Hartman was ‘one of a kind’


To the editor:

I recently had the honor of traveling to Troy for Coach Herb Hartman’s funeral and to share some memories. He was my art teacher, track coach, mentor and friend. He taught me how to sculpt clay, make jewelry, and appreciate the arts. He taught me how to be an athlete. How to win and lose. He was a man of minimal words with absolute precision. He was resolute in his leadership and support of those he taught, and coached.

The last time I saw him was at my mother’s funeral (Lois Ferrier). He cried, we hugged. In all of my memories I never witnessed such emotion.

From his athletes and students, he expected the best you could give. In Track, he understood and taught the physics of the events. We watched movies together dissecting the expertise of the finest athletes. On weekends, he would show up in the pre-dawn light taking us to track meets to compete, win/lose, and learn. On the night drive home, he would encourage, challenge each of us to apply lessons learned, and set new goals.

We were to be smart, strategic, and relaxed in our pursuits. He would say, “When you are running keep your upper body relaxed. Put your thumb and forefinger together, don’t clench your fists or flex your arms, keep relaxed. Looking back, you lose half a stride. Look forward, stay focused.” I have applied these lessons to my private and professional life.

At the funeral, I didn’t finish a memory: Mark Peters (THS 1976, National NCCAA Pole Vault Champion) and I missed the bus to a track meet. When we arrived, Coach asked what we were doing. I told him: “We are getting ready.” He said missing the bus was bad planning on our part and there was no excuse and we needed to run two miles. I said, “But coach if we do that we might not win”. He said, “That’s your problem … and you will need to tell teammates why you let them down… start running.” We won that day, and another lesson learned. Be Accountable. No one wants to hear sad stories or excuses. Vaulting is all about following through, such as life. I’ve found many of life’s lessons are analogous to lessons learned in competition.

Herb Hartman was one of a kind.

Rob Evans – THS 1978, Troy Hall of Fame Gymnastics & Track

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