Creating a track club requires administrative and organizational skills
along with great passion and enthusiasm for the sport. The Knoxville Track
Club was fortunate to have all of those attributes and more when Al Rovere
joined with others to found the club.
Working alongside Chuck Rohe and Charlie Durham, Al was an indispensable
part of the group and earned the appellation as one of Rohe's "track
nuts." "A track nut is a man who will let a track coach talk
him into working free in an all-day track meet, from 8 am until 8 pm,
with only a baloney sandwich for lunch," states Durham.
Participating in the formation and development of all of the early KTC
programs and assisting Charlie Durham with coaching KTC's track &
field and cross-country teams, Al was there as the program progressed
to include the staging of local meets. For this next step, there was an
obvious need for officials. Again, Al was there to provide support and
leadership as the KTC Official Association was created. This group officiated
all high school and college meets in Knoxville and it was not unusual
to see Bob Neff and Al working most of them. In later years, the KTC Officials
Association conducted clinics for coaches and officials and for many Al
Rovere played a key role in helping local officials attain certification
by the AAU. Al was essential to organizing the News Sentinel Relays and
the Oak Ridge Relays and along with Bob Neff and Charlie Durham, spent
countless hours doing the seeding and lane assignments for these meets.
For his efforts which spanned three decades, Al was a multiple winner
of the then annual Ben Plotnicki Award given to the most deserving official
in the Knoxville Track Club.
Al, whose son Robert was a nationally ranked sprinter at East Tennessee
State University, assisted Charlie Durham in establishing the KTC Youth
program, including the KTC girls/women's program. Charlie Durham remembers
Al "as always being there, no matter what the task."
While never directing the meet, Al was a key founder and contributor
of the Vol Classic high school track & field meet, a meet which eventually
drew 2350 athletes from 15 states and was named as the Top High School
Track & Field Meet by Track & Field Magazine, and continues today.
Over the years, Al remained the "right hand man" to meet director
Durham in fostering the growth and success of this nationally famous meet.
With tireless devotion to the sport and a willingness to share his skills,
expertise, experience and renowned sense of humor , Al was beloved by
all of the UT coaches and athletes.