Charlie Durham was one of the original founders of the Knoxville Track
Club. In 1961 Charlie organized a new AAU track team named the Knoxville
Track Club and took them to their first meet in Greenville, S.C. At this
first meet, the KTC defeated the Piedmont Striders, Atlanta Track Club,
and six other Southeastern AAU teams to win the championship.
When Chuck Rohe was named UT track and field coach in the summer of 1962,
Charlie and the KTC worked hand-in-hand with Coach Rohe, meeting every
two weeks to make plans for the future. All of the UT freshman, transfer
athletes, and post-graduate athletes competed for Knoxville Track Club,
with Charlie Durham as coach. In 1963 his KTC cross-country team took
third place in the National USTFF championship in Chicago.
In the spring of 1963 Charlie and Jerry Wrinkle directed the First Annual
Volunteer Classic track and field meet at Evans-Collins Field, attracting
300 of the top high school trackmen from eight states. Charlie continued
to direct the Vol Track Classic for 27 years. In his last year of directing
the Vol Track Classic the meet drew 2350 athletes from 15 states and the
VTC was named as the Top High School Track & Field Meet by Track &
Field Magazine. This was a monumental event for KTC. In addition to directing
the Vol Track Classic, Charlie was an active official at high school and
UT meets for over 30 years.
In a time when there were no formal track programs in Tennessee for college
or high school girls, with the lone exception of the famous Tennessee
State University Tigerbelles in Nashville, Charlie started
the first KTC womens track program in 1966, developing stars like
Terry Hull and Judy Penton. Charlie raised the funds, usually through
Tom Siler, sports editor at the The News-Sentinel, and took KTC athletes
to national meets like the Millrose Games, Mason-Dixon Games, and the
National AAU and National USTFF meets.
Charlie and Hal Canfield started the KTC Youth Program in the late 1960s
at Tom Black Track. What started as about 150 kids, now numbers thousands
at tracks around East Tennessee, under the current leadership of Marty
Sonnenfeldt. Hundreds of outstanding high school and college athletes
have come out of the KTC Youth Athletic Program.
Charlie Durham was honored as an inductee in the Knoxville Sports Hall