City Slickers Can't Stay with Me: The Coach Bob Larsen Story (2015) Movie Script

[music playing]
BOB LARSEN: We have to be
careful we don't push too hard
and break.
[music playing]
Looking at the technique,
his stride mechanics,
ground contact time, how far
knee comes up on the drills,
stuff like that.
[music playing]
As he gets stronger and
recovers from workouts,
his contact time is
less, both as to how
hard he hits and also the
time that he's on the ground.
You know, he's looking
better each week,
so we have to be patient
and not worry it.
The worst thing we could
do now is push him too hard
and he gets injured.
The 1990s were a little
bit of a lost decade
for American distance
running, and through 2000,
we really were not very strong.
I went to the Olympic
trials in the year 2000.
And we only had one
qualifier in the marathon,
and he barely made the
qualifying standard of 2:12.
And this was alarming.
Basically, Coach Joe
Vigil and Coach Larsen decided
we needed to do something.
You know, we need to do
something about US distance
running, and let's form a team.
BOB LARSEN: We decided that
if we put together a training
group up here at Mammoth with
the right people that we could
have effect on American distance
running, because almost all
of the medals that are won
at World and Olympic Games
are with athletes training
much of the time at altitude.
DEENA KASTOR: I followed
Coach Vigil and Bob Larsen out
to Mammoth Lakes, California,
where we put together
an incredible group of athletes
all living and striving
to that same Olympic dream.
Larsen for a good 12 years now.
We're similar in that we
believe that for distance
running that it's not
just a matter of going
out and pounding out the miles.
If you try and
run harder, you're
just going to over stride.
a lot of other things
that are important
in a long-term goal
and plan for an
athlete and building
them up over years and years.
Good work.
DEENA KASTOR: The fact that
Americans could go to altitude
and get in the proper
training to catch the Africans
on the awards podium
was a great eye-opener,
and it has been a fabulous turn
of events to see a resurgence
in American distance running.
[music playing]
ERIK LARSEN: In 1939, my
father was born in Minnesota.
My dad grew up in a very small,
very dark cabin on a farm,
which is 50 miles
from Fargo, which
is probably the most desolate,
isolated place on Earth,
it seems.
No electricity and
no running water.
I think that humbled
him as a person.
I think it made him who he was.
He went to school with
just a few classmates.
I think first grade
through sixth grade
was all in the same
exact classroom.
He walked to and from
school every day.
Those stories of walking uphill
in the snow both directions,
I think it started in
Detroit Lakes, Minnesota.
Not exactly the
weather you'd find
a future Hall of Fame coach in,
let alone a distance runner.
So to come from that to where
he is today is quite a journey.
My grandfather
severely hurt his back.
He ended up having
to sell the farm,
and I believe they
flipped a coin.
Heads, they go to Los Angeles.
Tails, they go to San Diego.
It ended up hitting
tails, and they
ended up going to San Diego.
[music playing]
in an era when we
didn't know that much
about the process,
how to get in good shape.
So we were really inquisitive
even when I was very young.
I had a good high school coach,
Raleigh Holt at Hoover High
School, and I was pretty
good all-round athlete,
but when I found
out there were guys
actually running a distance, I
said, well, nobody can beat me.
I grew up on a farm.
City slickers
can't stay with me.
And that's the way I
ran the first few races.
The only thing I knew about was
you're supposed to pass out,
because that what the
first sub-4:00 miler,
Roger Bannister, did.
He would collapse
at the finish line,
and people would carry him off.
So I thought that's what
you're supposed to do.
So any point in a race, if
somebody came up and started
challenging me, I thought,
oh, this is great,
I'll be able to run so hard,
I'll pass out at the finish.
That's a good mindset.
But that's how dumb we
were in that we didn't know
much about what we were doing.
But we were beating everybody.
He likes to talk about
that he was a runner,
but he'll never, ever give
anybody times or details
or specifics, because,
one, I think he's humble,
and, two, he always
says, well, it used to be
a different era back then.
More than anything, Raleigh
Holt, my high school coach,
talked me into being a coach.
I don't know what he saw in me.
I was clueless like a
lot of guys that age.
But he saw something.
And I watched what
other people had done.
And I was always inquisitive.
I was going to a lot of clinics.
But most the things we did, I
developed as a runner myself.
[music playing]
At San Diego State, I
graduated in four years.
Fifth year, they wanted
me to stay around
and be the coach of the distance
runners and track, which I did.
And so I was a
graduate assistant.
So all those experiences
I think really helped me.
And then getting the right guy.
[music playing]
They offered me
the job to continue
at San Diego State
full time, but I really
wanted to coach in high school.
I wanted to coach at each level.
And Monte Vista had only won
one meet each year for two years
in track and cross country.
And it was a pretty new
school, so they talked
me into coming out there.
And it turned out great.
Luckily enough, I got
to run for Coach Larsen.
I'll never forget.
When I first came
to Monte Vista,
I was five foot two, 102 pounds.
After just two months
of running with him,
I was varsity material.
know, when I started
it was all about toughness,
more than anything else.
But I know it was a big
part of what I was selling
when I went into high school.
I would run with the guys.
I'd use myself kind of as an
example, and that helps a lot.
I mean, that gives you
instant credibility.
When you have your
coach that runs with you,
you don't want to lose to him.
BOB LARSEN: When you saw me, my
face would turn red and slobber
coming out of my mouth.
Even if I didn't say anything,
and I was running that hard,
nobody wanted to
lose to the coach.
DAN UNGRICHT: So my goal
was on every distance
run that we went, stay with
the coach, stay with the coach.
BOB LARSEN: What we were doing
was a lot of race training.
Now we call it
threshold training.
That was maybe the
key single thing
that put us in front
of everybody else,
because we were doing
it on a regular basis.
I had guys that could
make things happen.
And they weren't so good
that it was automatic,
but once I got them going,
they were tough enough
that what I was giving them as
workouts would produce results.
Our big thing
here at Monte Vista
was we didn't know
the word lose.
Losing wasn't in our vocabulary.
We never lost a race.
would run as hard
as I did when I was
in high school, where
we'd have to literally sometimes
carry them off the finish line.
And over the years, so many guys
did that, and why they did it,
I have no idea.
But I'm so grateful
to them, because even
if they weren't great talents--
and not all those guys
were great talents--
they made up for the
difference, because they
were just as tough as nails.
DAN UNGRICHT: It's not just
the coaching, you know.
Put his arm around you.
Just say little positive things
that just you would absorb
and make you that much better.
Didn't matter if you
are the first man,
the 10th man, or the last man,
you were very, very important.
This is a family.
You stick with me, you are going
to be very, very successful.
Whatever he said, we did.
He changed our lives.
He changed my life totally.
Believing in myself.
I think instinctively
I had something there,
and Coach activated it.
He put kerosene on the fire.
I figured I was going
to stay about four years,
and I stayed exactly four
years, and we were able to turn
around the program immediately.
Back in the day,
they'd all be small.
Yeah, exactly.
Small or medium.
[interposing voices]
MAN: People must have
thought we were weird.
Remember that uniform?
Long-haired guy
in stripped pants.
I mean, come on.
WOMAN: Look at that finish.
Holy cow.
WOMAN: All right, guys,
we need a quick picture.
Let's line up where these
chairs are, right here.
Keep your hand on
your wallet, man.
That isn't my wallet.
One, two, three.
Time for your speech.
In 1967, Ron Vavra
offered me the position
coaching with him
and Jack [inaudible]
at Grossmont Community College.
I respected both of them greatly
and decided to take that job.
It was difficult
leaving Monte Vista.
I had so much fun
with those guys.
But at each stop along
the way in my career,
I could say the same thing.
I just hated to move.
Let's go back just
briefly in history.
I don't want to
make this too long.
But at Monte Vista, we'd
would run with that group,
and then I went up
to Grossmont College.
Ron Vavra over here convinced
me to come up there.
I had some really good
offers to four-year schools
that were legit.
I can't spell.
I can't type.
I can't work a computer.
But I can coach athletes,
and I can read people.
And I knew that Bob
Larsen was the best.
He knew all the right buttons
to push, psychologically,
physically, and emotionally.
could have gone to lots
of different universities.
But everybody kept saying,
Coach Larsen's the best.
You need to go to Grossmont.
Coach Larsen's the best.
You need to go to Grossmont.
And I'm glad I listened to
that, because I would never have
the experiences that I had.
And I don't think I would
have excelled as well.
TOM LUX: The way we
trained was unique.
We were cutting-edge
with our training.
We didn't realize at the time.
Bob realized it, but we didn't.
ED MENDOZA: The way he coached
was that each athlete is unique
and that whatever their
needs or their training
needs to be designed for them.
And each athlete improved.
It's almost like
magical the way he
can bring out the best in
every one of us, not just me.
Not just someone who makes
the Olympic team, but everyone
on his team, he just seems to
be able to get us to our best.
Larsen made it fun for us.
There wasn't a part of
it that made us feel,
you know, I don't
want to run any more
because it hurts too much.
And we were able to in our
hearts really enjoy the run.
the main reasons
that threshold training or
tempo runs became important
in my program was I experimented
with them towards the end
of my college career.
I had been injured
in high school
and in college doing
lots of interval training
and pretty much exclusively
interval training.
But when I started doing the
longer distances on the roads,
on trails, or especially at
the beach on the soft sand,
I found that my strength
improved very rapidly,
and I still retained
quite a bit of speed
on the track with very
little interval training.
TOM LUX: Threshold training,
which when we were doing it,
I had no idea it was
threshold training.
very hard and maintaining
that throughout.
And then what would naturally
happen in these things
is that we'd have
some surges going on.
