From Brook­lyn to the Olympics: The Hall of Fame Career of Auburn Uni­ver­si­ty Track Coach Mel Rosen

  • From the Publisher
September 15, 2014

This book fol­lows Mel Rosen’s life from the streets of Brook­lyn dur­ing the 1930s and 1940s to his selec­tion as head coach of the Unit­ed States track-and-field team for the 1992 Barcelona Sum­mer Olympics. The sto­ry describes how a Jew­ish kid from Brighton Beach, New York, fol­lowed his dream to become the head track-and-field coach at Auburn Uni­ver­si­ty for 28 years. Rosen’s achieve­ments there were extra­or­di­nary. He coached sev­en Olympians and 143 All-Amer­i­cans and guid­ed Auburn’s track-and-field team to four con­sec­u­tive South­east­ern Con­fer­ence indoor cham­pi­onships. The pin­na­cle of his career was coach­ing U.S. Olympians to a record 20 medals in Barcelona. As a result of his impres­sive achieve­ments, Rosen was induct­ed into the Alaba­ma Sports Hall of Fame (1993), the U.S. Track and Field Hall of Fame (1995), and the Inter­na­tion­al Jew­ish Sports Hall of Fame (1994). Auburn Uni­ver­si­ty hon­ored him in 2006 by nam­ing its new track the Hut­sell-Rosen Track.

Author Craig Darch inter­viewed many of Rosen’s for­mer ath­letes and fel­low coach­es. Includ­ed are com­ments from football/​baseball super­star Bo Jack­son, leg­endary foot­ball coach Pat Dye, and Olympic medal­ists Har­vey Glance, Willie Smith, and Carl Lewis. Most impor­tant­ly, the book relies on the mem­o­ries of Mel Rosen, his fam­i­ly, his Brighton Beach bud­dies,” and oth­er friends he made along the way. It details Rosen’s coach­ing career dur­ing the tur­bu­lent 1950s and 1960s. Includ­ed are live­ly vignettes about Auburn sports his­to­ry, Alaba­ma his­to­ry, Jews in the South, and the Olympics. The sto­ry is an inti­mate, anec­dote-rich por­trait of a man who achieved excel­lence both as a track coach and as a person.

Read Craig Darch’s Vis­it­ing Scribe Posts

How I Got Inter­est­ed in Writ­ing the Mel Rosen Biography

My Par­ents’ Lega­cy, My Library, and the Mel Rosen Biography

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