Bill Roe: 1950-2020

3/1/2020
 


Remembrance from Bill's friends
Club Northwest's remembrance article
Obituary (Seattle Times)

Long-time USATF and USATF Pacific Northwest association leader Bill Roe passed away on Saturday morning.  He was at the Pan American Cross Country Cup in Victoria, Canada.  He was 69 years of age.
 
He was one of the founders of USATF Pacific Northwest, serving in all executive positions, including President from 1973 to 1981.  
 
Roe was born in Seattle on September 19, 1950 and attended Nathan Hale High School and the University of Washington. In 1985, he moved to Bellingham to pursue an advanced degree in education, and was a graphic designer/desktop publisher for Western's Woodring College of Education from 1989 until mid-2002. Since then, he freelanced in graphics and publishing in Bellingham and Seattle, and in event management throughout the Northwest, while continuing to coach at WWU.
 
In 1972 he helped create Club Northwest which has provided athletes wit post-collegiate opportunities to compete locally, nationally, and internationally for 48 years.
 
Roe was the long-time director of Club Northwest's summer All-Comers track & field series, now in its 50th year and was the founder and past editor of Northwest Runner magazine.
 
Nationally, he would go on to serve in several leadership positions with USA Track Field, including president from 2000-2008.  He served as a member of the Board of Directors from 23 years (1986-2009) and was an active member of the Men's Long Distance Running Committee for 47 years.
 
“Bill Roe was a dedicated loyal advocate for and an integral part of our sport,” said USATF CEO Max Siegel. “His knowledge and kindness will be missed by everyone he knew in his nearly 50 years of service. Bill Roe is irreplaceable.”
 
During his first term as USATF president he created a Foundation arm, revised the procedures for the Hall of Fame, performed both a comprehensive strategic planning exercise for the first time since 1988, and completed a first-ever zero-based budgeting inventory.
 
In 2000 he created the USATF National Club Track & Field Championships and then the Club Marathon Relay Championships to help stimulate the growth of the elite development club system in the U.S.
 
Internationally, he was a member of the IAAF Cross Country Committee, team leader or manager of eight USA National teams, Chef de Mission of eleven USA National Teams, and founder and team leader of 9 teams for North American Cross Country Championships.
 
Services are pending.


REMEMBERANCES
Joseph Gray - Club Northwest and Team USA athlete
Last night I didn't sleep. On top of the wait for my new child to enter this world, I received a text from a good friend regarding another great friend of mine. If you're a runner from the Pacific Northwest or have represented Team USA, chances are you knew him too and most likely refer to him as a good friend.⁣
Bill Roe was always someone there to lend a hand to athletes and to events. He was hands down one of the best event announcers and gave the most accurate introductions. Early in my career Mr. Roe gave me direction post college as I had no idea what to do in regard to my running career. The gems he shared fueled many decisions that led me to this point in my career. In 2013 I was headed into one of the most competitive XC races of my life. I had no faith in myself and due to coming off of mountain racing season just weeks before, I had low expectations for winning such a fast paced XC race. After previewing the course he told me, "Joe you can win this thing, it's a tough one". I trusted him, he hadn't led me astray with advice before that moment. Instantly my confidence rocketed. I went on to take home one of my most memorable wins. Months later, I traveled with Mr. Roe to Tobago for the Pan American/NACAC Cross country championship to represent Team USA. Again, he gave me a similar message after he saw the course. Again, he lit me with confidence and again he was right. ⁣
After some hours of digesting this I cracked a smile. I have always been a believer that you should give someone their  Rose's while they can still smell them. Meaning let special people in your life know you appreciate them and thank them while they are here. That night after the race in Tobago I told him how much his advice meant to me. I let him know I was thankful for the support he had given me even when I felt no support from anyone else. The things I learned from Bill will be passed to my children and have been passed to other athletes I've come across. It hurts to lose Mr. Roe, but I'm so thankful he got a chance to smell his Rose's ⁣
Rest in Peace my dear friend Bill Roe 

