It is Champs 1976 and grand showdowns loomed in more ways than one.Everald Samuels’, St Andrew Technical High School’s meteoric rise loomed large.Samuels seemed destined to upstage the reigning 100 metres champion, Balford ‘Bally’ Reid of Kingston College (KC).It was an era when KC harboured the notion that although red, the stadium track was its domain.Samuels and Calabar High had different plans.And so it was also a year when the long reign of KC as Boys’ athletics champions was under severe threat.KC had been victorius for 14 consecutive years, stretching from 1962 to 1975.A year earlier, Bally Reid had set a new mark of 10.4 seconds (hand-timed). But in 1976, Samuels, the high-kneed wonder boy, emerged out of the Bumper Hall-based school hitherto devoid of a reputation in the sprints.On Friday, the first of the two-day event, 40 years ago, both Reid and Samuels cruised through the heats of the 100 metres.Tensions were lifted to fever pitch, however, as the dominant duo drew the same semi-finals race.The stage was set in an arena that was not for the faint of heart.There was silence at the start of the race and noise in between. When it was done, there was a thunderous hush in the section of the bleachers painted ‘purple’.Samuels not only conquered the mighty ‘Bally Reid’, he also equalled the record of 10.4 seconds set by Reid the previous year.A new star was born, underlining the beginning of the end of the long dynasty of the redoubtable KC as Calabar, perennial rivals, rebounded with colour and ferocity for the first time in 15 years to secure the Mortimer Geddes Trophy.Samuels, though, was not done.He was even more dominant in the 200 metres, becoming the first schoolboy athlete to run under 21 seconds (hand-timed).His record 20.9 seconds stood until it was broken by Clarendon College’s Norman Mills in 1979.
160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Maybe it’s just one of those competitive things. That’s all. Just two circling cats, sizing each other up. Two spirited, proud, veteran coaches not about to give an inch, or perhaps a word. UCLA’s Ben Howland and USC’s Tim Floyd will coach against each other for the first time tonight. They are very !ital!respectful!off!. Very careful, too, particularly Floyd. They give each other credit, but it feels almost cautious praise. Feels very proper, almost calculated. Through coaching circles they’ve known each other for more than 20 years, but have no apparent history or particular relationship. Floyd takes almost great pains not to be effusive in his observations of UCLA. This began the day he was hired last year and was asked about competing in the same city as UCLA, and he immediately started going on about Arizona and how it was the conference standard-bearer. Which, even though he has repeated those observations since, apparently has completely escaped his memory. “I wasn’t asked about the rivalry,” Floyd said Tuesday. Ah, yes, actually you were asked about UCLA. “I wasn’t asked about UCLA.” No, really, you were. “No, I wasn’t.” You were asked about elevating your program to a true national level in the same city as the Bruins and immediately bypassed UCLA to go on about Arizona. “That’s not what happened.” You called Arizona the standard-bearer. “I didn’t say that. What I said was, there’s room for two high, national-level programs in this city.” OK, so you know where this is headed. Columnists always getting the last word and all. At his introductory news conference Jan. 14 last year, Floyd was indeed asked about competing against UCLA and said: “I’m not going to use UCLA as the barometer. I’m using the University of Arizona as a barometer because they are the team, in my opinion, that is at the level we are trying to reach. “I’m looking forward to recruiting the same players these people are recruiting and will try to our best in these head-to-head matchups.” Now you could look at this as being dismissive of the Bruins, but it’s actually the smart approach. Floyd has aims on making USC a true national power. The Galen Center is scheduled to be completed next season, giving the Trojans one of few new college arenas in the country. He understandably believes he’s onto something. So how wise would it be to sing the praises of UCLA? To put the Bruins and Howland’s program on some kind of pedestal in the same city where he will battle over top recruits? Sounds like wise strategy. “There hasn’t been any strategy anywhere,” Floyd said. Maybe, but Floyd can’t praise UCLA without adding a qualifier, usually in the form of another Pac-10 school. So, sure, tonight is a big game, but then … “They’re all important,” Floyd said. “Every one of them is important. Don’t try to get us to say it’s not important. I just don’t know how you can put any more importance on it than Washington State or Washington.” See, this UCLA rivalry thing is conveniently lost on Floyd. “I have great respect for what they’re doing,” he said. “I have great respect for Washington, I have great respect for Cal, for Arizona. I have great respect for everybody.” Howland also is careful, but he has a two-year head start at UCLA, his No. 18-ranked Bruins are currently in first in the conference and he speaks from higher ground. “I think their program is definitely on the rise, is going to improve and keep getting better and better,” Howland said. “That’s what we expect our program to do as well. “We want them to be good. It’s good for both ‘SC and UCLA to be good. When we go on the road (in conference), I want them to have to deal with both of us.” Yet when asked Tuesday how well he knew Floyd, Howland said: “I’ve known Tim since I was an assistant at UC Santa Barbara and he was an assistant at the University of Texas-El Paso. “Actually Jerry Pimm, my old boss (at Santa Barbara) used to be the coach at Utah and compete against (UTEP’s) Don Haskins. I’ve known him a lot of years.” Nice history lesson, but no insight to any relationship. Maybe they once fought over the same cheerleader, and maybe they really only know each other professionally. Both took other schools to the NCAA’s Sweet 16 – Floyd at Iowa State and Howland at Pittsburgh – and are trying to duplicate that success here. They are similar in age; Floyd is 51, Howland 48. Both are trying to start something special, and both partially in the other’s way. “We’re friendly from the standpoint from being in this business all these years,” Howland said. “I have respect for him and think he’s a very fine coach.” “I give them great respect,” Floyd said, “just like everybody else.” With all due respect, tonight they start some actual history. Steve Dilbeck’s column appears in the Daily News four times a week. He can be reached at email@example.com AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREGift Box shows no rust in San Antonio Stakes win at Santa Anita