There would be a
hill, and it's just
a natural thing,
who's going to be
first at the top of that hill.
TOM LUX: We were all
very, very competitive,
and we would go
out on road runs,
and we just didn't want to lose.
KIRK PFEFFER: So, you know, you
think about threshold training
as not racing, but there is
a point where we were racing.
TOM LUX: I can recall one road
run where we were running back
to Grossmont
College, and we were
in full stride racing
back, and there
was a wallet on the ground.
And there could have been
$1,000 in that wallet.
Nobody broke stride to
even check or pick it up,
because we didn't
want to slow down.
the idea of it then
is to be able to run hard
and not stop, just continue.
And it's a simple principle.
It's just run hard.
TOM LUX: But what that
created was a way to race
and a mindset and a focus that
you can't get any other way.
KIRK PFEFFER: I know that
that type of training,
I carry it with me today,
knowing that that's the only--
the best and only
way to get truly fit.
So both for myself and those
people I started working with,
it was easier to peak them for
the big races and keep them
injury-free by relying
more on threshold
training as the intense part of
the workouts on a weekly basis.
And that's where
the cutting edge was.
Bob knew what we were doing.
He orchestrated it all.
We didn't realize it, but
that's what we were doing.
BOB LARSEN: We're at a road
called Benton Crossing.
We call it Green Church
Road, where we many times
do our threshold run.
Fairly hard pace.
Meb's going to go 10 miles
or more this morning.
Dirk is going to be on
his bike, pacing him.
And I'm going to be
following for support
and look forward to a
good workout this morning.
Dirk, you ready?
Threshold run is
close to all out.
You know, where you're
trying to cover the distance
at a very, very high effort.
It all depends on what
kind of shape you're in.
It's going to hurt a lot
more if you are out of shape,
and especially at altitude.
what the numbers mean
when we've hit certain splits.
At 5:17, 41:14.
When those are starting to
come into range where he feels
like he's pretty fit, then
that gives him confidence,
regardless of who
else is in the race,
that he's going to
have a good race.
Training threshold pace
is all about concentration.
You're on the watch basically.
You concentrating
on mile splits.
You know, you're
concentrating on form.
But at the same time,
you're concentrating,
I don't want to
let that bike go.
5:05, Coach.
beautiful thing when it all
comes together, but
at the same time,
you're just grinding as hard as
you can, just because imagining
that you're training for
this race that is coming up,
and you know, you're visualizing
other competitors in that race,
and saying, you know what,
I don't to let them go.
I don't want to let them go.
And keep digging.
Well, that was a tough one.
You don't get him breathing
that hard very often.
I soon discovered when
Ron Vavra talked me
into going to Grossmont
College to work with him
how effective a coach he was,
and just what a wonderful man
he is.
And I learn a great
deal from him.
He has many athletes
who come back and are
happy to see him and
get a little bit more
of the Vavra wisdom, which
he has generously supplied
to all of us over the years.
RON VAVRA: Life is hard by the
yard but a cinch by the inch.
It's not only something I live
by, it's something I coach by.
Every day when Coach
Larsen and I were coaching
together was Armageddon,
but we never skipped steps.
We took one step at a
time, and it worked.
TOM LUX: Bob used
to say that running
is 80% mental, 20% physical.
And I believe that 100%.
And he teaches the 80% mental.
The physical you bring yourself.
KIRK PFEFFER: He gave me advice.
He-- not just me, but others.
He would invite me into
his office, and he'd say,
so, you know, what about
this race coming up?
OK, so you're in the state
meet, what are you going to do?
So what if that doesn't work?
What are you going to do?
So what if that doesn't work?
What are you going to do?
Kirk, you need to make sure
that you have plan A, plan B,
plan C. He wants
you to think it out.
TOM LUX: When he would train
us, he would train us to focus.
And so we would focus on just
a few things going into a race.
And Bob would call it a
business-like attitude.
We would have a business-like
attitude going into a race.
We would have our pre-race
instructions from Bob.
And he would generally
tell us that he
will be out on the
course to give us
instructions during the race.
He wouldn't necessarily
tell us where he would be,
because that would change
depending on the race.
But one thing that
was unique about Bob
is no matter where
I was in the race,
his voice would stand out.
It wouldn't matter
what was going on,
we would always hear his voice.
KIRK PFEFFER: And everybody
knows who's run under him,
he was never a yeller.
He was never screaming
at you on the course.
It was all constructive.
He would say, relax
your shoulders,
or do this or do that,
but there was never
any uncontrollable screaming.
It was always, when you
saw him on the course,
you appreciated it.
DALE FLEET: You know, you get
all the other coaches out there
in the race, and they're
just screaming their guts,
you just got to go.
You've just got to go, move now.
And Bob Larsen-- Coach
Larsen's like, OK, guys.
It's time to go.
But you'd hear it.
You've got to move.
And you would hear it.
It may be totally
just understated.
You got to go.
I just really
didn't care that much.
though winning
was the tradition at
Grossmont, he'd always
remind us that if you did--
for one reason, we did
lose, what do you do?
You just take your foot, and
you kick it in the ground,
and you say, aw, shucks,
you know, maybe next time.
ED MENDOZA: Every one
of those guys out there
will tell you that, yeah,
he's my encouragement.
He's my mentor.
He's our teacher.
You know, he is our leader,
and it doesn't stop after you
leave Grossmont College.
KIRK PFEFFER: If I were to
sum up running for Grossmont,
it would be that it was
the pureness of the sport.
Running was pure.
It was a pure form of sport.
Coach Larsen used common sense.
He didn't use a lot of fluff.
It was no fluff.
There were no fluff workouts.
It was all purposeful.
We train.
We rest.
We race.
RON VAVRA: And I should add here
that Coach Larsen is for me,
the guru of distance running.
But he also coached the jumps,
and the high jumpers he had,
6'10", 6'8", long
jumpers over 24 feet.
Triple jumpers around
50 feet was amazing.
So Coach Larsen
could coach anything,
even though he was the greatest
distance guru of all time.
We're at Mammoth Creek and
the temperature is probably
52 degrees in the stream here.
It's ideal for recovery.
You build up fluid
in the tissues
when you work out really hard.
And this controls that.
And when you come
back the next day,
you're going to feel
better, and your muscles
are going to be more ready
for harder work again.
We did for three
times 2.2 miles today
at almost 9,000 feet elevation.
So that beats up your
body a little bit.
So this is very helpful
in the recovery process.
This hurts, sitting
in the stream.
Obviously, I'm not
sitting in the stream.
I've done it before, but it's
not an enjoyable experience.
Athletes have to
really be dedicated
to stay on a routine that will
keep them fit, avoid injuries,
and, obviously, stuff like
this is a big part of this.
And it's allowed him
to continue to run.
So all of these things, I
think, contribute to that.
Oh, wow, I got to get that.
Oh, it's like
dropping the flag.
[interposing voices]
Jamul Athletic Club--
And Claremont Toads.
When I was coaching
at Monte Vista,
I was looking for a way of
letting the guys race in some
open races during
the summer between
cross-country and track, but now
not get too serious about it.
There was a little community
that some of the guys
lived close to that
were at Monte Vista.
It was called Jamul.
Just a store and a
bar and a church.
And having been a
country boy myself,
that was kind of appealing.
So-- and it was an
interesting name.
It means bad water in Indian.
So we called it the
Jamul Athletic Club,
and we continued it when I
went to Grossmont College.
And it got bigger and bigger
and stronger and stronger.
And we were winning
some major races,
and guys were running very fast.
Claremont High School
graduates put together
a club they called the Toads.
And there was a
rivalry between us.
But they were very good.
We liked those guys.
They asked to join
forces with us,
and we decided that it would
be ideal for both groups.
These degenerate
guys from Claremont
High School who were going
nowhere fast wanted to join,
you know.
I mean, we had all the power,
and they wanted to join.
And I don't know why
we accepted them.
I still feel we
made a big mistake.
But, but, they were the Toads--
apt name for those guys.
And so all of a sudden,
we're the Jamul Toads.
DAVE HARPER: It was an awesome
feeling to run with the guys
that had been your rivals.
I mean, what a great story
to bring us all together.
I mean, that was very unheard
of back in that period,
because clubs around the
country were recruiting guys,
and, I don't know, maybe
throwing some money around.
But, you know, we were a
club that was just local,
homegrown talent,
so I was always very
proud of what we accomplished.
One of the directors of
the Jamul Toad newsletter.
I don't remember
being a director.
Gary Close was the
newsletter person.
Do you remember these?
Oh, oh.
Oh, you know what?
I don't have that one.
TOM LUX: The Jamul
Toads back in 1973
were a bunch of long-hair,
scraggly-looking guys.
All of us had long hair.
We were like your typical
rock stars back then.
I mean, we were a pretty
scraggly-looking bunch.
THOM HUNT: I think it was a
very unique time in, you know,
the running history
of San Diego.
Because you are, you're talking
about a great wealth of talent.
GLENN BEST: I mean, the Thom
Hunts, you know, the Kurt
Pfeffers, Mendoza, and Lux.
Harper Fleet.
I mean, you had caliber people.
All from the same county.
All from the same
county called San Diego.
KIRK PFEFFER: We'd go out and
we'd hammer 10-, 12-mile runs.
We didn't stop for cars.
You know?
It was like, you'd pound on
a car if it was in your way,
and you were--
I mean, it was hammer city.
And so for me, running
with that group of guys
was like probably
one of the things
that I think back that helped
me become a strong runner.
Very seldom do you get runners--
young runners that
want to dedicate--
they want to dedicate
what they're doing.