Isaac Derline - former Western Washington athlete 
This has been a really hard one to process. To everyone he knew, Bill Roe was a coach, mentor, loved family member, and a friend. I cried like a baby Saturday and was filled with grief Sunday over the loss of one of my friends. However, it was such an incredible blessing to celebrate his life with teammates, coaches, and friends while visiting Bellingham today where we could all remember him for the wonderful man he was and share any and all stories. Like others have done, here are some of my favorite Bill memories over the years because it would be a crime not to talk about this man's character:
 
My freshman year at cross country camp, when I was a walk-on and terrified of Bill due to his credentials in the running community, I caused an old family griddle to drop on his foot the last day of camp, breaking the griddle and giving Bill a bruised foot in the process.
 
My junior year, as I was doing strides down the home stretch of our home course the day before the WWU classic, Bill comes up to me and says: "I can already picture you in front of all the Alaska Anchorage runners and bringing home the win." The next day, I gave Bill one of the biggest hugs I have ever given someone after I won, and he said "See?! What did I tell you?!"
 
The summer of 2018, I got to paint Bill's house. I hadn't found a job yet and Bill needed his house painted, so two and two went together. I painted the whole exterior, helped him with small projects around the house, and broke a window by hitting it with a hammer. I'd spend five days a week over at his house and got to learn so much about him as a person.
 
When I turned 21, I was inaugurated into the infamous Dart Night group that played every Tuesday at The World Famous Up&Up. Thanks to Bill, classic rock would be playing over the speakers almost endlessly. Walking in, he would almost always be eating his pizza consisting of shrimp, pineapple, and olives, drinking his ol'reliable Bodhizafa, and working on the day's crossword puzzle. My last six months of college I worked at this bar and was eventually the one that would make and bring Bill his pizza with some witty remark or something to make him laugh. These were always treasured nights, and it eventually spread to include Thursday's and Sunday's. The dart group laughed, cried, threw darts in frustration, and enjoyed each other's company every single gathering. Games of billiards between dart games among him, Juan, and I became a fierce rivalry; Bill always had stacks of quarters ready and any game could go to either of us depending on the night. Every night, Stairway to Heaven by Led Zeppelin would play over the speakers. Bill and I would look at each other, stand in place, and then take a moment to look to the sky, enjoying the peacefulness of the song. Why did we do this? Neither of us could tell you, but little moments like this were so special.
 
But most importantly, he listened and comforted everyone no matter the problem because he was that kind of guy. He helped me so much and believed in me during my highest highs and lowest lows when I didn't believe in myself while running. Bill was among a handful of people that knew the inner workings of my mind about everything. And he was one of my best friends. I came home this Saturday when I and so many others found out about his passing, and when my dad turned on the television, a Pink Floyd concert was playing and they started with Shine On You Crazy Diamond, a song Bill showed me during one of our many dart nights and it remains one of the most beautiful songs I have ever heard. Funny coincidence? I think not.
 
No post can be long enough to talk about this man, but all of us will continue to celebrate your life and legacy no matter what. You lived the exact life you wanted, and the fact we were able to be part of that is so wonderful. We all love you dearly, but you already knew that. Until we meet again Brewmaster.
 
 
John Lehr - former athlete at Western Washington University
It's hard to describe the shock and disbelief I find myself in as I write this to commemorate such a amazing man's life.

Bill was such a large contributor to the Northwest running community and he will be missed dearly by the thousands of individual's lives he impacted in such positive ways.
Bill was the first person Dan Lehr and I contacted to probe the possibility of me running for the WWU track & field/XC team. He brought my stats to Pee Wee and one thing led to another and now I represent WWU day in and day out. Bill was a massive player in giving me such an amazing opportunity that I will cherish forever. It has changed my life in so many ways and grown me as a person. All of these are indirect results of Bill's passion, kindness, and willingness to give people a chance.

Things will never be the same without Bill. From your weekly dart games (which I missed the opportunity to be part of because I'm not 21 yet 😭) to your devotion to the sport you loved so much, you were truly one hell of a guy. I miss you already coach. Rest easy.
 
