2007 USATF Pacific Hall of Fame Inductee Rick Milam Official/Contributor
April 4, 1944 – 8/23/2010
Level of Certification: Master
Years Officiating: 50
Years in Pacific Association: 50
First Officiated 1960 First Certified
Long time Race Director for Los Gatos All Comers Meets
The inaugural Rick Milam Memorial Track and Field Meet at this year’s Bay Area Senior Games honors Milam, who died of a heart attack on Aug. 23, 2010, while driving in San Jose. Milam, a 1962 alum of Sequoia High in Redwood City, was Senior Games tournament director for many years. That job has been turned over to his older brother, Leroy, a ’59 graduate of Sequoia. “My brother was the most laid back person,” Leroy said. “If something went wrong, he’d just say, ‘We’ll get by.’ He was never negative, never said a bad word about anybody.”
Before Rick Milam suffered a heart attack behind the wheel on that fateful day, he had fought Stage 4 colon cancer and was winning the battle while maintaining an exhaustive schedule though out the Central Coast Section of the CIF. Milam maintained a positive attitude through out. When others were upset to learn of his battle his response was. ”This is nothing, I was a Marine.”
He never forgot whom the sport was about. It was about every athlete who ran, jumped or threw something.
“Rick was driving along 880 near the Alameda underpass,” Leroy said. “There was a couple changing a flat tire on the side of the road next to the fast lane. Rick drove into them, injuring one of them. The officer who investigated the accident said there were no skid marks for 300 feet, so they felt Rick had died already or was unconscious. They checked Rick’s driving record and he had no tickets in 30 years of driving.”
At the ensuing memorial held at Los Gatos High, 400 people packed the gym. In attendance was 1956 Olympian Dan Bowden, the first American to break the 4-minute mile. In addition, there was Milam’s 1978 Homestead-Cupertino cross-country team that won the Central Coast Section championship.
“There were countless people there,” said Milam’s close friend, Mike Dudley, a 1979 graduate of Cupertino High. “Just talking about it gets me choked up. He impacted so many people.”
“I tried to greet as many people as possible at the door,” Leroy said. “There were 30 or 40 U.S. Track and Field officials there. It was a large contingent.”
Rick Milam was born in Palo Alto, played football and basketball at Sequoia before attending College of San Mateo. After transferring to San Jose State, Milam became team manager for the Spartans’ vaunted track and field team and Coach Bud Winter, recognized as one of the greatest sprints coaches in the world.
Milam joined the U.S. Marine Corps, where he stayed for two years. When Milam landed a job coaching track & field and cross-country at Homestead, he incorporated stringent training he learned in the Marine Corps into his practices.
“Rick was hard on his athletes,” Leroy said. “He wanted them to run fast, but not too fast. He wanted them to peak near the end of the season.”
Milam was disenchanted with the layoffs of teachers back then, so he went into the insurance business, working on tax shelters for sports figures. Milam kept his hand, as well as his vast knowledge, in helping to run track and field meets for 44 years. Wherever there was a track meet or a cross-country meet, Milam was usually there. A few years ago, he was one of the announcers at the Artichoke Invitational.
He helped with the announcing at CCS meets, as well as invitational meets. With his deep voice, he would not only call the races, but also make announcements.
Willie Harmatz, who headed the track and field program at Los Gatos High from 1978 to 2002, first met Milam in 1975.
“We hit it off from Day 1,” said Harmatz, inducted into the Long Beach City College Hall of Champions last year. “He was organized and liked to run meets. He shared the same interests as mine. It is great they named the meet after him. He should be honored.”
Harmatz started the All-Comers and Top 8 Track and Field meets in 1978. It wasn’t long before Milam and Harmatz were running the meets together.
“Rick was my backbone for all my officials,” Harmatz said. “I couldn’t have done it by myself.”
If there was a local track and field meet, Rick Milam was most likely front and center. “Rick helped everybody,” Leroy said. “He helped coaches become better coaches, even if he didn’t like them.”
“Rick’s joy was so infectious,” said Dudley, who works as a meet official, as well as, a meet announcer. “When he told me he had colon cancer, he didn’t complain. He just said it was a part of life. He loved living every moment and had great energy. He was my best friend.”
Dudley felt Milam’s presence at this year’s Top 8 Meet, held at San Jose City College on April 17.
“Willie and I were setting up the meet and I found some old clipboards with Rick’s writing on it,” Dudley said. “I told Willie that Rick was still with us.”
The spirit of Rick Milam will be ever-present at CSM on Sunday and for future years to come. No denying, he is still with us.
Rick received the 2007 CCS Distinguished Service Award from the Executive Committee of the CIR-Central Section Board of Managers in October 2007 for his service as long time Track and Field Meet Director in that section.
The award is intended to honor those individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the Central Coast section and the California use a plastic federation over a period of years this career award is reserved for truly outstanding individuals who have made personal and professional sacrifices in order to promote, develop and positively influence interscholastic athletes.
Rick was the cross-country and track and field coach at Homestead high school in Cupertino for 12 years before moving into private industry in 1983. While at Homestead, he coached 16 championship teams and the CCS championship cross-country team. Since leaving Homestead Rick has coached at the community college level and worked for several years in field of sports psychology with Dr. Bruce Ogilvie at State University. According to his resume, Rick also worked extensively with the US Olympic Track and Field, Volleyball Swimming and Gymnastics teams as well as various teams in NFL and NBA, the US Figure Skating Association, the US Hammer Throwing team and the US Women’s Cycling Team. He was director of sales for NBN Sports In his spare time, Rick kept himself even more busy organizing and helping out at several road races, all comers meets, invitational and Central Coast Section League and Section meets. He was codirector of the Top Eight Track and Field Meet as wells the CCS Track and Field Championships. Rick also served as the League Secretary for the SCVAL.
He did everything with a smile. He was real. He wore his love for the sport on his sleeve. His best attribute was the relationship he had with the coaches and the athletes. He got along with every coach, helping them if something came up.
He had a very special relationship with each athlete. If the athlete set a personal best, won a title, or qualified for state, he would give that athlete a high-five.
Other Awards: Dick Barbour 2001