Please permit me to relate a Roy Griak moment in time......
In the fall of 1972, I had started out the season as one of the favorites to maybe win the Big Ten XC individual championship. My friend, Garry Bjorklund had won it in his first three years but was injured in his senior season.
By the time Minn.came to my course for the Michigan State dual meet, I was pretty badly injured with shin splints in both legs and my season was basically over. None the less, I ran the 6 mile race and was well into last place with 2 miles to go. My coach yelled at me to drop out as I was "an embarrassment to me, him and my school". Well, I refused to drop out and when I came to the finish straight, the chute and timing was being removed!! As I crossed what was the finifh line area, my coach had packed the rest of my team into a van and was leaving the coarse. I was left to find my own way home....with sore chins, 2 miles from campus.
As I sat on the bench, pondering my current misfortune and my potentially dismal future in the sport, The Minn team ran by on their warm down. Coach Griak stopped and asked why i was sitting by myself without a team or coach. As I told him, he put his arm around me, just like a father and after an amazing and encouraging conversation, he invited me to go with him and the Minn team to get a steak dinner before they left town. Both he and all of the team members took me in as if I was one of their own!!!
I truly don't know if I would have had any future in running without the kindness and support of this warm and gentle man. Minn, the Big Ten and the sport itself has lost a role model, a mentor and a friend.
There will never be another Roy Griak....he will continue to live in all of us who were so fortunate to be touched by his goodness.