 
Doug Logan - past CEO USATF
The Track & Field world lost a real mensch this weekend. Bill Roe, longtime coach, race manager, official and executive passed away at age 69. A gentle soul, an ambassador for the sport, a real friend. Bill was President of USATF when I was hired in 2008. He supported me and helped me make necessary changes in governance. I, and the sport, will miss him.
 
 
James Jasperson - former athlete at Western Washington University
This is a picture of Coach Bill and Juan after shoveling the track for me an hour before normal practice because I couldn't make it to the normal time. Selfless.

Me and Bill have always gotten along. Before I came to western I shot Bill an email about running at WWU he had already known a lot of what I did throughout my running career from age 5-18. I was impressed that for a guy who I never talked to he sure knew a hell of a lot about me.
Bill was always in my corner. A couple of years ago the team at Western was tight for money and sending individuals to the big California meets to go see what they could do. That year I was not selected to go because I didn't have a National mark. Bill came to me without me asking him and told me he thought that it was BS that I wasn't selected so he was going to donate money to the program to fly me out to the meet. He flew me to the hotel, got me a couple nights there, I managed a new PR, and flew me back. I couldn't express to him how grateful I was for the opportunity and he just sort of smiled and told me "Well you deserved it, you've worked hard for this and I knew you had more in you."

He would tell me after I helped out somebody who had passed out at Brewers festival "how it almost brought tears to his eyes and that I make him more and more proud everyday" and he had told me that my leadership skills were irreplaceable and he wanted me around as long as I could possibly be for the team and he also told me my best days of running are yet to come. He gave me the confidence I needed, when I didn't even know I needed it. He was so good at telling you how he felt about you, whether good, or bad. He was my role model.

I found myself talking to him on my run yesterday, I was pissed off because it was too soon. Every time I saw him I would ask him how it is living in the "Golden Year" (69 years old) and he would just let out a big laugh. I had just given him a new book, and he said he was thinking of me in New Zealand and brought me a present after I was no longer an athlete at WWU. It was 3 nice beers and he wanted a report on how I liked each one.

Bill was a special man. I loved him. I want to be more like him. And I will think about him every single run I do from here on, I'm sure of it.
 
 
Susan Pappalardo 
We lost a running treasure and legend this past weekend. We all called Bill a friend because he was to every runner that crossed a finish line he helped establish and there were many. He laid & certified so many courses literally and figuratively. If you raced locally in any USATF certified race, Bill has called your name out as you pushed yourself to your limits, set your PRs and had your bad race days. Bill was there before a race with supportive words. Bill was there after races to deal with any detail left unattended. Bill was incredibly humble for a man who relentlessly gave to a sport he loved. I last saw Bill at Lehigh in December and just missed him this past weekend in Victoria. Thank you Bill for all you gave to our sport, for your effervescent smile and for always being there to give us opportunities to compete and do our best. It will take an army to replace you. And thank you for showing us what passionate commitment can look like and achieve. I have many fond memories throughout my NW running years as do we all. I am glad I was at the All-Comers meet when you were honored and your name so fittingly and forever etched into the series name. I will miss you and think of you always. It's our turn to call out your name as you cross the finish line of life.

Rest in peace Bill.
 
 
Ben Crowell - former athlete at Western Washington University
Still trying to wrap my head around the passing of my college track coach, mentor, and dear friend, Bill Roe.
Being a rather inexperienced runner coming into the WWU xc/track program in 2015, he was someone who showed invested time and effort into helping me grow as a runner, which meant a lot. Through out my time running under him, I listened to everything he had to say, taking in as many stories and knowledge about running and life that he had to share. When injuries arose and I became sidelined during part of college, I found myself wanting to help him and to see just how he did what he did as a coach, and later finding out that he did A LOT for our team and the running world in general. It didn't matter if it was raining sideways or the hottest day of the year, he put together some of the best cross country/track meets single handedly. He was so good at his craft and I still don't really know how he did it, but he did it every weekend it seemed and loved every second of it. Throughout my last years at Western, meeting to throw darts over beer at the Up & Up became a fun point of my weeks, to pick his brain on everything track and field and anything else that came up on those nights. He was a great coach and even better friend for the more recent but short time I knew him. He was the type of person who would give you the shirt off his back, or even better, buy you a beer. I was really looking forward to seeing him later this month but will instead always remember him for the selfless and caring man that he was.

