‘What you see is what you get’
Herald and News
Klamath Falls, Oregon
August 12, 2006
By LEE JUILLERAT
Bob Freirich is a long-time Klamath Basin coach who helped found the Crater Lake Rim Runs and Marathon (which are being run today for the 31st straight year)
He works for the Klamath County School District, and is the cross country coach at Henley High School. Freirich also works with Henley’s pole vaulters during the spring track and field season.
With his wife, Beverly, Freirich will serve as race director for the Crater Lake races for his 29th consecutive year.
Who are your heroes?
Ralph Hill, the 5,000-meter silver medalist in the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics, who was a member of our community. In my mind, he represented what athletics were all about – a dedicated competitor and sportsman who kept things in perspective. I can remember when I was running in high school and college I kept thinking, “Wow, an Olympian right here from Oregon.” Then, years later, I found myself coaching at Ralph’s alma mater, Henley High School. I feel very fortunate to have met him and worked with him on community projects in person.
If you could choose to go anywhere (past or present) and do anything, where would you go and what would you do?
I would like to have been standing at the finish line when Roger Bannister broke the four-minute mile, and I would have cheered the loudest. So much for not being able to do the “impossible.”
What is the last book you’ve read?
“The DaVinci Code,” unless you count rule books, then it’s the upcoming track and field/cross country rule books.
If you could change one thing about the Klamath Basin, what would it be?
Beverly and I moved here in 1961, had ample opportunities to move somewhere else to change, but we chose to stay and raise our family here. This is home.
What would people be surprised to know about you?
What you see is what you get.
What is your most embarrassing moment?
I had just been elected the president of the Ferguson School PTA and was being introduced. I was dressed to the hilt – you know, suit, white shirt and tie, shiny shoes, etc. (no sweats, shorts and t-shirt). I was wearing a clip-on tie, and, at my “thank you,” my tie unclipped. So much for trying to be what your aren’t.
Is there anything you’ve wanted to do and never been able to?
Write a book. Getting close, though. It might be: “Runnin’ the Rim.”
What is your greatest fear?
People and governments who act first, think and talk later.
What do you most admire in others? What do you most abhor in others?
Just being themselves, upfront and honest. I really don’t look for those types of qualities (abhorrent) in people. For the most part, I look for the good in people.
What question do you not want to be asked?
“How come you’re still working?”
You can send a one-line message to your forebears. What do you say? Same for your grandchildren? What do you tell them?
In many ways, I say pretty much the same thing, “It’s a small planet … be part of the solution, not part of the problem.”