Nick Costes was a man worth honoring

Published 11:00 pm Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Story by Mike Amos

Over the weekend Troy University celebrated Homecoming with the theme “The Trojan Games: A Beacon to the World.”

The university honored among others, former Olympic runner and long time professor and track coach Nick Costes.

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What a special man who brought his brilliance to the troy state college in 1957. He came here from Boston University to teach Kinesiology in Troy’s outstanding Physical Education program headed up by Dr. Earl Watson. The rest is history!

A pioneer in the field of long distance running, gaining his reputation as the first American to finish in the 26 mile marathon in the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne, Australia.

He started Troy State’s track and field program in 1957 and brought great recognition to the program he coached until 1969. He was a perfect example of a hands on coach. He ran with his team everyday and if he wasn’t running with them he was running by himself.

I can remember as a young boy playing golf on the college’s nine-hole course and he would run right through us. He owned that golf course in his own mind. It was his training ground.

People just got used to seeing that man in the red shorts run around town. Yes! Those shorts were his only protection against the golf ball. It was no big thing for him to run 10 to 15 miles a day. He became a well-known member in the community.

Many times he would run in his own track meets against his own players. A lot of times he would win.

Dr. Rod Beck, a local Troy boy was his biggest competition. After his career as a coach was over he still ran and ran and ran. For years all the running caused wear and tear on his legs and joints, but he still ran around campus. As great as he was as an athlete his true greatness was as a teacher. He was a brilliant teacher. Nobody knew about the muscles and bone structure than Dr. Costes. His writings on running and Kinesiology are well known worldwide.

Never and probable forever will there be another teaser like Costes. Troy State was privileged to have him as a professor in their physical education program for over 40 years. He laid the groundwork for outstanding teachers and at the same time any student he taught. There are not enough superlatives out there to explain this guy. He wasn’t a people type person, he didn’t care about what you thought about him and he definitely marched to his own drum.

All he cares about was developing students into the best they can be.

Nick was my friend for years. I think he liked me because I had a good memory. No better individual could be honored than the great Nick Costes. So respected by the thousands of students that were lucky to have been in his classroom.

“Look out guys here comes that man in the red shorts.”