Rest easy, Bill.
 
 
Christin Dulaney
I was going through some boxes last night and I came across this note that Bill Roe sent with a reimbursement check for some club expenses shortly after I’d moved back to Chicago in 2013. I shuffled quickly past it since it wasn’t the thing I was looking for but thought momentarily that I was glad I had hung on to it all these years. This morning I went and got it out after I learned of his passing. I remember taking pictures at a WWU meet when I was in grad school. I heard Bill’s voice over the load-speaker, explaining why college/elite runners run a 1500 rather than an even four laps—that tracks used to be 500m—and that the way it’s depicted in Chariots of Fire is historically inaccurate. I laughed. It seemed very classic Bill Roe whose voice I grew very accustomed to at the summer Club Northwest All-Comers meets. So accustomed that shortly after I tore my ACL I had a dream that I was running an indoor marathon in the hallways of my old high school and I heard Bill’s voice over the loudspeaker saying that if we weren’t at least mile 15 (in the dream I was not), we might as well give up because we would not finish the race before they packed up the finish line. I told Bill about this dream and, sweet person that he is, he was apologetic about what his disembodied voice in my dream had said.

So much of my involved in the track & field community would not and could not have happened without the opportunities Bill created. From the opportunity to compete in pole vault as a non-college athlete, to my first officials clinic, to letting me start a youth program for Club Northwest, to eventually a seat on the board. Though that chapter in my life is mostly closed, I am forever grateful for the impact it had on me. I would be lucky to live a life with the same passion, dedication, and commitment to anything the way Bill lived for the track & field community--supporting everyone, at all levels, in the face of setbacks obstacles, never giving up. It seems unlikely I’ll make to the memorial service, but tonight I will be watching Chariots of Fire while eating pepperoni and black olive pizza and drinking Blue Moon and toasting to Bill. Miss you too, friend!

Juan Castillo - former Western Washington athlete
Bill,
Words cannot express how eternally grateful I am for everything you have done for me in the last 7 years while I was an athlete at Western, as a coach and as friend. You are truly a wonderful and caring man who always wanted the best for people and wanted to help bring out the best in people, both on the track and in life.
 
When I first arrived at Western in the Fall of 2012, I won't lie I was tad bit intermediated by you, particularly after our first workout at Fort Casey. I didn't have a great workout because I was suffering from iron-deficient anemia and you totally understood that which was comforting to me since I was in a low point in my running career. As the seasons came and went, your constant belief and encouragement only fueled my drive to want to give it my all for you, Peewee and the team. I started to feel the spark of my old self coming back. Granted I suffered some setbacks, particularly my fifth year, due to illnesses that definitely derailed all the momentum I had been building that resulted in lackluster performances. For me it was really tragic because I couldn't fully display what I was truly capable of for my team and felt like I had wasted all your efforts for nothing. But you didn't see it that way. You saw it as someone who truly cared about his sport and his team and just got dealt a bad hand. You were unbelievably supportive in those times for me that words cannot begin to describe my gratitude to you. I mean heck you and Peewee even let me come on board as an assistant coach after I finished up my eligibility. In those 4 years of being under your tutelage, I not only learned a great deal of tips and information from you but I began to see coaching the way you did, and I felt that was why our dynamic worked so well. We seemed to be on the same page about everything running related and were almost pretty much in sync when it came to running workouts. It almost seemed kind of unreal how efficient we had become during workouts, but then again we both shared a great passion for the sport and had so much fun being apart of it that its kind of a no brainer why it would go so well.
 
