Hall of Fame Class of 2005
After completing his freshman year at Abilene Christian University in 1942, Herb Callan enlisted in the U.S. Army and served until 1946. During the European campaign, he was awarded the Bronze Star and Silver Star medals. Herb came back home and attended Midwestern University in Witchita Falls, Texas where he graduated from in 1949 with a BA in Education. While at MU, he earned letters in football and participated in AAU boxing. His first teaching positions were at Shamrock High School and Lefors High School in Texas. Herb coached football and boxing, served as athletic director and started a girl’s basketball program during this time. He was awarded his Masters of Arts in School Administration from West Texas State University in Canyon, Texas in 1956. In 1959, he began teaching at Muleshoe High School in Texas where he coached football and track and field. He became the school’s principal after one year.
Following a three-year venture into private business in Denver, Colorado and Oceanside, California, Herb took an Administrative Assistant/Counselor position at Goldendale High School in 1965. He would spend seven years as the head track and field coach. During that first year at Goldendale High, Herb recruited fifteen girls who would become the Timberwolves first girls’ track and field team. “They were good girls and very coachable,” he said of the group. Over the next two years, interest in girls track and field grew with track meets beginning to intermix girls’ events with boys’ events. Goldendale, led by Herb Callan was right in the middle of this growing movement.
Not one to sit and wait for things to get done, Herb branched out from his coaching duties and led a group of track and field supporters in a transformation of Goldendale’s six-lane track into a beautiful nine-lane, crushed red-rock track with cement edges on the inside and outside. The facility had lights, permanent bleachers with room for 1,000 spectators, a concession stand and press box. The field was underground-wired with phones connecting the press box with each field event and the start and finish lines. “In 1968, it was quite the facility. The only cost to the school district was $76 for diesel for the trucks to bring the red rock into town to Stan Thompson’s rock crusher,” Herb remembered. “There were so many people involved and it was all donated time, labor and materials.” As if from the track and field version of the movie Field of Dreams, Goldendale’s new track and field facility got Herb and some friends thinking. “At the morning coffee group one day, we thought the girls should have a state meet just as the boys had and that’s how it all got started,” said long-time track fan Cliff Culver. “We didn’t know what needed to be done but we started by selling booster memberships for $5 each and ended up with over $500.” In the early spring of 1969, Herb began working with Goldendale’s newspaper editor, Pete May. Together, they developed a four page brochure advertising Goldendale and its track and field facility and invited coaches and athletes from across the state to the first “Washington State-wide Invitational Girls Track Meet.” The meet was held on May 2 and 3 with contestants required to meet qualifying standards.
As many coaches know, sometimes a meet runs better if the coach simply takes on the duty of the meet director. Herb Callan used his coaching background and his love for the sport to oversee the meet entries, event heating, field preparation, training of officials, program development and printing, housing of athletes and post-meet banquets. Under his leadership of the track and field faithful in Goldendale, the first girls’ state invitational meet in 1969 grew from 198 competitors from 32 schools to 925 competitors from 149 schools in the 1972 meet. In that first meet in 1969, fifteen events were held including the 50-yard dash won in 6.0 seconds and the 80-yard low hurdles won in 12.3 seconds. Goldendale’s team finished 4th in that first meet with state championships in the long jump at 17’ 4” and the 880-yard relay in 1:56.8.
Herb Callan became Goldendale’s District Superintendent in 1972 and he held that post until 1984. Herb limited his duties in the girls’ state meet to finish line supervisor but continued to be involved with helping the meet directors in any way possible. Up to 1973, all classifications competed against each other. In 1973, the WIAA set qualifying standards and the AA and A/B schools competed separately in Goldendale – a total of 951 athletes from 164 schools. 1974 was the last state meet in Goldendale, a combined A/B meet. During the first six years of the girls’ state invitational in Goldendale, over 3,700 girls competed. From an idea that originated over a cup of coffee, Herb Callan developed a track meet that brought the rural community of Goldendale together with a common goal – to hold a meet at which the top female track athletes in Washington State could compete against each other. It is with great honor that we recognize his achievement and welcome him into the Washington State Track and Field Coaches Hall of Fame.