They want to be
fanatical about it.
But in order to get good, in
order to get to that level,
you have to be fanatical.
You know, one of
the disappointments
for going to school at Grossmont
was that it was only two years.
So we wanted to be coached by
Coach Larsen for four years,
you know.
So for us, that was
kind of what it was.
And you still were
associated with the team.
And you still were
associated-- you were a Toad.
You were still a Toad.
That was-- I was more of a
Toad than I was a University
of Colorado Buffalo.
ED MENDOZA: At that time, I
had left Grossmont College
and moved on to Tucson to run
at the University of Arizona,
and I really loved
coming back to San Diego
to see my friends
in competition.
And it was like
every time I came
back, it was like a reunion.
It was like a homecoming.
And then when I found out that
we were going to run as a team,
it was so exciting to
come and run together
every time we had the chance.
And for the next
two years, we all
gathered together and took
on, you know, every team
in the United States.
The biggest race
of the year 1976
was going to be the AAU
National Cross Country
Championships in Philadelphia.
It, in those days, probably
was of more interest
than even the NCAA
Collegiate Championships.
And so it was kind of the crown
jewel of cross-country running.
The National
Championships, obviously, it
was always a big
race, because it's
the best in the US competing.
And the teams that
traditionally ran in that race
were pretty high-profile teams.
The Florida Track Club
with Frank Shorter.
The Colorado Track Club.
The Boston Athletic Club.
Clubs with a lot of
sponsorship and a lot of money
would run these races.
They would all have
professional-sounding names.
They had
professional-sounding runners.
But the one thing that was
different about those clubs
is they were clubs of
people that weren't
really from the same area.
They were clubs of people
that could have lived
all over the US,
but they would just
join under this one banner.
We were all from San Diego.
We all lived within 20
miles of each other.
We are all trained
with one coach.
And that was unique.
KIRK PFEFFER: I was living
in Boulder at the time.
Coach Larsen called
me up and said,
I'd like you to come and be
part of the team, in which I
felt like an honor to do that.
And the thing about it
was is that for me, I
was living in Boulder, and
who was our competition?
Colorado Track Club.
They really wanted
me to run for them.
You know.
And I said, no, I'm
a San Diego athlete.
We're going to do
the Jamul Toad thing,
and we're going to beat you.
We felt we had a
really good team,
but we couldn't get
a major sponsor.
We had one minor sponsor,
but most of the funds
had to be raised
or out-of-pocket.
We had some
difficulty in flights,
getting everybody back there.
Weather issues.
ED MENDOZA: I was the lucky one.
I had no problems flying
from Tucson through Phoenix
to Philadelphia.
But hear the story
from the other guys,
what happened to them.
It took us 24 hours
to get to Philadelphia.
They were sleeping
in airports, and they
were driving to Los Angeles.
It was foggy, and all
kinds of problems for them.
So they were tired.
And this was on
a Wednesday night,
which is a critical
night of sleep
before a national championship.
So when we got
back to Philadelphia,
guys are really
tired from the trip.
And we had minimum
time to recover
and get ready for the race.
And we were jammed
into a couple of rooms.
The day of the race, we
were leaving from our hotel,
and it was a little bit chaotic,
because it was race day.
We only had enough
money for one car.
You know, everything
was done on a shoestring.
TOM LUX: You could put three in
the front and four in the back.
But you can't put
four in the front
and four in the back or three in
the front and five in the back.
So Glenn Best, our eighth
man, we put in the trunk,
and drove to the race with
our eighth man in the trunk.
It was a big
car, and the trunk
was very roomy and comfortable,
and the drive wasn't that long.
So, yeah, that's how I
ended up in the trunk.
And I'll never
forget pulling up
to this national
championship in one car.
And seven of us climb
out of this car,
and we open up the trunk,
and there's our eighth man.
I just remember before the
race, when we were all warming
up, and you know,
there's so many people
that you know from other
clubs who are running.
And I remember seeing
people from Club Northwest,
and they go, oh,
who you running for?
And I'd say, oh, I'm
running for the Jamul Toads.
And it was like, who?
And, you know, you see people
from the Florida Track Club,
and who you running for?
Oh, Jamul Toads.
And they're like, who?
You know?
And so there's
this kind of like,
you know, what are
you doing that for?
Who is that?
So there wasn't a whole
lot of respect for us.
Nobody knew who we were.
Nobody had any idea
what we could do.
But if you took the
time to do the homework
to look at our
credentials, I think
it would have scared the pants
off anybody, because we had
some pretty strong credentials.
There was something
going on in the air.
I had never felt
better before a race.
I remember doing my
strides just feeling
so comfortable and so good.
I think it was a perfect storm,
actually, coming together.
And I remember, I slipped
as the gun went off.
standing behind Tom Lux.
And Tom, he starts way--
likes to start in a
really low position,
like he's almost in blocks.
TOM LUX: And I was going face
down into the muddy area,
and Dale Fleet was like a god.
He just picked me
up and threw me.
So my major
contribution to that race
was the fact that
I was behind him,
and I saw him
starting to go down,
and just before he hit the
ground, I grabbed his jersey
and yanked him up
and pushed him.
Saved me from falling down
and gave me a nice little boost.
I remember the day before, we
were running through the course
and about a quarter
mile to 600 meters out,
Coach Bob says, there's
a pole right here
in the middle of this trail.
We've got to be
aware of that pole.
And everyone goes,
yeah, coach, you
got to be aware of that pole.
I went right to that
pole and smacked into it.
So boom.
You know.
I was like, bam.
I'm like, oh god, so
I got around the pole,
and from that point
on, nothing went well.
But I do remember,
I had nothing.
I mean it was like I was
up there for very long.
I went right out.
I was done early.
I had nothing.
And really the way
it's set up, I think,
I was being counted
on to win this thing.
I mean, not me personally,
but I mean as one of the five
scoring people to do it.
I remember I was in
good position at a mile.
I think my mile was 4:30.
And I remember going
by the two-mile mark,
and I passed Thom
Hunt, which he was
supposed be one of
our top guys, and I
thought, oh, that's not good.
THOM HUNT: When I, you know,
basically, laid an egg,
Tom Lux took the step
forward and ran to a level
that no one
expected, that no one
was necessarily counting on.
And I think that's
what, you know,
made all that whole
difference in the world.
Hotton, especially,
was running very aggressively
and was up there on the lead.
And his contribution
was immense,
because I think the other
guys felt, if Terry can do it,
we can do it too.
The race itself,
I'll never forget.
After 500 meters, the 300 people
that were in the starting line
didn't exist anymore.
They were all behind us.
And I was our fourth man.
And as this race developed,
it was very calm.
It was, it was, it was almost
surreal, because here we
are running a
national championship,
and it was like I was out
for one of our threshold runs
with our buddies.
And I do remember
at one point-- and I
think it's one of the
only times I've ever
seen Bob Larsen get excited.
It was about halfway
through the race,
and we came out of the
clearing for a very short time.
And we were running like
in a little loop area,
and Bob saw that we had
four guys in the top 10.
And he started yelling.
And he normally never yells.
He started yelling
at us in excitement,
look around, telling
us where everybody was,
so we realized
what was happening.
We were blowing the field away.
BOB LARSEN: So I got down to
the other end of the course
where you come out of the woods.
It was the only place
you could really
catch people to go in and
come out of this open area,
back in the woods and then
on to the finish line.
And so here comes Terry,
running really well.
And here comes Kirk
running really well.
Here comes Tom and Dave.
Where's Ed?
Where's Ed?
Where's Ed?
Does anybody see Ed?
No Ed.
And our two guys are
going back into the woods
again right over here,
and all of a sudden,
over here, I see Ed,
finally, and I yell,
look, you've got to move up.
We got it.
Ed moves from 500th to eighth,
and we win the dang thing.
TOM LUX: The elation
to win that meet
was just beyond expectations,
beyond our dreams.
Later on that night
I remember sitting
at a bar with the guys
and Bob, and, again,
I saw Bob get excited.
He just stopped for a moment.
He goes, we're
national champions.
The neatest thing was
going back in the hotel.
And the guys from the Colorado
Track Club are calling home,
and somebody called the
Jamul Toads just beat us,
and they're trying to explain
how the heck that happened.
You didn't have [inaudible]
fly home with them either.
They were so angry at me.
you know.
And I had to fly back with
them to Colorado, you know.
And they were just angry.
You could just see
it in their faces.
And there was like,
you know, how could you
do this to us sort of speak.
And I think they just
assumed that they
were going to win the race.
As Coach Bob would say,
it doesn't matter your time,
and it doesn't
matter who you beat
that should have beaten you.
On that day, you were
the best, and no one can
ever take that away from you.
And that is something that has
carried with me for, you know,
my whole life.
Because when you do
something in a positive way,
it can never change.
It can never be erased.
You can imagine how
irritated it was for people
to lose to these guys.
I mean, talk about
rubbing it in.
If you lose to these
guys, your life sucks.
In late 1970s, I
was kind of looking
to make a move back to coaching
at a four-year college.
The way I ended up
at UCLA was Jim Bush,
who was the head coach
and had a lot of success
there, called and
wanted me to be
his assistant with all
the distance events,
plus the four jumping events.
And it was a great opportunity,
and I decided to take the job.
he had a thirst
to become the best he could.
To be offered a coaching
position at UCLA, that's
a storied track and field
tradition that I don't
think my dad could pass up.
when Bob came in,
he was given the pole
vault and the high jump.
And Bob did a great job
making that transition.
over coached any event.
I look for two or
three key things
that you could watch
for and correct
and concentrate on
those, because that was
the key to that event for me.