Aside from the running aspect of things, I will always enjoy the nights we go play darts at the Up & Up. I remember the first time coming to play with you, you introduced me your friends Karl, Caesar and Tim. I never would have thought that after that day that I would view these fine gentlemen as great friends. Their love for beer, darts, endless stories and comradery always made the evenings a hoot. I'm very grateful you introduced these awesome guys to me. I know I was not very good at darts but you still encouraged me to come out and play every Tuesday nights. To me I felt that was when my friendship began to deepen more with you. Eventually I won my first game against you. You were happy for me. Fast forward a few years, now I am beating you on an almost consistent basis and you begun to wonder if inviting back was a good idea. But you were good sport about, even on your "off nights" when you start to recite all 13 sailor words and almost knocking Ian over out of frustration (side note: Ian is a guy in a picture frame on the wall above the dartboard), which to be honest I found hard not to laugh at because of how animated you'd get about your darts games.
 
Bill you are truly a wonderful man with a great heart who always wanted the best for everyone and would go out your way to help anyone in need. You believed in every person that you've ever met or coached that they had the ability to do amazing things on and off the racing course. You never turned people away and always gave them a shot to prove what they were made of and were always there rain or shine, snow or wind. Everyone who ever knew you knew that they could always rely on you for help or guidance.
 
You were my coach, my mentor and someone I could call a close friend. You were truly great man so when I was told of your sudden passing, it felt like the whole world had stopped. Every thought and feeling I had accumulated from the past weeks and months just vanished. I couldn't fathom what I was just told. All I could feel was this inner turmoil beginning to boil over inside. I was completely devastated by your passing and was honestly unsure what to do or say. In all honesty my first thoughts were how the team is going to handle this, and made me realize that I have to be there for them to support them in your place because I know that's exactly what you would have done for them. They were your family and you cared for all them deeply, even if they brought you some headaches from time to time.
 
So as I end this message to you with a heavy heart, I will continue to celebrate the great life that you lived by sharing the experiences, stories, wisdom and laughs you brought upon everyone in your countless years of being in the running world. Your legacy will never cease and will always continue on within the lives of everyone you've touched and to future generations to come. May you rest peacefully my friend, it has been an absolute honor running and working with you. I hope Heaven has enough Bodhizafa for you to enjoy as you set track practices for all those up there with you.
 
Thaddeus Garlatz- former athlete at Western Washington University
I’m completely rocked. As most of you have heard, Bill Roe passed away yesterday. I learned the horrible news as some of us WWU alumni were celebrating friendship and sport at the Olympic Marathon Trials. It’s still so surreal. I really can’t comprehend it, and I don’t want to accept it.
I’ve known Bill for nearly 20 years and owe so much of what I’ve become to him. He was my coach, my friend, my colleague, and my mentor. Sometimes he was a huge pain in my ass, and me to him. It was awesome.

He convinced me - some kid who wasn’t fast enough to run for the UW and out there running local road races on my own - to come be part of the team at WWU. It was absolutely the best thing that ever happened to me. 100%. I met my wife, my best friends, and found my passion. He allowed me the opportunity to start my coaching career, and was always a strong advocate for me. When I decided it was time to move back home, he welcomed me back with open arms.

For those who haven’t been around Bill much recently, honestly, he seemed like he was doing great. He was happy, he was sharp, he was still incredibly busy, and still classic Bill - roasting me to the team this past Monday for not properly formatting the weekly workout sheet with his desired volume for the 5k/steeple workout. Really, he was the same Bill Roe who we came to know and love until the very end. He spent his last day setting up a cross country course - probably with pin flags nearly exactly three meters apart. I mean, come on, that’s Bill.

For me, writing this is therapeutic. I hope it’s helpful for all of you who knew him as well. I’ve spent the past day reading all of the tributes, well wishes, and looking at old pictures. I don’t apologize for being verbose (something Bill actually hassled me about in those exact words last weekend - it’s hilarious). I just miss Bill.

While Bill could be Bill (you all know what I mean by this), he really had a soft side that I’ve come to see and appreciate so much more these past few years since I’ve been back. It’s crazy how happy it made me watching Bill joke and play with my two little kids who I would often bring to practice. I was sure he was going to be irritated with me having to bring them, but I saw that he actually loved having them there, and they loved seeing him each day. It was so sweet.
Take solace knowing that Bill really lived his best life. He loved athletics. He loved New Zealand. He loved darts and beer. He did so much for so many. His selflessness still amazes me. He did things the right way, with no expectation of self benefit. I strive to be more like Bill in this regard.
Now, it’s up to all of us to honor Bill, and make him proud. Be there for each other, promote and be advocates for our sport in our own way, and have fun... and maybe listen to some Jimmy Buffet.

