My association with track and field, as well as cross-country, began in high school as a student manager for my high school team. When I began school at the University of Minnesota in the fall of 1980, I quickly became very busy with both Naval ROTC and a fraternity. But despite all that and my studies, something was missing.

I found that I missed the comradery of being a part of a team, so I sought out Coach Roy Griak to see if there was a need for a student manager. As luck had it, he needed a new student manager, and he knew my high school coach and checked on my backgound. He took me on and that was the beginning of over four years serving as a student equipment manager for both the indoor and outdoor track and field teams, and the cross-country team. We hosted major meets indoors and out, installed a new track behind the Bierman Building, and traveled to meets. We even partook in split squad meets where the Coach took the majority of the team to one meet, and sent me off with a smaller squad for another meet – essentially entrusting me to coach and run that small squad for a day. These early opportunities at coaching and leading gave me tools for my career in the United States Navy.

Following college, I entered the Navy and served all over the world for the next 27 years at a variety of ship, shore, and joint commands. I retired from active service in 2012, and rejoined the Navy as a senior government civilian serving at the Pentagon.

Through numerous trips back home to Minnesota over the years, a touchstone of times was usually a stop by Bierman to check in with Coach Griak or, after his passing, some of the others still working with the teams or equipment staff that I knew.

Sadly, the people I know have moved on, and now the Athletic Director has chosen cost savings over the enrichment and development of student athletes for a sport that is openly accessible and participated in by the widest and most diverse variety of possible people.

Sincerely, Jay Bottelson Commander, United States Navy (Retired) UM CLA 1985