And by making it that
simple with great athletes,
I think we got the job done.
Here's a guy who's
got his volume turned down to
a low level, but the wisdom
that the guy had
was pretty vast.
greatest athletes really
learn from someone like that.
They give you a little
bit more ability
to do things on your own.
So he kind of stood back and
he watched us and he gave
simple pointers that
we could improve on,
and we just had a
great relationship.
BOB LARSEN: You can't
absorb a lot of material
when you're competing.
Your blood is in your heart and
your legs, not in your head.
So you got to keep
it short, concise.
Everybody's yelling.
So if I say it softly, and I
say it strong enough so they can
hear it, it's going to stick.
Of course everybody
wants to hear their coach.
You want to hear, tell
me to do something.
Am I doing this right?
Is it-- you know, cheer for me.
Let me know that you're
happy with what I'm doing.
And I remember he would
just say, good job, Beth.
Or go.
Or get up on that person's side.
I mean, it was always
like one or two words.
It was never, OK, now I
want you to go do this.
It was just a distinct go.
I knew that what I was saying
had quite a bit of impact.
And that it didn't
have to be shouted.
It didn't have to
come with emotion.
It was appealing to
their analytical side.
style was intellectual
and very cool and calm
and very confident,
which made me confident.
And I think it made the other
athletes very confident.
BOB LARSEN: But it is like--
a little bit like playing chess.
You've got to hold your
emotions down a little bit
so you can think clearly.
It's being analytical,
making good decisions,
because you're relaxed enough
to let your brain operate
in key, tight situations.
So he didn't do a lot
of preparation the day of.
It would always be
prior to the race.
And for me that's good,
because I like to sleep on it
and think on it
and know what I'm
going to do and have a plan.
And he would go
through the whole plan.
And he would talk about
what would happen.
And day of, he
would just say, go.
DAVE DANIELS: One of the
things that really comes
to mind for me, and
it's just for me
is exactly what Bob was about.
It was the District 8 meet,
the Pac-10 Championships.
It was my senior year.
So we show up at
Stanford the day before.
And, you know, Coach wants us
to go out and run the course.
I mean it was pouring rain.
I mean, it wasn't
just a drizzle.
I mean, it was pouring rain.
It was windy.
It was cold.
It was horrible
conditions out there.
But we're out there running,
you know, the course.
BOB LARSEN: I wanted to
take a look at the course
and have the guys look at
it, too, because you can take
advantage of some
of those things
if you can do a little bit
better than anybody else.
It was an unusual
circumstance, and I
was fortunate I saw that this
could be a coachable moment,
and it turned out
to be just that.
And he comes up to
a big grassy hill,
and he says, OK, now I
want everybody to like run,
and I want you to slide on
this hill, because he says,
tomorrow, the course
is going to be wet,
you're probably going to slip.
So let's just let's
just practice slipping.
You know.
So it's like, for
god's sakes, you know?
Yes, I was aware
that there was--
I was not the popular guy--
the popular coach, but you
know, going into a championship,
I'm pretty driven.
We get up the next
morning, and it's raining,
but it's I mean,
it's like a tenth
of what it was the day before.
So we're kind of walking
around the hotel,
and you can hear
another team's talk,
and everybody's complaining
about the weather.
You know, it's raining, and
it's wet, and it's cold.
And we're all looking
at each other going,
it's awesome out right now.
You know what I mean?
Compared to yesterday
what we just did?
It was great.
I hit that hill that
we practiced sliding on
during the race, and I
actually slipped and fell,
and, you know,
it's kind of like,
there's lots going through
your head, but at the same time
I'm thinking, we
practiced this yesterday.
And the first thing
that dawned on me
was that I was actually sliding
faster than guys were running.
So I just picked my feet up.
I passed three guys,
jumped up, and kept going.
So all that stuff from
the day before somehow
came back and helped all of us.
We weren't favored to
win that race that day,
but by a point or
two, we beat Arizona.
It felt good.
It just felt really good.
I always thought I have to get
the best for each individual.
And if you do the best
for each individual,
then you're going to
have a great team.
But the individual came first.
He also worked on
strengthening your mind.
Not to doubt yourself in being
able to accomplish something.
So when you come out here to
race, it's like, you know,
the sky's the limit.
After a while, I
stopped kind of believing
what I was thinking,
and I just believed
what he was telling me.
And when I followed
that, that was by far
when I was the most successful.
JIM ORTIZ: You know,
he wanted me to really
focus on the steeplechase.
And I wanted to be
a 1500-meter runner.
And I kind of, OK, I'll run it.
No, I think you can
do well in this event.
You know, this is a great event.
Nobody wants to run the steeple.
I'll do it.
And, you know what?
He was right.
I mean, I don't have a meet
record in any other event
but that steeplechase.
And had it not been for Coach
Larsen and his infinite wisdom,
saying, Jimmy, you need to run
the steeplechase, you know,
I may not have that
UCLA-USC dual meet record.
I never asked
them to do something
I didn't feel they were
fully capable of doing,
even in a race.
And they knew that, and
I'd tell them before.
I'd say, I'm not going
to ask you to do anything
I'm not seeing in that race.
You see their back.
Everybody looks
strong from the back.
But I see their face.
And if I think they're going
as hard as they possibly
could and maybe they
can't keep it up,
then I'm going to tell you.
NIEDNAGEL: He just knew how
to say this is what you need.
And when he would say it,
you would believe him--
or I would believe him.
ANTHONY CURRAN: I know he could
bring out the best in you.
And he probably
figured that out.
We weren't aware of it.
But he was probably aware
of what he had to do
to get the best out of us.
I think for me, the key to
Bob Larsen during my years
there was the
amount of ownership
that he gave he gave
me to my own running.
I think there are a
lot of other coaches
that micromanage everything
that he does so they can be
the guy that can thump
their chest and say,
I made that athlete.
That's definitely
not Bob Larsen.
They never give it to
the fifth place coach.
They give it to the
first place coach.
I was so shocked I didn't
even know what to say.
kind of his famous thing
is this arm movement
when he says you're done.
It's just-- if you were doing a
work out and not doing so good,
it's just, you're done.
You're done.
And if you got the double
you're done, you were done.
You were toast.
Hey, Beth.
A hand across.
I mean every-- I'm sure every
person will say the same stuff.
How are you doing, Dan?
He's just got his thing.
Well, it was--
it was the coolest gesture.
And I use it today.
I mean, whenever I see him,
I have to take the hand,
and I just go like that.
There's nothing more to it.
And that's what I look at Bob,
and I go, he is even keel,
and everything's going to be OK.
So he would have a soda can.
Usually Hansen's
or whatever, right?
And he would take it
for the last drop.
You know, get every
little bit of the can.
I've never seen a man who
can get 13 ounces of Diet
Coke out of a 12-ounce can.
Have you ever seen that?
And he had his same bag that
he had from Grossmont days
taped up on the handle.
And you know, we were like,
you make enough money, Bob,
can you get a new bag?
So he just likes his things.
He just is Bob.
It doesn't change.
He doesn't change, which is
what is so cool about Bob.
BOB LARSEN: In 1984, I became
the head coach at UCLA.
A big honor.
And I had some definite ideas
of things I wanted to do.
I wanted more guys
coaching individual events.
I thought that was the key.
And what we had done
was to emphasize sprints
with our scholarships,
those limited scholarships,
and the throws.
And those guys, especially, were
very, very strong on our team.
But then we had enough guys
that were willing to walk on
in the other events,
we had to be grateful
that these guys were
willing to do that to be
part of the UCLA crew.
big years were '87,
'88, when he had Kevin Young.
He had Steve Lewis.
He had Danny Everett.
So obviously UCLA's
a track school,
and he had amazing coaches,
like John Smith, and Andy
Curren, and Art Venegas.
And I think Bob was very
instrumental in just getting
those quality coaches
and being involved
in that recruiting
process to bring
in those top-caliber athletes.
Going back to the
whole recruiting process.
I was really close
to just making
that decision to go to USC.
Oh my god, the UCLA
coach is calling me!
I can run in college?
It didn't even occur to me
that I could run in college--
I was a 4:30 miler.
And at the last minute,
I got a call from UCLA,
and Coach Bob Larsen, John
Smith came to my house
in northern California, sat
down with me and my mom,
and the rest is history.
And so Larsen
called me and said,
well, you know, in this
typical monotone, hello.
Coach Pat says you've
got some potential.
You know those are not
necessarily the times
we're looking for, but we'll
let you try out for the team.
But he had this kind of
you know, calmness about him,
you know, he just,
I don't know if it
was in his voice
or his tone, but I
just kind of believed him.
Oh my god.
It was like-- it was
almost like that.
You're talking to God in
a monotone, deep voice.
And I still-- I'll never forget
that day of talking to him.
He believes I can run at UCLA.
Just made me feel comfortable.
Made my mother feel comfortable
that if did go to UCLA that I
would been in great hands.
And I was.
So yeah.
So definitely a good decision.
The fact that he
took a chance on me
was something I'll
never ever, ever forget.
STEVE LEWIS: Coaching staff.
The culture, I mean that
was very key for me.
With Coach Bob
Larsen, I mean, he
was basically like the general,
pulling all the strings,
putting all the pieces
of the puzzle together.
Bob did create an environment
where we enjoyed our teammates.
We enjoyed the sport.
He would get out
there and run with us.
Very slow, but, you know, I
still, I still needed that.
And it was just a culture
that he developed where
we all pretty much got along.
I mean, I came in as a freshman,
and you know, I was embraced.
I mean, they didn't
look at me as a threat.
They looked at me kind of
as a piece of the puzzle.