Bill, I love and miss you.
 
 
Sarah Crouch - former athlete at Western Washington University
Before my freshman year at WWU started I found myself in a rustic cabin off the coast of Washington state with my brand-new teammates. The cabin was owned by a man Named Bill Roe. In the mornings we’d crawl out of our sleeping bags and shiver as coach Pee Wee and Bill made breakfast over the hot griddle. And then we would run. Our first workout was 4 X 1 mile on a grass loop near old WW2 army barracks and as a 17-year old kid, when I completed that final mile rep and stood hunched over catching my breath, Bill put a hand on my back and told me I could be great at this sport. He was a constant presence for our team, a voice I came to know and expect during workouts and races, a smile and a hug and a sunny disposition that never wavered. A man with a complex mind and a past full of memories and mischief, and a tattoo I never quite got the full story behind. Back then I had no idea how far his influence reached, how he had served as president of USA Track and Field, had been to countless world-class events at the highest echelon of the sport, had founded a magazine that I was privileged to have my first cover on as a professional runner years later. I just knew him as Bill. I will miss him as Bill, and the sport will miss him as much, much more than that.

Run in peace, Bill.
 
 
Megan Heuer
I can’t imagine warming up for a race without hearing your voice. Or standing on the start line without waving to you on the side of the course. Or sprinting to the finish without the joy of hearing you call out my name. Thanks, Bill Roe, for all you did for the running community. You have spread your pure love and expertise of running to generations and generations of runners. 
 
 
Shelby Schenck
Devastated by the news of my friend Bill Roe's passing. He was an icon in Track and Field circles and an inspiration to many of us. He was amazing man with a huge heart and great sense of humor. Bill did the timing for all of our Bothell Track home meets packing up his van and driving all the way down from Bellingham to help us out. I offered him more money to do our meets since it was such a chore but he said he would rather have that money go to our kids and the track program. I loved hearing him announce a meet with his great lines, "lane 4 going out at a VERY optimistic pace" and the way he treated the last place person the same as the winner. The Track & Field world will not be the same without Bill Roe.

Rest in Peace my friend
 
 
Paul Limpf
Gutted to see the news about Bill Roe this morning. Bill was such a force on the track and field scene in the PNW and did so much volunteer work to grow the sport not only in the NW, but around the country. I will never forget working with him at the All-Comers meets at Shoreline during my time in Seattle. He could easily teach a course on meet management as every meet was perfectly run. But more importantly, he made the meets enjoyable for everyone. He truly enjoyed working with the youth and instilling a love for the sport at a young age. He also treated his volunteers at the meet to pizza every week to show his appreciation to them. He was influential in my post collegiate career and allowed me to be a part of Club Northwest and to pursue my post collegiate dreams. I could go on for days about my appreciation for Bill, but I want to thank him one last time for everything he did not only for me, but for countless others along the way.

RIP, my friend.
 
 
Maggie Roe - Bill’s niece
Bill was one of the few people where the phrase “to know him is to love him” was the truth. He was the most kind and supportive person - as I know hundreds and hundreds of friends, athletes, and colleagues can attest.

He encouraged me from the time I was 14 to keep throwing, stick with it, and take it as far as I could. He was part of the reason I decided to go to Western, and he helped me walk on to the track team - which changed my entire life. His voice on a meet PA system was the soundtrack to many of my most memorable moments, and he served as my private cheering section many many times. He supported me in ways no one else could - finding silver lining in less-than-perfect performances, and offering a big hug no matter how far I threw.

I was always very proud when people recognized my last name at meets - they’d tell me how much they loved Bill and that felt really special... I’m not gonna lie, I’ve spent much of the last 24 hours crying, wishing I told him the ways he impacted me, and how very proud I was to be his niece. My family might not have Uncle Bill pushing (begging) the little ones to try Track anymore - but I think that means it’s my turn.

