Comments sought on proposal to name CHS track for Jack Kehmeier

DCI file photo This photo by Gary Burke appeared in the May 14, 1979, edition of the Delta County Independent. Titled "Kehmeier hangs 'em up," it announced that Jack Kehmeier had completed his last spring season as a track coach. He started his coaching c

Delta County Joint School District #50 is welcoming comments on a proposal to name the track at Cedaredge High School in honor of longtime track coach and educator Jack Kehmeier.

Kehmeier died Aug. 16, 2000, at the age of 78.

According to a letter of nomination submitted by Randy Brown, principal of Cedaredge High School, Kehmeier was a track and field coach at CHS from 1956 to 1982. His track teams earned state championships in 1963 and 1964, were runners-up in 1966, 1970 and 1971, placed in the top 10 eight times and earned six league/district championships.

While coaching at CHS, Kehmeier was named Coach of the Year by the Gunnison High School Booster Club. He was named to the Colorado High School Coaches Association Hall of Fame.

"Cedaredge High School has had a long-standing tradition in the sport of track and field," Brown noted. "Administrators and coaches at CHS believe this would not have happened without the support of Mr. Jack Kehmeier. It is our proposal that we name the track and field in between the campus of CHS and CMS the Jack Kehmeier Track and Field Facility. We would furnish a stone sign to be placed at the entry that would read the name of the facility and also list Mr. Jack Kehmeier's accomplishments."

In accordance with school board policy, the nomination was accompanied by signatures from 100 supporters. The policy also requires a two-week public comment period. Comments for or against the proposal can be mailed to the Delta County School District at 145 W. 4th Street, Delta, CO 81416, or submitted through a link on the school district website, www.deltaschools.com. Look for a link titled "CHS Track Naming Nomination Jack Kehmeier."

Jack's son Bill and his wife Cindy noted that while teaching at CHS, Jack coached football, baseball and track.

They wrote a letter of support stating in part, "His willingness to help all young people reach their potential was unmatched. He often told his athletes that he didn't care if they were first or last as long as they came out of a competition situation knowing that they had done the best they could do that day. He also wanted them to be humble no matter what. He believed that any young athlete could be as good as they wanted to be if they would push daily to get better."

Teacher/coach Kirby Henderson has spent hours and hours researching DCI archives to chronicle Cedaredge High School sports through the years. From all accounts, Henderson said, Jack Kehmeier was a true professional in all he did. "More than anything, this proposal is a way to honor Jack for putting Cedaredge track on the map."

Henderson said Kehmeier's athletes still hold a number of school records. "If he'd had the facilities we have, imagine what he could have done."

And although Kehmeier didn't have the opportunity to coach many girls' teams, Henderson is convinced they would have been just as successful as the boys.

"This is just a great way of recognizing that Cedaredge track is here because of this guy. He's a legend."

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