And I just gelled right
off the bat with all them.
Fortunately, I had really
great training partners.
And that was kind of
a big thing for me.
So Henry Thomas.
Kevin Young.
Mike Marsh.
Danny Everett.
We basically knew how
to run with each other.
We gauged off each
other when we competed.
I mean it's kind of like, you
know, birds flying in unison.
We just hummed around the track.
BOB LARSEN: In '87, we
don't know yet that we
were going to be that good.
It just came at the end.
And we'd had guys injured,
and all of a sudden, everybody
was healthy.
For the NCAAs I think we
were ranked fourth or fifth,
and we scored over 80
points, and 18 guys,
and I think almost everyone had
a PR in the NCAA Championships.
It was just a phenomenal
team and a phenomenal effort.
Well, '87 team
was a great team.
They actually won the
championship that year.
80 or 81 points.
The next year, we
actually upped it by one.
Well, when you think about
the members on that team,
I think between us, we have
about nine Olympic medals,
several world records.
We were the first mile-relay
team to go under three minutes.
four-by-four-- team
was the first team to
run under three minutes
in in the mile relay.
A huge accomplishment.
They ran 2:59.91.
I still remember that time.
And it was absolutely
STEVE LEWIS: That particular
team-- the UCLA team in '88--
would have beat most countries
in the Olympics that year.
So, yeah, I would
say it was the best
collegiate team in history.
BOB LARSEN: Those two teams
are often referred to as two
of the greatest collegiate
teams of all time.
UCLA was special, and then we
had the special coaches that
would draw these kids to UCLA.
To this day, I feel like I had
so many wonderful things happen
during my career at each level,
but that was collegiately,
you know, how can you
do more than that?
The UCLA Bruins were
absolutely phenomenal
at the 1988 Olympics.
UCLA track and
field in particular
played an instrumental
role in all the hardware
that was brought home to US.
It's a testament
to UCLA tradition.
It's a testament to John Smith.
It's a-- I'd like to think,
it's a testament to my father.
[music playing]
BOB LARSEN: In 1993, I became
aware of an athlete that was
running very well in San Diego.
I always watched the San
Diegans because I had
spent so much time down there.
And his name was Meb Keflezighi.
So I got more information
from some of the people that
were watching him,
including Ron Vavra,
who was really high on him.
Meb grew up in Eritrea
during the time in which they
were involved in the 30-year war
for independence from Ethiopia.
What really jumped
out at me was how
difficult their life had been.
Young men were being hunted
down and forced to be fighters
even at a very young age.
And food was scarce.
And it was just very,
very hard times in Eritrea
for this family.
I mean growing
up in Eritrea, it
was a war-torn
country, obviously,
I was born in the middle of it.
You know, you're
dealing with war,
so your life is always
in danger daily.
There was also a drought
and famine in Eritrea.
And that was also a big concern.
And a lot of families lost
kids, because of malnutrition
and all these things.
hopefully you'll have a dinner,
but that's not always the case.
My father was
involved in the independence
movement, not as a soldier,
as a supplier.
A result of that role within
the independence movement,
he was wanted by
the Ethiopian army.
option was to stay there.
And if he stays there, he is
going to prison or killed.
Together my parents have to make
a big decision to do something.
And my dad has to walk
225 miles to Sudan.
But that's not the biggest
journey that he was scared of.
It's like leaving
six kids and a wife
behind that was even bigger.
You know, God worked
in mysterious way,
and he made it to Sudan.
He got two different jobs.
And then made his way to Italy.
father saved money and made
connections in order to bring
the rest of the family over,
we reunited.
My dad left when, you
know, when I was five
years old or so, and
then I didn't see
him till I was 10-year-old.
so that was in 1986.
We made it to Italy--
Milano, Italy.
We lived there for
about a year and a half,
maybe a little-- close
to about two years.
And then on October 21st,
1987, the family landed
in San Diego, California.
From Eritrea to Italy,
it was all about safety.
But from Italy to
the United States,
I think that journey was more
about educational opportunities
for the kids.
BOB LARSEN: And they
got to San Diego,
and here's a family
without means, and for them
to live in a very
small house, and there
were 10 children, mother,
and father, a tough life.
But what's overwhelming is
instead of having all the kids
work during the
school year for money
that the family dearly
needed, they were to come home
and they were going to study.
They'd clear off the kitchen
table, put their books down,
and they would all study.
And then clear it off, have
dinner, put the books down,
and study again.
That was the routine.
didn't speak English,
and my parents and
they all they told us,
this is a land of opportunity,
be sure you maximize it,
because we didn't have it.
Your uncles didn't have it.
Your cousins didn't have it.
So don't waste this opportunity.
And as anything, they wanted
A or B in the classes.
We have no idea that
running was a sport.
But in seventh grade,
Coach Dick Lord
said you know, to the class, if
you run hard, put the effort,
you're going to get A or
B. But if I see you goof
around or mess around,
you're going to get D or F.
Well, parents wanted A or B,
so I just ran as hard as I can.
I ran a
He couldn't believe
that I ran 5:20.
And he says, you're
going to be an Olympian,
and I had no idea what
the Olympics were.
time I saw Meb,
he was at UCLA, at a
high school invitational.
And I went out and
watched him run.
And he's already pretty
efficient, just natural, covers
ground pretty well.
I decided to go down there
and make a home visit.
So I asked Eric Peterson
if he wanted to go along,
and he said sure.
year coaching at UCLA
was Meb's senior
year in high school.
And I remember, you know, Meb
with the flat-top haircut,
and he was obviously, you
know, extraordinarily talented.
went down there.
And I was practicing
Mebrahtom Keflezighi.
Not easy to say.
A lot of people were
saying it incorrectly.
So when I got to the
door, I introduced
myself to his father.
Hello, Mr. Keflezighi.
And kind of got a good
feeling that maybe
not anybody else doing a home
visit will get that one right.
When Coach Larsen and Eric
Peterson came to my house,
Coach Larsen was pretty timid--
or not timid, but reserved.
You know, Coach Larsen was busy,
probably practicing my name,
you know.
BOB LARSEN: We had a wonderful
afternoon and spent quite a bit
of time and talked
to him at length.
ERIC PETERSON: Meb blew us away.
The thing that's special and
unique about Meb is who he is,
and his character,
and his maturity,
and his level of
commitment, and all
of those-- all of those things
showed at a very early age.
But when we got home,
Eric and I talked about it,
and talked to Art Venegas,
too, because I didn't want
to again load up in my area,
which is distance running,
so it wasn't a--
this wasn't high on
our list of priorities.
But thinking about that family,
and what they had accomplished,
coming from nothing,
just you know,
I could feel it in my heart.
So going on just kind of
faith and that this family
was special, that's why I
gave him the full scholarship.
And to this day,
I jokingly said,
I didn't give a full
scholarship to Meb,
I gave a full scholarship
to the Keflezighi family.
UCLA at the time
was the best academic
and athletic combination,
which fit my need,
and that's probably why I went.
Because I knew I'm
going to be a runner,
but I didn't know how long
I was going to be a runner.
But the education from UCLA
is getting me a lot more
down the road, and that's
why I went to UCLA.
ERIC PETERSON: I just think that
they from the very beginning
had a very good understanding
of each other's personality.
And I think they had a
tremendous level of trust
in each other in terms of Meb
was going to let Bob push him,
and, you know, Bob was eager
to work with and develop
an athlete of Meb's talent.
You know, first
when I came to UCLA,
he just asked what
I had been doing.
So he liked to know the
person as an individual
and what works for him or her.
best part about Meb
in his running style, his stride
mechanics, and everything,
is he repeats it over
and over and over again.
He doesn't fall apart.
Even when he's
getting beat, it's
hard to force him
out of that cadence
and that smoothness,
that rhythm that he just
probably pretty naturally has.
know, when Meb was there,
he was one of those guys that
would just have that work ethic
and focus, and you'd
just see him running.
But there was something
different about him.
He had a rhythm with his stride.
He had a rhythm with
his focus that was
different than most athletes.
And I talk about
rhythm all the time
with athletes is they have it.
You know, the Michael Jordans,
and you know, the Mike Tullys.
They just have rhythm.
other thing he does
is he works endlessly on drills.
And I would, I think, be
right on the mark in saying
he's as a distance
runner has done more
drills than any other
distance runner of all time,
because he never misses.
Meb's pretty flexible,
obviously, because he
works on this all the time.
Meb's gone through this routine
ever since he was at UCLA.
Probably in high school, too.
But it's a complete routine,
and it's all business-like,
and it's done one after another.
You know, some of it goes
back to things we were doing
in Europe, way back
when I first went
over there in the '60s and '70s
and took coaches over there.
Really helpful to see what
the Europeans were doing,
because they didn't
have the guys
with as much natural ability
as we did in those days.
So they were more innovative as
coaches than American coaches
and were trying to show the
Americans what was possible.
It's kept him competing
at a very high
level at an age
in which many guys
are no longer able to compete.
Great team guy.
You know, everybody sees the
talent and the perseverance
and coming back from
injuries and all that.
But he's a team guy.
And I even had to encourage
him to run faster in workouts
and sometimes leave
the guys, because he
wanted to help each
and every one of them
to get better and better.
Yeah, you couldn't
have a better guy.
He really enjoyed our team,
but he was so much better
than us that he was by himself.
It was, it was fun
being Meb's teammate.
But I was always on the
go, [inaudible] academically.
And I would call him, or go by
his office and say, hey, coach,
I can't make the 3:00
practice because I
have academics paper due.
Bear in mind that English
was not my first language,
so I have to work extra,
extra hard at UCLA to survive
or to make good grades.
