SALEM, VA—Roanoke College dedicated its track in honor of Coach Homer Bast on Friday, September 22. The College hosted a ceremony held at the track, which was dedicated officially as the C. Homer Bast Track.
Coach Bast and his wife, Mary Jane, were in attendance, as well the donor who has made this possible, Roger W. Sandt of Lancaster, Penn., a member of Roanoke’s class of 1964. Former Roanoke athletes, students, faculty, staff and friends of Bast’s attended the ceremony, as did his sons, Steve and Mike. Dick Emberger, a member of the College’s class of 1960 who competed in the 1964 Olympic games, returned to his alma mater to see the track dedicated in honor of his former coach.
“Homer Bast helped students set high standards which many achieved athletically and scholastically during their years at Roanoke College. However, achievement for others became a life long quest based on the principles he outlined. Simply said, Homer Bast gave a blueprint to be followed for life in which there was no room for mediocrity,” said Sandt.
The C. Homer Bast Track will be the second College facility to bear Bast’s name. At the request of John and Nancy Mulheren, the Bast Center gymnasium was dedicated in his honor in 1982.
Bast arrived at Roanoke College as a history professor in 1946 and also served as registrar, director of admissions and director of the summer and evening programs before retiring in 1979. An “honorary alumnus” of the College, Bast is credited with rebuilding a track that had not been used in over 20 years and reviving interest in the sport of track and field at Roanoke. He began what would be a very successful 25-year coaching stint in 1947 and led his teams to many wins and championships.
Roanoke College, the country’s second oldest Lutheran-related college, is an independent, co-educational, four-year liberal arts college. Roanoke is one of just 270 colleges nationwide with a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, the nation’s oldest and most prestigious honor society. The Princeton Review names Roanoke as one of the “best in the Southeast.” Roanoke’s 1,970 students represent 40 states across the U.S. and 26 foreign countries.