know pictures of library staff in the 60s, for example, are also interesting, but Hansen and Roberts’ were the culmination of a long history of successful pole vaulting on the Rice track team. It continued after them to some degree.

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