And he understood that, and
he just said, you know what,
thanks for coming
and telling me.
Go ahead and do your paper.
I remember going on
road trips on the plane,
sitting next to Meb,
he'd read his book.
He'd be circling words.
You know, at the end of
the thing, he'd go over,
and he'd say, what does this
word mean, what does this word
mean and stuff, you know?
wasn't easy for Meb.
English was still, you
know, his second language.
He had to spend a lot of time
working diligently to get
the grades he wanted to get.
And he still had in his mind,
it had to be A's and B's.
I mean, I've been
very fortunate to have many
accomplishments that, you know,
I never thought I would--
I might have imagined at one
point, but made them a reality.
Been coming to the United
States 26 years ago,
I just wanted to learn
English, plain and simple,
and see what I can do.
And I had no ambition of sports.
Graduating from UCLA is one
of my biggest accomplishments
that I probably
framed that diploma,
because that's
something that I worked
very, very hard to earn it.
the right elevation.
Mammoth Lakes is a
little over 7,000 feet.
And we can go to higher
elevation and lower elevations
very quickly.
And we've got a lot of
relatively level running areas.
All these things come
together to produce
a wonderful atmosphere
for training
for professional
distance runners up here.
[music playing]
We're at 9,000 feet.
It's called Horseshoe Lake.
It's one of the lakes
in the lake basin
up here above Mammoth Lakes.
But this is why the town
is named Mammoth Lakes
is this lake basin up here.
It's pretty flat, and we like
to come up to 9,000 feet,
where it's a little bit cooler.
So you get a little
better workout in
and the recovery is better,
so you can do more work,
you know, on succeeding days.
Here comes Meb, so we'll get
ready, finish off these loops.
I just wait for a
downhill to catch up.
[music playing]
You felt all right
once you got warmed up?
Still hurts.
The left?
Or just overall?
The altitude.
Towards the end of my career
at UCLA, I was thinking ahead,
and I wanted to
retire while I still
had the energy and enthusiasm
to do other things.
I was looking for ways of
putting together a training
group that would be effective in
helping bring American distance
running back to a competitive
level internationally,
because in 2000, we had
really probably a low point
of American distance running.
Throughout the 1970s,
American distance running
was doing really well.
Frank Shorter had
a big role in that
when he won the gold medal
in 1972, came back in 1976
and won a silver medal.
Among that group was obviously
Frank Shorter, but also
Bill Rodgers, Alberto Salazar,
and several others that were as
good as anybody in the world.
On the female side
was when in 1984,
during the Olympic
marathon in LA,
Joanie Benoit Samuelson
won the gold medal.
There's probably
various factors.
It's not one or two things,
but there was a huge decline
in American distance running
between, I would say,
the mid-1980s to the year 2000.
JOE VIGIL: I did a 27-year study
on the numbers of marathons
that had met the 2:20 standard.
In 1980, we had 254 runners
that hit 2:20 or under.
And from 1980 to 2007,
we only had 57 people.
So it was an incremental
decrease for 27 years.
And at the same
time that there
was a decline in the
performances by Americans,
there was just increasing
amazing performances
by East Africans.
Kenyans, Ethiopians, maybe
Moroccans, and other countries.
So then I decided to
do the Kenyan study.
They had one runner in 1980
that hit 2:20 or under.
In 2007, they had 589.
And a lot of people
felt like the East
Africans, the Ethiopians
and the Kenyans have some
genetic advantages or just
multiple reasons
for them dominating.
And they were so talented
in running so well that I
think that most Americans
and Western Europeans
just sort of gave up.
And I think the low point
was seen in the year 2000
when only one American male
and one American female
was able to qualify for the
Olympic marathon in Sydney.
Coach Larsen said, hey, there
isn't a good explanation
why the Americans
aren't running the way
they were running 30 years ago.
Things should
improve, not decline.
the '80s and '70s
there was different cities
around the country that
had these truck clubs and
long distance running clubs,
and a lot of the best runners
from around the country
would end up migrating
to these different clubs.
There was a big
training base in Florida,
where Frank Shorter
was part of that group.
There was a huge
group of runners
together training in Boston.
Bill Rodgers was in that group
and many other really good
runners were part of that group.
So I think that
throughout the years,
the focus in the group
training was lost.
And then everything
kind of became fragmented,
and runners were just training
by themselves wherever.
And what it was going to
take was getting Americans,
in a small, tightly knit groups
training together like they
used to in the '80s.
BOB LARSEN: In, I guess
it was early 2000,
I was going to put together
a training group again,
maybe similar to the
Jamul Toads from the 1970s
when they won the national
cross-country title.
And try to create
something similar.
Of course, we wanted to
add altitude training.
JOE VIGIL: 95% of the medals
that been won in the Olympic
Games and in the
World Championships
had been won by people
that either train
at or live at altitude.
So it made sense that we
should be using altitude
as a component of our training.
DEENA KASTOR: When I graduated
from college in 1996,
I was looking at
what the best runners
were doing around the world.
Gold medalists, world record
holders, and every one of them
was living and
training at altitude.
If you're going to
compete against the best,
what are the Moroccans,
the Ethiopians,
the Kenyans, where they train?
And so it was a no-brainer
to me that I needed to find
a group training at altitude.
I landed in Alamosa, Colorado,
under the tutelage of Coach
Joe Vigil for four years.
lived at altitude.
I was coaching at altitude.
I had different teams come
in for altitude training.
So he understood
the effects, and he
also taught physiology at Adams
State for many, many years.
JOE VIGIL: My education
was in science.
And I have three
master's degrees,
and then I got my doctorate
in exercise physiology.
And everything I learned was
leaning towards the physiology
of distance running.
And then Joe and I talked
about why couldn't we get
American distance running
back to at least where
we were in the '70s and '80s.
We discussed that,
decided to put together
a more formal training
group, and train
like we did in the past.
decided that the team
should be housed at Mammoth
Lakes at an altitude of 8,000--
which, incidentally, is
the optimal altitude.
Between 7,500 and 8,000.
2,400 meters is perfect for
hematological changes to occur.
Altitude is very effective
for a lot of people,
because the kidneys produce
EPO, and that EPO then
produces red blood cell mass.
And the more red
blood cells you have,
the more oxygen you can
transport to the muscles.
can keep you humble.
We'd train, and it was tough.
It was hard.
And it makes you feel
like you're out of shape.
In 2001, we heard that
some of the top Americans
were going to go for
the American record
at 10,000 meters up at
Stanford at their invitational
in early May.
We went up to Mammoth.
We got three weeks in.
We wanted more time,
but we only had three.
And I had confidence that he
was going to take to altitude
really well, and I
wanted to see what
he could really do
in an all-out effort
after coming down from altitude.
ANNOUNCER: And here we go.
three weeks of training,
I remember, I didn't
think I was in shape.
And Coach Larsen and
I discussed about it
to say, hey, let's
give it a shot,
because, hey, you've
been at altitude.
Even at altitude, you're
not going to hit the things
you hit at sea level.
And there's great competition,
and why not give it a shot?
And we gave it a 110% shot.
ANNOUNCER: 65.2 at 400 meters.
Now, ladies and gentlemen, to
be on American record pace,
you need to average
right around 65.6.
So they are in fact just a
hair under on the first lap.
MEB KEFLEZIGHI: You're there,
somebody's telling you.
65, 63, 61, and whatnot.
So you play that in your head,
and we're keeping at the pace.
a night in which
perfect conditions at Stanford.
A lot of people in the stands.
A lot of noise.
A lot of support.
And Scott Davis on the--
as the announcer realized what
was happening that Meb was
sticking on this pace that
would be American record,
it got more and more exciting.
ANNOUNCER: 3:13.4.
Still converts to
a sub-27:00 race.
Altitude does work.
Your mind says, I'm
going all out, all out,
but your body says, keep going.
And that's the beauty of it.
the race progressed,
he was behind a couple
other Americans, gradually,
they fell back.
He got right on the Kenyans
who were in the race
and matching them
stride for stride.
ANNOUNCER: Meb running
in fourth position.
Six laps to go.
Definitely for sure with 800
meters left, I knew I had it.
I just made sure I
didn't pull a hamstring.
Broke the record
by seven seconds,
close to seven seconds.
Like wow.
I always dreamed I would be on
the cover of "Track and Field"
and that race got me there.
But the picture I
was not so pleasant,
because I was like, so
excited, and I actually did it,
and I had my mouth really wide
open, and thrill of a lifetime.
But it's, you know, it
was a special moment.
ANNOUNCER: [inaudible]
for Meb Keflezighi,
breaking a 15-year-old
record at 10,000 meters.
We'll have the official time
here for you momentarily.
BOB LARSEN: When Meb broke the
American record and ran 27:13,
it didn't take too much
more arm-twisting for people
to be convinced.
It convinced them that
this is something that more
people should be trying.
And so the two of us started
selling the group on this
is where we would
go for altitude.
Obviously, it was
a 15-year-old record
that was being broken,
and everybody knew
about Mammoth.
And it's like, well,
how did that happen?
And then the next day
is you know, Mammoth.
Mammoth, Mammoth.
BOB LARSEN: So in 2001, we
became a close-knit team,
led certainly by Meb and Deena.
And with Meb's success, and
as others on the team produced
wonderful results, it
became clear to everybody
that it was worth
sacrificing being
away from friends and family
to train hard at Mammoth Lakes.
one of the greatest
benefits I found
being in Mammoth Lakes
with Meb, Coach Larsen, Coach
Vigil and the rest of our team
in Running USA, there was
the amazing empowerment
of being together with
like-minded people.
