There are few men I'd rather share a cup
of coffee with or have a conversation with in the area
than Herb Sheaner. The 85-year-old retired Jesuit track
coach is always entertaining, informative and -- more
than anything -- such an uplifting individual who goes
above and beyond to run a first-class track and field
meet every year.
the meet director for the Jesuit-Sheaner Relays, which
will enjoy its 46th meet this year. The meet begins at 8
a.m. Saturday at Jesuit's Haggar Stadium. The meet
started as the Jesuit Relays in 1964 but was renamed the
Jesuit-Sheaner Relays in 1975, when Sheaner retired as
the school's longtime track coach.
The meet always attracts the best prep
track and field athletes that Texas has to offer. And a
big reason why is Sheaner, who puts in hours and hours
of time calling, emailing and writing track coaches in
an effort to attract the best possible field every year
for the meet. He's built great relationships with
coaches and athletes over the years and is a great
promoter of his meet, but his genuine interest is in the
kids who compete in the meet and the sport of track and
field. Sheaner gets a lot of help every year from his
son, Mike, who does a lot of the leg work to make the
meet go off without a hitch. Herb Sheaner was inducted
into the Texas Track and Field Coaches Association
inaugural Hall of Fame class this year.
Herb Sheaner has a great personal
story to tell as well. He's written a book called the
Prisoner's Odyssey that, according to its Web
site, is "a story of survival, hunger and reflection
from a teenaged prisoner of war inside Germany near the
end of Wordl War II. From capture at the Battle of The
Bulge to the final escape from his German guards, the
author allows us a glimpse into the despair and agony of
being a prisoner in a foreign land."
I encourage everyone to give the book
a look -- you can
book right here -- and if you run into Herb
Sheaner at the Jesuit-Sheaner Relays on Saturday at
Haggar Stadium, stop by to tell him hello and thanks.
The conversation will be well worth your time.