‘Red’ Edwards presented with prestigious Ed Barker Award at annual OAT&CCC Banquet
By GARY HENERY
News Managing Editor
Don “Red” Edwards, longtime track and field coach at Big Walnut High School, was honored with the “The Ed Barker Award” last Friday at The Ohio Association of Track and Cross Country Coaches (OAT&CCC) annual Hall of Fame Banquet held at the Hilton at Easton in Columbus.
“I was very happy and surprised, it was something I could not believe receiving such a high honor,” Edwards said after receiving the honor. “It’s something I never dreamed of receiving … It’s something I never expected.”
The “Ed Barker Award” is given in acknowledgment to the individual who has shown the most exceptional service to the OAT&CCC and to the sports of track and cross country.
Edwards, who was introduced by Big Walnut High School Athletic Director Steve Glesenkamp, has given more than 50 years of service to the sport of track and field in Ohio.
He started coaching at Big Walnut in 1957 and, except for a few years, has remained involved with the Golden Eagle program. He started Big Walnut’s boys and girls cross country programs at the high school level and began the middle school programs in 1985.
Edwards also coached the Women’s Division of the Ohio Track Club in Central Ohio and in 1976 he started the Sunbury Track Club in which he still remains active.
In addition to receiving the Barker Awards, Edwards also had the opportunity to meet former United States Olympian Harrison Dillard who was a guest at the banquet.
“That was quite a thrill to meet Harrison and have the opportunity to talk about his track experiences,” Edwards said. Dillard competed in both the 1948 and 1952 Olympics, winning gold medals in the 100 meters in 1948 and the high hurdles in 1952.
Perhaps even more than his coaching, “Red” is know for his outstanding collection of track and field memorabilia. After he started it in 1954, his collection has grown so much that he bought the house next door and now uses it for a museum. It is free to the public.
Items housed in “Red’s” museum are from around the world and his Ohio collection is an exceptional showcase. Since 1985, he has displayed many of these items at the OAT&CCC’s annual clinic. They not only educate, but enhance the historic importance of track and field in Ohio.
“It’s been an honor to display my track and cross country memorabilia at the clinic since 1985,” Edwards said.
The Ohio Association of Track and Cross Country Coaches clinic is one of the largest track clinics in the United States, drawing more than 1,400 coaches every year.