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Where Are They Now?
By Tim Trower
May 04, 2007
There was more than one Newland making track and field news in Medford in the 1950s. Bob Newland, the coach of the Black Tornado, would achieve legendary status. But his younger cousin, Dave, made out just fine as a top-notch pole vaulter.
"He was a great coach, he was my mentor," says Dave, who lives in Victoria, British Columbia, with his wife, Judy, and who parlayed his prep prowess and lessons learned from his cousin into his own storied coaching career. "I could always call on him and he always had time to help me out."
Dave Newland, whose forte would become wrestling, turned 72 on Tuesday. He and Judy have two grown children, son Dave and daughter Jorie, and will celebrate their 50th anniversary in June. They have 10 grandchildren, one great-grandchild and another on the way. No doubt, grandpa has told stories about his cousin, Bob Newland, for whom the South Medford High track is named and who coached at Medford High from 1947-57.
"He was ahead of his time," says Dave, noting that Bob publicized the accomplishments of his athletes, leading to Dave being ranked in the top 10 nationally in the pole vault; wrote letters to top competitors to learn their training regimens and acquired film of the world's best for his athletes to study. Dave saw film of and tried to mimic Cornelius Warmerdam, who, using a bamboo pole, set the world record of 15-73/4 in 1942. It stood until 1957.
"We'd put those loops in the projector and watch them over and over and try to copy their style," says Dave. "Then he'd take pictures of us and make loops so we could see where we were goofing up."
Dave used a steel pole and never achieved marks vaulters reach today. Still, he was in the 12-foot neighborhood and was among the state's best. He won the prestigious Hayward Relays and placed second at state.
Dave's family lived in Gold Hill, where his father opened a garage. The young Newland was invited to compete for Medford High, so he either commuted or stayed with relatives and friends in Medford. He was ineligible as a sophomore but did work out with the football, wrestling and track teams before playing those sports his final two years. In football, Newland was a senior halfback on Fred Spiegelberg's first Black Tornado team in '52. In wrestling, he went to state at 141 pounds but didn't place.
He remembers fondly "the support we received from people downtown and the businesses," says Newland. "It felt like we were doing something important. Our stadium would be filled for football."
Wrestling became his priority in college at Oregon. He was undefeated as a freshman, won the Pacific Coast Conference championship as a sophomore and went to nationals as a senior. At the 1956 Olympic Trials, he placed second, just missing a trip to the Melbourne Games.
Upon graduation, Newland taught and coached wrestling and track at Springfield High, then returned to Medford, where he taught from 1964-67 and assisted coaches Ralph Monroe in wrestling and Dean Benson in track.
From there, he and his family went international, living in Japan for four years Ã¢â‚¬â€
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