I’ll take it from here, Bill.

Thanks to everyone who has been sharing stories and offering their condolences to my family. Please help us keep his legacy alive. Volunteer at a local race or meet, encourage those around you to run, jump, throw, and vault to their highest potential. He’ll be cheering for you.

 
Kevin Beason
My heart is heavy this morning learning that my friend and former track and field coach at WWU, Bill Roe, has passed away. He was a strong leader and mentor for so many student athletes, impacting my life in a multitude of pathways. Praying for friends, family, and loved ones, may we all strive to continue your legacy.
 
 
David Burnett
Bill Roe you are going to be missed my friend. I appreciate ALL of the knowledge you shared with me over the years. From the time I arrived in Washington you befriended me and even when I left you took time to check in and I wish I could say thank you in person again. Thank you for mentoring me. The track and field community worldwide has lost a great person who contributed heavily to the advancement of the sport. The in depth stories, dart games, trips, pre season camp, the grind of the seasons, and just the talks. All of it has made me a better coach but more importantly better person. You helped make everyday a great day for WWU Cross Country and Track & Field, so thank you.

Love and will miss you.
 
 
Jamie Witten
Bill Roe was a force of nature. PacNW T&F got the blessing of more time and attention than we'll ever be able to fully appreciate, and he still had more to give the greater T&F world. It's actually quite remarkable. Seeing the impact of his mentorship through his love of the sport in the messages and stories about him makes my heart swell. Yes, his passing leaves a hole, but he equipped so many near and far that his legacy will live and grow. Thankful to have known him, and will definitely miss his distinctive PA voice.

Cheers, Bill.
 
 
Alison Mandi - Club Northwest athlete
I wanted to post today about my son Nathan and I finishing our goal of running 15 miles together over the course of the month of February. But then I learned that Bill Roe passed away last night and I’m hit pretty hard. He organized the highest levels of USA Track & Field competition, even serving as USATF president, yet he was never too important to be there for the small local races announcing everyone by name. In fact the first run that Nathan and I did together this month was the 2-mile Winter Gran Prix, and even though we were the final race and it took 30 minutes for us to finish in the rain- Bill was making that race happen, and would have waited as long as it took for us cross the line and get our result. Many of my running highlights from my high school days all the way to the Club National Cross Country Championships a couple months ago were possible because of Bill. I’m glad I got to tell you earlier this month how much we appreciate you, but thank you is not enough. We took a photo of Nate jumping into the sunset as we finished our final run, right as you finished the race that is life. You will be missed by the running community. I pray you are resting with God in peace and health.
 
 
Tony Robinson
My heart hurts...close family friend, coach, mentor, college housemate, partner in crime( oh, so many stories), we pissed each other off a bunch, you held my boys as babies, and teased my wife for marrying me, you saw I'm me what others didn't and passed on a deep love for sport, my many miles (and one Guinness record) are thanks to you, my many athletes are thanks to you. Of course you knew all this, because we shared all of this. I will miss you. No regrets in our friendship, nothing unsaid.
 
 
Sarah Kline Kinzer — Bill’s Niece
My uncle and God Father passed away yesterday. He was surrounded by friends doing what loved; setting up an international track meet. We celebrated him last night with pizza, a can of black olives and good beer. A kinder, gentler man there never was. Edit: He’d roll over in his not quite yet grave if he knew I just tagged him on Facebook. But the posts he’s tagged in as the news spreads—from people everywhere— are absolutely fabulous, so I’m going to do it anyway. You obviously touched many, many lives.
 
 
Mike Tully
Bill was a heck of a guy. Along with being a track coach at Western, he also worked for the ed department (and also happened to be the president of USA Track and Field). He knew that I was planning on being a teacher, and he always encouraged me and told me that I was going to be a head track coach someday. So here I am now, starting my 12th year as head track coach tomorrow.

Thanks for helping me down that path Bill.
 
