Coach Squires at 80, by Toni Reavis, note by Larry Eder

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Arthur Lydiard, Bill Squires, courtesy of the Lydiard Foundation

Coach Bill Squires is turning 80. Anyone who has a modicum of understanding of American distance running should recognize that Squires is one of the most important coaches of our era. Squires has not only coached, but influenced some of the most prominent distance runners in the US, from Alberto Salazar and Bill Rodgers, to Greg Meyer, Bobby Hodge, and the Greater Boston Track Club. 

Bill turns 80, and one of his athletes, Toni Reavis, wrote this thoughtful piece about Coach. 

For some reason, a song is going through my head, " A Pirate looks at 40", by Jimmy Buffet. Not the theme of the song, but the looking back in a warm, thoughtful manner. 

Congrats Coach Squires! 

CELEBRATING COACH SQUIRES AT 80

by Toni Reavis

Talking Points with Coach Bill Squires

This Saturday, November 24th, friends of Coach Bill Squires will gather at Boston College - Cocoran Commons - from noon till 3 pm for an 80th birthday celebration. From far out on the California coast, a toast and fond salute to the coach who famously ledBoston State College and the Greater Boston Track Club during a career that carried many a runner and team to national and international titles, all with no budget or home track, while revolutionizing marathon training with athletes like Bill Rodgers, Alberto Salazar, Greg Meyerand Dick Beardsley.

But it wasn't the Xs and Os of his training programs that made Coach Squires a New England and running legend, or that made him the recipient of the Bill Bowerman Award from the National Distance Running Hall of Fame in 2002. It was much more than what he said. How to best explain it?

Well, I guess I could go back to the early `80s and take you on the drive with the coach and New Zealand Olympian Kevin Ryan as we headed from Boston to New York for the Millrose Games, the drive that got the coach talking about his "date" with Hollywood starlet Natalie Wood - or as coach called her, "Natley", in his clipped Arlington, Mass. born accent.

As the coach told it, the date had been arranged by Photo Play - or some such magazine - for him and another athlete in L.A. for the AAU Nationals to escort Ms. Wood and Annette Funicello, the ex-Mousketeer, on a date for publicity purposes. I could tell you how the coach responded after Ryan caustically remarked, "Huh. No way a beautiful woman like that would go out with an ugly prick like you," - said as he downed another Foster's while zooming at 80+ down I-84, and yet uncannily knowing when to slow down for a soon passing state trooper.

"ME-E?!! " exclaimed the coach, his voice rising two octaves in pained indignation. "I was handsome : six feet tall, 160 pounds, blond crew-cut hayuh (sic) - 100 pushups a day - Are you kiddin' me!!???"

I was left in a puddle of hysterics in the backseat.

Or, I could regale you with Coach's story - again indignantly told - about how he used to pee in his college dorm-room sink in the dead of night while attending Notre Dame because he didn't want to pad down the hall to the communal men's room, and when his roommate complained to the good fathers of the institution about the coach's indecorous behavior, how the coach proceeded to present a paper at his disciplinary hearing detailing the disinfectant properties of urine as utilized by soldiers in theBoer War as a weapon's cleaner. And yet, notwithstanding this uncontested testimony, how the coach was instructed never again to use his sink for anything beyond hands and face washing and tooth brushing, and that included no weapon's cleaning.

Sure, I could do that, but why go back that far? Read more of this post

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