Griak coached the University of Minnesota x-country and track teams from 1963 to 1996.
He was a good man. I met him as a young skull full of mush in 1987 at the OTC in Colorado Springs.
That is sad to hear.
What a nice man. I didn't meet him until after he was retired, but what a genuinely good person he was. What a loss to those who were close to him...my heart goes out to you all.
He meant a lot to the mn running community.
One of my friend's grandfathers was a half miler when griak ran for the u of mn and he only ever had good things to say about Roy griak.
He was an amazing guy.
Didn't Roy have a son who ran pretty well?
Roy Griak has died at age 91. I did not know him well, but he seemed like a classy guy.
There are not many people who have devoted their lives to our sport like him.
I merged two threads into one and tried to merge the titles as well. One was RIP Roy Griak and the other Roy Griak - Legend.
The Star Trbiunes article is great. The AD said some nice things about him but I can't imagine a better testament than this one.
“I don’t know of another person who’s represented the U better, longer or more faithfully,” Don Timm, who ran for the Gophers in the late 1960s and is coach of the Coon Rapids girls’ cross-country team, said in a 2010 interview. “Everyone who ran for him loved him as a person and respected him as a coach.”
Dedicated, beloved and repsected - it doesn't get much better than that.
Great guy. Very athlete centered. While coaching at Bethel (MN), I called Roy to get a deserving young man moved into the fast heat of an indoor mile. After hesitance, he obliged, but only after I shared that my guy truly deserved it (having beaten 1/2 of the DI, DII guys in the heat). He really stepped out of his way to help our athlete and myself. I will always remember that. RIP to the most Golden of the Gophers.
Our team ran against Minnesota in the late 70s and he seem like a great guy to run for according to his runners.
Roy Griak was coaching at Minnesota when I ran for the U. of Illinois in the '70's. I always respected him so much. Roy wasn't known as much for powerhouse teams at that time... but always produced several great individual athletes. Bjorklund and Plascencia come immediately to mind. He wasn't as fiery as Indiana's Sam Bell nor did he throw "keg parties" for his athletes like Michigan's Ron Warhurst... but his athletes respected and bonded with him and performed well for him nevertheless. Roy was a low key/low profile kind of coach... much like my own Coach Gary Wieneke. Maybe that's why Griak and Wieneke were such close friends! Roy was also a coach on my U.S. Olympic T & F Team in 1984 and a comforting presence to me during that summer. I will always respect him for his low key but classy demeanor, devotion to the athlete, and great knowledge of the sport. He was a super ambassador for our sport and gave so much back to it for far longer than the "normal" coach. He left a legacy that will far outlive him. As my Illinois teammate and 2-time Olympian, Mike Durkin, said..... "Griak was a true gentleman and also a gentle man. One of the good guys. RIP Roy." Couldn't say it any better myself. Thanks, Roy Griak, and you will be remembered by the people you touched. Craig Virgin
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.
That's a great story, Ken.
Thanks for the post!
Great story. Great man.
Happy trails, Coach.
Good guy, from another era. He was classy, funny, serious, and most of all, genuine.
We need more people like him. I always liked and respected him.
He will be missed.
Great story, Ken! I ran for Roy from 1965-1969, and I thought I knew all the great Griak stories. I've never heard this one, but it doesn't surprise me. Roy was the kindest, most sincere man I ever knew. He motivated us without ever raising his voice! He did have that look, though, when you knew he wasserious about something. I feel so fortunate to have run for him and have him as a friend the last 50 years. RIP, Coach