 
Dan Contreras
Saddened to hear the passing of my longtime WWU XC/TF Coach and former USA TF President, Bill Roe. He was my first introduction to college running and training and all things fun about being part of a college XC team. Many shared memories with him as a runner, student and WWU Alum and later as a father when he got to meet my boys on the track. I will cherish these memories, he was a good man and friend.

 
Matt Kite
Sad news about a man who was my mentor at WWU and who had an impact on countless people's lives. Bill Roe was the quintessential man of the people and a pillar of the running community. Although he served in many official capacities (President of USA Track and Field, distance coach at WWU, head of the long-running all-comers series, etc.), he was also a friend to countless runners, young and old. When he wasn't overseeing some race or jetting off to some far-flung locale with the US team, he was flipping burgers at the Up & Up -- or making spaghetti for his roommates and athletes at the "track house." Friend, mentor, drinking buddy (in an era when coaches and athletes could fraternize without worry).

Rest in peace, Bill. You will be missed!

 
Jesse Williams - former Club NW athlete
Very sad to hear about Bill Roe’s passing this morning. Like so many in the northwest, I felt looked after by Bill for years. The Club Northwest days, working with him at the all-comers events, and hearing that familiar voice every time I crossed the line. He was THE person you called for everything in this sport and just an all around great guy.

Rest In Peace Bill

 
Scott Rohrer
Coach. Mentor. Friend. Love you, Bill - you’ll be deeply missed.

 
Jim Estes - USATF colleague
To echo the words of many in the running community, I’m very sad to hear of the passing of Bill Roe. He was caring and passionate about the sport and the many friends that he made. 

Rest Easy Bill.
 
 
Fred Finke - USATF colleague
RIP Bill old friend. Thank you for the 37 years of brotherhood friendship.
 
 
Andy Martin - USATF colleague
In your life you are lucky to have one (maybe two) mentors in your life. Yesterday I lost one of mine. He literally took me under his wings at the 1998 Associations Workshop and showed me how to (positively and productively) navigate the world of USATF.
This (photo) was him on the hurdle crew at the 2002 National Club Championships (an event he created). At the time he was 2 years into his PRESIDENCY of USA Track & Field.
No job too small.

Thank you Mr. Roe.  RIP Bill

 
Uli Steidl - Club NW athlete
So saddened by the news that Bill Roe passed away. Nobody will ever be able to fill the shoes he is leaving behind in the Pacific Northwest track & field community. Like size 25.
One of my favorite memories is from the All comers meet in Shoreline, at the time when he was USATF president. He was there to set up, and direct the kids events, then left about half way through the meet: "I got to go to SeaTac, catch my flight to the World Championships".
Bill was Track & Field (and XC, road running, MUT), from all-comers meets to the Olympics.

Miss you, Bill!

 
Mike Blackmore
Just saw a post that former USATF President and huge cross country leader Bill Roe passed away today. I met Bill as a high school athlete when he asked me to run in a meet in Seattle shortly before the Commonwealth Games took place in Canada. I remember running in a race with Rod Dixon as a 16 year old. Pretty sure I got lapped a few times. Bill was a big part of Club Northwest for well over 40 years and loved the sport of cross country. Club cross and US XC championships will never be the same from this day forward.

You are a legend, Bill.


Mac Franks - former Western Washington University athlete
A simply extraordinary human being.

You touched the lives of thousands of athletes in the Pacific Northwest and shaped the entire international running community because of your hard work and leadership. I feel cheated that I only had the chance to be one of your athletes for three short years, that I never had the chance to make it to your World Famous Up n Up to share a beer and play darts, and that I never got the chance to tell you that your belief in me as a runner was one of my main sources of motivation. I owe my trip to nattys to you.
 
I'll definitely miss the endless hot cocoa supply in the shed, the perfectly measured and marked workouts that felt like professional meets, and your hundreds of stories about the olympic athletes, coaches, and people that you had met in your lifetime.

I'll never forget the day I showed up to do a tempo on Urb, expecting to do it alone because I couldn't make it to practice, and you were there waiting. You drove your van to get the splits at every checkmark for the entire workout. That's the kind of coach you were, incredibly selfless and kind.
 
You are my role model,
Rest easy Coach Bill.