It was a training
camp atmosphere.
We fed off of each
other every day.
The enthusiasm.
If you came to practice sluggish
one day, the rest of the team
was there to lift you up.
So it was a really empowering
experience from day one.
MEB KEFLEZIGHI: It was a great
place to just be focused.
There's not a lot
of distractions.
You're photogenic.
You're handsome.
That's true.
Thanks for noticing.
You're spot on.
That's that sharp wit
I was telling you about.
BOB LARSEN: Coach Joe Vigil
and I, when we teamed up,
I could sense right away
this was going to be special.
Our philosophies
are very similar,
but we're just different enough.
The combination, I
thought, was ideal
that maybe we would say
something a little bit
differently to an athlete, and
they would hear it a little bit
based scientifically.
Bob was always
based intuitively.
And we got along well.
I think Coach Vigil and Coach
Larsen are extremely different.
And I think that they're
so successful because they
do have unique
ways in motivating
and inspiring their athletes.
And I've gained a lot
from each of them.
BOB LARSEN: The natural
progression for our training
group was first to
try to establish an
international-level competence.
The next step would be, could
we do this at the Olympic games?
DEENA KASTOR: I think Coach
Vigil and Bob Larsen tried
to put together really
specific planning and training
as we prepared for
the Athens Marathon.
We knew we were going to have
a hot marathon on our hands,
so we overdressed
in training, wearing
long sleeves in the middle
of 80-degree summer days.
And we consulted
with physiologists
on how we can really
gain an edge at altitude.
I had been to Athens a number
of times for the marathon.
I knew what course was.
I came to Mammoth, and I found
a course identical to it.
We ran it seven times.
Meb and Deena.
The only difference was
we ran it at 8,000 feet.
That was at sea level.
You talk about preparation.
DEENA KASTOR: I'm not sure
if it was the course exactly.
They're physiologists
and coaches
and apply so much of what
they've learned over the years
to what we do.
But I feel like they're are
also very good psychologists.
So the fact that they were
putting that into our minds
that Athens was that goal on
that day was really impactful.
JOE VIGIL: About an
hour before Deena
boarded the bus to go to
Marathonas, the race started.
I called her up and
said, Deena, do you
have any last-minute questions?
And she says, you know, Coach,
I feel fitter and stronger
than at any point in my life.
Inside I said, great.
And she said, I run segments of
the course for three days now.
It's easier.
It's cake compared to Mammoth.
And she said, I believe
I'm going to medal today.
BOB LARSEN: For Deena's
race, Joe and Deena
had a plan that involved
staying off the early pace
and not going with the leaders,
but staying true to that pace
all the way through.
And the plan worked
to perfection.
DEENA KASTOR: I started catching
girls when I finally got
some feedback along the course.
Oh, you're in 12th place.
Now you're in 10th place.
I started counting myself.
And as I saw Elfenesh Alemu
from Ethiopia up in front of me,
I thought, oh my gosh, I'm
in fourth place right now.
If I pass her, I'm
getting a medal.
And so I reeled her in
and just as I passed her,
I got this little
excitement inside of me,
and someone in very clear
English on the side of the road
said, way to go, girl.
You're now in fourth place.
And I thought, oh, no, all
that work for fourth place?
Like, I have to wait--
I really swear I was
counting properly.
So I'm going to wait until
I get into the stadium.
I got into the stadium
and the announcer
in beautiful Greek
voice said my name
and something that followed
that I had no idea what it was.
And then someone
in French came on.
A woman in French came
on and said, Deena
Castor and something in French.
And, again, I don't French.
I said, please god,
make this next language
be Spanish or English, so I can
understand what place I'm in.
And the announcer said,
Deena Kastor is going
to capture the bronze medal.
And that's when I burst into
tears, because so much work had
gone into that from the
training days and in Mammoth
with Coach Vigil and
Bob Larsen and Meb.
And then all of my
family and friends
that were in the stadium,
a very huge crowd
in the stadium that
was cheering for me.
It was quite a
special moment to be
able to share that with them.
Definitely aware what Deena
and I have done over the years
is kind of reciprocate.
If I go before her, she
gets energy from me.
Or if she goes before me,
I get energy from her.
In Athens, she was a week
before me with the women's race.
And she did it.
And it was foreshadow
almost for me.
What we're doing is right.
I was so happy for her.
And kind of confirmed that
we were on the right track
and now it was my turn
to see if I could do it.
day for the men,
it was extremely hot, humid.
We knew it was going
to be that way.
So it was essential that
he pace himself wisely.
And in that race when he
went by the 10-mile mark,
I'm standing there
and looking at him,
and he's signals me
with a thumbs up,
and I'm going
yelling, just perfect,
and he looked like he was the
strongest guy in the course.
He ended up running
2:11.30 and got the silver
and had a real shot at
the gold late in the race.
For me it was pretty special
just because my personal coach
happened, you know, when
[inaudible] the finish line,
he's, like, he's the head
coach for the distance runner.
To be able to have
that moment was huge.
usual, he one-upped me
by getting a silver medal, but
I couldn't be more proud that we
could pursue that
goal together and come
out victorious in pursuing it.
We came in with
two Olympic medals.
It wasn't Kenya.
It wasn't Ethiopia.
It wasn't any other country.
It was Mammoth Lakes,
California, with 7,500 people
that have two medals with
just one mile of each other
in this whole wide world.
I think with our
performances in Athens
that it really opened the
door for American athletes
to know that they can
compete on the world stage.
Altitude has worked, and
it's worked for years.
I don't credit it all to
what Meb and I have done,
but it was definitely
a part of the process.
And it's been amazing since then
to see how many middle distance
runners and distance runners
are on the award podiums
at world championships
and Olympic games.
When Joe and I
started this project,
it was really about trying
to bring America back
competitively, not just
about our group, or not just
to get our people
on the Olympic team.
In 2004 alone, if nothing
else came after that,
I think we would have
all been satisfied.
But obviously that wasn't
the end of the story.
But it was a big, huge
part of the story.
After Athens, Meb continued
to run at a very high level,
winning several championships.
Continued to-- outstanding, one
of the best American distance
running careers of all time.
And then ran into a major
problem in 2007, 2008 at
the Olympic trials, which
were held in December of 2007.
He had a stress
fracture in his hip,
didn't make the team
for 2008 Olympic games.
He literally had to crawl
around his house at one point.
It was at a point in
his career where he--
many athletes would
probably retire
with that type of injury, and
missing the Olympic games.
But Meb's drive was still there.
He continued to train,
got better and stronger,
and ended up winning New
York in 2009, which was
an inspiration to everybody.
Then he went on and made
the 2012 Olympic team,
including winning the Olympic
trials over a very tough field.
And going to London.
[street sounds]
Let's go, Meb!
Let's go!
Let's go, Meb!
Let's go!
BOB LARSEN: In London, he
had huge blister on his foot,
got the wrong fluid in
the first aid station,
and had a horrible side
ache, and looked terrible.
He went from being in front to
all the way back to about 20th.
always say running
to win doesn't mean
getting first place,
but getting the best
out of yourself.
At one point in London, I
thought about dropping out.
BOB LARSEN: They were
starting to run away from him.
I just yelled, hang on, Meb.
Come on, Meb.
Stay with it, Meb!
Come on, Meb.
you know what, I got New York.
I already have my silver medal
in the back of my pocket,
and why keep going,
but you know,
you're do it for
a greater cause.
You're running for
the United States.
BOB LARSEN: And then,
miraculously, he
comes around on the
last loop, and he's
finally looking good again.
And he's moving really well.
And passing guys.
And he's the best I've
ever seen at being
able to rally when seemingly
everything is wrong
and it's almost hopeless.
Just kept digging
and finished fourth.
BOB LARSEN: And here he comes.
He gets it all the way
down to fourth place.
And that again
was an inspiration
to everybody that's
followed Meb and followed
American distance running.
with the outcome,
obviously, but I really
wanted to get a medal,
and I think I was
capable of doing it,
but fourth place
is fourth place.
One, two, three!
Thank you.
BOB LARSEN: So another
special moment.
And one that came at an
age when a lot of people
doubted that he could
run like that anymore.
But Meb is writing history
as he goes and does these
special things even as he ages.
Probably if it wasn't for
that race, finishing fourth,
I would have been at the
Boston Marathon this year.
It was the spectators
that got killed,
and I was a spectator that day.
I just happened to leave
five minutes prior.
Otherwise, not the
same direction,
I was in there, just
as like they were,
but that's really unfortunate.
You know the bombing happened,
and then a couple hours later,
we were at the lobby at
the hotel, and they say,
are you going to come back?
I say, I have to come back.
It's not a choice.
I mean, I have to come
back just because I
want to support the people.
Hopefully, I'll be
healthy and running,
and, hopefully, I
can go for the win.
[starting gun]
ANNOUNCER: With the first
wave right on their heels,
the elite men take off.
I knew mile 4.5, 5 miles
that the defending champion
is not going to have his day.
And that's where I made a move.
And I said, OK, come.
Whoever wants to come,
come, and make it happen.
And I'm ready for the challenge.
Like I said, I wanted to run.
My whole point after
probably mile 8 is I'm
going to inspire people.
I'm just going to
inspire people.
I'm going to give it a shot.
Boston Strong.
Meb strong.
I'm going to run
as hard as I can,
and if somebody catches
me at the end, let it be.
I'll still be satisfied with it.
I will be, but they're going
to work hard to earn that.
ANNOUNCER: And right
now Meb Keflezighi
is trying to put some sort
of signature on this race.
I'm not sure what his
final intentions are,
but he's pulling away
from Joseph [inaudible]
as the two men combine together
to pull away from the pack.
