Knoxville Track Club Hall of Fame Inductee 2009
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 that 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.
AI, 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. It was named 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. 2009 KTC Hall afFame – 7.
David was always in teaching mode giving words of wisdom and encouragement to his friends and family. He truly was a mentor to many on the important subjects of life; faith, family, hunting and farming. He was a devoted husband and father who will be greatly missed. He had many friends young and old, near and far. We are so thankful for each one of them.