I started with Willi on a sunny Saturday morning at the Haley track in Warfield. Bina Brown was there, and so were Diane Gerace, Georgia Tognotti and Paulette Gavrilik, who turned out to be Willi’s unbeatable women’s relay team from Trail. Henry DeRosa was there, and so were Dick Zanier and Bob Bush, to name just a few athletes that were there that day.
Willi began by talking about the Olympics, and why they are the world’s highest cultural event. The Rome Olympics were coming. It was the first time I heard about the Olympics. We were all introduced to his calesthenics, stretching, running and jumping. “Hop, Jup, again”. He would line us up all in a row, up and down the field. “One, two, three push, come with the hip.”
Those who stayed were soon familiar with the best track and field athletes in the world through the lens of his hand cranked projector. We saw slow motion loop films of the world’s best athletes and analyzed their techniques. We saw films of us taken by Jack Carmichael, who was there at the track taking sequence photos of us during practice.
“Come on Gerry, you run like a grandmother,” Willi would say to get me motivated to run faster. He would raise the bar higher, Bob Yard and I were not afraid to do what he asked of us. “Swing up, shoot the legs!”
All of his athletes were decathletes and heptathletes. It was all part of the track and field experience. Willi and Eva were the head of the Trail track and field family. Those were some of the best times of my life, as a competitor at the highest level, the Olympic games. I would not have achieved that level without Willi’s coaching. I got a free College education, as many others here did from Willi’s organized coaching methods.
At the University of California at Santa Barbara, where I was coaching, Willi came to visit and became known and recognized as a high authority by all of the many Olympic athletes that were training at Santa Barbara’s pre-Olympic training center. Willi was my coach, but he was the expert that all the Olympic hopefuls were asking for advice. I remember then that Willi was truly in coaching heaven teaching some of the best in the world who held him in high esteem.
Willi had high minded ideas and molded 3 Olympic athletes, two of them from a little city in Canada known more for hockey players. He molded countless others who went on to be Canadian Champions, Collegiate Champions, and many more who learned from Willi.
Trail has now long been a hot spot for track and field, thanks to Willi, and is still going strong today at the helm of Dan Horan, who is still here in the “Krause House” in the winter months putting his young athletes through the same routines that Willi would employ during our seasons training with him.
Willi made a difference in the lives of many. He lived his life with passion and enthusiasm. He lived a long and rewarding life. Everybody loved Willi.
My life was profoundly affected by Willi Krause.