So when he did go to the
lead and was out front,
I was comfortable
in the fact that he
wasn't running too fast.
You know what, I
wanted to be by myself.
By about 17 miles, I was
hurting pretty bad now,
having a foot problem,
and so basically I was
just saying, ignore the pain.
This is for the United States
and kept pushing and pushing.
The two times he had
run it, he never got
to the 21-mile mark,
which is at the top
of the hills in great shape.
And I said, if you
get to 21 this time
and you're feeling pretty good,
some great things can happen,
because you're so efficient
running down hill.
You know about 18.5, maybe
19, people are getting excited,
and get into it,
saying, USA, USA.
I'm like, USA, USA.
I'm like, I usually
give them thumbs up,
but I'm getting very
emotional and getting
carried with the crowd.
And I just say, use the
crowd to just drive you.
And he goes up through
the hills and gets to 21.
When he got to 21, phew.
This is going to be good.
at 22 miles into it,
I got a cramp on my
left side, and I'm like,
hmm, this is not good, I
think I might get caught.
ANNOUNCER: Second place runner
is in sight and getting closer.
This could be a little
hairy for Meb Keflezighi.
As we get closer to the
finish line, two of the Kenyans
appear on television,
and they say how quickly
they're approaching Meb.
ANNOUNCER: It is Wilson
Chebet in second place
who is gaining on
him at this point.
ANNOUNCER: Meb is going to
need one more little surge.
He's got to be drawing
tremendous energy
from the crowd.
That has got to help fuel him.
instinct, I guess,
something tell me to look to the
right, and I look to the right.
And I saw an orange shirt.
I have no idea who it
is, how fast he ran,
or what country he's
from, but I say,
I guess I'm going to get hunted.
But now, I'm like, slow down
or try to maintain the gap,
or extend the gap?
Nobody tells you.
You just got to fill in.
now 24 seconds for Meb.
Can he hold it together
is the question.
felt like throwing up.
I kind of started
throwing up, I'm saying,
he doesn't know that.
And you know, I'm
going to get caught,
but I worked too hard to get
here to lose in the last two
months, so keep working on
the form, use the crowd,
and just keep digging.
I mean I was in pain,
but at the same time,
got to do what you got to do.
ANNOUNCER: The men's
lead now we're hearing
has been shot down
to 15 seconds.
I had a disadvantage,
because I'm going forward,
and he's just targeting
me from behind.
How long has he been chasing me?
So it was kind of hard to have
to look back too periodically.
You don't want to
make it too obvious,
because then a sign of weakness.
And just do it
enough to, you know,
hopefully, he's not
looking-- he's looking down
instead of looking on my side.
ANNOUNCER: The clock
says 10 seconds now.
This is headed in the wrong
direction for Meb Keflezighi.
Looks like his legs are
tightening up a little bit.
He doesn't have
nearly the same stride
as he did not too long ago.
sneaking the peak.
OK, he knows what
the deal is here.
BOB LARSEN: They had
run so fast on that 10K,
and it looked like they were
going to catch and go by him.
And everybody felt that.
But when I zeroed
in on them, they
weren't executing their
mechanics as well as Meb was.
Meb was still doing all
those things he works
on endlessly, all those drills.
ANNOUNCER: It's down
to the six seconds.
You know six seconds.
And it was getting close.
I'm gettng panic attack myself.
And I knew there was a
right-hand turn coming
and when that turn
comes, sprint as hard
as I can to just diagonally,
not even follow the road,
but by the time he turns, just
make him say, what happened.
And that's what I did.
And was making a
left trn on Boylston,
and I took one more peek, and
it was more than once at least,
and crossed myself.
I said thank you, God, for
giving me this opportunity.
ANNOUNCER: This is it now.
Boylston Street is all Meb's.
Now he's joined,
but Chebet doesn't
look like has much left.
picked up the pace.
I can see the leg turnover.
It's changed dramatically
here since he turned here.
He saved something, I
think, for this move.
And he's got a tremendous shot
to win this race right now.
I used the crowd.
I used the spirit of
the victims and just
keep digging, keep digging.
And I really wanted to
do something in my mind
at the bombing site.
I wanted to grab a
flag or something.
But I'm like, this is
too important of a race.
ANNOUNCER: On the right of the
screen, Meb feels he's got it.
He's telling you when he does
that, I've got something left.
Frankline Chepkwany in
third place in the blue.
ANNOUNCER: Oh, these last
strides, they must be killers.
ANNOUNCER: He's happy.
He's saved something
for this, Al.
It's never over until the
tape touches your chest.
I mean, I'm still thinking,
we're on Boylston Street,
don't pull a hamstring.
Don't pull a hamstring.
Just stay mechanic.
You know.
Even when I'm looking
back, don't look too much
where you can tangle
your leg and fall,
you know, that would
be-- so you have to be.
Every step, every
move is calculated.
ANNOUNCER: Look at how
close this is going to be.
One, two, three.
One last look.
ANNOUNCER: An American will
win the Boston Marathon.
ANNOUNCER: Yes, he will.
And his name is Meb Keflezighi.
There's the line.
He's across.
I just felt like
screaming, obviously.
It's like, yeah, I did it.
ANNOUNCER: That took
all he's made of, Larry.
at a personal best.
Two hours, 8 minutes and 36
seconds by almost a minute.
About 50 seconds
a personal best.
And he will turn 39 on 5, Al.
This divine intervention
is because of what
happened last year, a
year ago for the bombing,
to change that to--
which I've been thinking
about for 365 days or more,
to say USA, USA, USA,
going through that,
and people on their
feet just cheering
to have an American win is
just a pretty cool deal.
[music - "star-spangled banner"]
You know and I feel you
know really happy that it all
came together for
me and the most
important day of marathoning.
I mean, it was--
all eyes were on Boston.
[music - "star-spangled banner"]
And, obviously, Coach
Larsen was there.
And I don't know, he
joked around and said,
who won the race or something.
You know typical of him, though.
And I gave him a hug.
BOB LARSEN: This is something
just beyond storybook
that's happening to
someone that you've
worked with for 20 years.
it was taking on the world
with a message what the training
camp in Mammoth with Deena
and I, Coach Joe Vigil,
and Coach Larsen started.
And couldn't help it to think,
you know, if we believe,
and we can do it, and
all came together.
And you know what?
This is a magical moment.
Fortunately, everybody
I ever coached, I really liked.
Really liked.
You kind of appreciated
them for who they were.
And then you try to coach
them the way they are.
Not Bob Larsen's system,
but what works for them.
No, Coach Larsen has
been an amazing person,
like a father figure to me.
And he's seen me grow
more than anybody else.
ANTHONY CURRAN: the one thing
that I respect about Meb
is in pole vaulting and a
lot of different sports,
people leave their coaches, and
they go to different coaches
around the country, thinking
they're going to get
something special from them.
And it's not special.
It's special in the athlete and
the athlete-coach relationship.
And, obviously, Meb realized
that his relationship with Bob
was a good relationship, and
it's still going on today.
So quite successful.
Am I still taller than him?
We really think
of Bob as a father figure.
It's a relationship
that started back
when Meb was just in high
school in his teenage years.
And here's Meb with
three kids, a wife,
and Bob has been there
every step of the way.
Beside the winner, Meb ran
the smartest race by far.
they're so much alike.
I see similar personalities.
They're both very
organized, very tenacious.
They get along so well,
and they know each other
so well that things get done
without anything being said,
because they think
so much alike.
That's the best way
I can describe it.
But it does mention the
coach here at the end.
I left that part out.
I'm trying to get
him to play that grandpa role.
Leave the kids behind with him
and while Meb and I get out.
We painted our hands.
You painted them, huh?
No, we get white sand.
Still working on it.
I think Bob makes
you understand how
important you are to the team.
I think he makes you feel
how important you are to him.
I think he takes a
personal interest
beyond the track in your lives.
He said to me, Jimmy,
the most important thing
for you is to
graduate from UCLA.
You need to get that
degree over anything else.
You know the running is
important, that's great,
but that education, that degree
is what's going to carry you
through the rest of your life.
I owe him for instilling
that in me from day one.
So that was really cool.
The one thing that
was unique with Bob
is he would relate
everything to not just
running but to life in general.
I've carried the skills he's
taught me into how I handle
my life, how I
handle my coaching,
how I handle my personal life.
I thought we had a Hollywood
star coming this way.
Look at you.
You know we still
have a relationship with
him today, because he cared
and doesn't just care
about winning at all costs,
but he wants you to
get it and to do well
and to be a part of your team.
You're not just a
pawn in his game.
I can't imagine being
in any other environment
where we worked any
harder than we worked.
And I can't think of being in
any environment where it was
more fun than where we were at.
I mean, it was a ball.
the same love for a guy
that did so much for us.
And it's remarkable
that somebody
can have that effect but--
and I think the reason
is he's a pure-hearted man.
DAN UNGRICHT: So it continues.
Larsen starts here Monte Vista.
He continues on.
He gets his athletes.
They continue on as
teachers, educators, coaches,
and it's just all spread out,
all over the whole world.
That's Larsen.
TOM LUX: Bob Larsen has magic.
I'm getting a little
emotional here.
There's something
about Bob that he can
get the best out of anybody.
beauty of Coach Larsen.
He allows you to kind of
grow on your own, you know.
He plants the seed a little bit.
He's there for
anything that you need.
But at the same time, you're
going to be going on your own,
so it's nurturing you to be
the best that you can be.
And not many coaches
are that way.
You know, he's a wise man,
and he's a great coach.
And beyond that, he's
a great human being.
[music playing]