Dr. Woodhall Alumni Update (June 09 - #2)

Saturday, June 27 2009

CAN YOU BELIEVE IT?   One Mile = 3:59.77  for “ Strack”
Dan Strackeljahn (07) was a great middle distance runner for EIU and flirted with the four-minute mile barrier during his senior year.  He did run a 4:02.88 and had run outstanding 1500 meter events (3:43.94 was his best)   In this photo, “Strack” has just won an indoor race at EIU (2 years) ago.  The smile on his face was good but

nothing compared to what folks saw after his 3:59.77 mile in Memphis in early June.  He teaches Industrial Technology at Minooka High School and continues to train for what he hopes are many more excellent races.

MISCELLANEOUS  NaDean Aten, wife of Dennis Aten (long time EIU Athletic Trainer) died suddenly on June 12th.  They have been retired for many years and living in Charleston, with winters in Florida.  Dennis needs and appreciates your prayers. Ben Timson’s HS Soccer Team ended up easily winning the third place game (4-0) in the Class 1 State (Missouri) Tournament. Though they had 34 shots on goal to the opponent’s three, they were unable to score in the opening game of the Tourney and had to settle for third. ..still a great year.

Dave Sardella has been a friend of EIU Athletics....especially Track and Field, for many, many years.  Even long before he retired from his “EIU Registration Dept. duties in 1999, he was an active track official.  Most recently, he is well known for his continuing work as “Clerk of the Course” for most every meet held at EIU.  Here, he appears in Champaign recently, watching his 6 year old grandson compete in an age group swim meet.  Dave still has the famous smile...hard to figure how he maintains that as a fan of the struggling Chicago Cubs.

Robin  Romans (80) was mentioned in a recent EIU Stuff Newsletter.  Though we had no real communication for nearly 30 years, he was located.  He completed his Ph.D. work in 1992 and through a diversity of administrative (including recruitment of top students) and teaching positions (often directly or indirectly associated with Political Science interests) at the University of Southern California (Los Angeles),  he is now an Associate Provost for Undergraduate Programs at USC.    Robin does some jogging and yoga for the “health of it”......he now is the Provost.....at University of Southern California (USC), though he takes no credit for the outstanding athletic teams they field year in and year out. Can he be 50 years old?


Though most area residents know that the successful cardiopulmonary rehabilitation program at Sarah Bush Lincoln Health Center is named M.E.T.S., relatively few know that the initials stand for Monitored Exercise and Testing Services.  That name was meant to provide an “umbrella” that would include all types of diverse conditions...including obesity, diabetes, pulmonary and other disorders that could be modified by exercise.  It  also represents a not very well understood unit of metabolic expenditure.  But the name probably “stuck” because the Hospital Administrator at the time (1983) was named Martin E. Tullis ..he really liked the name! Below are show the four individuals who were mostly responsible for the establishment of the program in 1983.  This photo was taken on May 28, 2009 in the METS Department at SBLHC.   (Left to Right) - Dr. Stanley R. Huffman, Sharon Jackson, Tom Woodall and Mitch Whaley

It all started when Dr. Woodall (then an EIU Professor and Coach) was jogging with his wife Margy, in the 10K Road Race called “Abe’s Amble”.  The event was held in conjunction with the Illinois State Fair (Springfield)...always on a Saturday morning in mid to late August.  Within two miles of the finish, they came upon a 50 year old jogger, who had fallen and was experiencing a heart attack.  Though he performed CPR in the back seat of a commandeered car, the man died in the Emergency Room at St. John’s Hospital.  Stricken with grief for nearly a year, feeling his life saving skills were sub-par, Woodall decided to attend a weekend  ACLS (Advanced Cardiac Life Support Class) held at Lincoln Hospital in Lincoln, IL.  That experience redirected his efforts at EIU.

Six new graduate courses were developed in the Exercise Sciences at EIU, Woodall requested to be released from coaching so that he could spend more time in modifying the EIU Run for Your Life Program into an Adult Fitness Program that included more thorough screening of participants and an effort was begun to establish a cardiac rehabilitation program at SBLHC.

The establishment of the SBLHC program took nearly two years and Dr. Huffman, using his influence with the administration and fellow physicians, helped it become a reality.   He and Woodall traveled to visit other programs and SBLHC flew a well respected cardiac specialist to Mattoon to consult about the project.  As fate would have it, EIU had just hired Mitch Whaley, who had just completed his MS degree at Ball State University (Muncie).   His knowledge, expertise and passion for the venture allowed things to move forward.   When Woodall and Whaley realized they could not continue to teach at EIU and still direct the program, a newly graduated student, Sharon Jackson, was hired and she took over the directorship and has continued...for the past twenty-five (25) years to make METS one of the most successful programs of it’s kind in the country.  Many other former EIU students, including three current EIU faculty members (Dr. Jill Owen... Chairperson for  Department of Kinesiology and Sport Studies,  Stacey Ruholl and Mark Kattenbraker - both now direct the Adult Fitness Program) have worked in the program over the years.   Next to Sharon, Lori Richardson (98) is the longest tenured employee (more than 9 years) with EIU Exercise Science roots.  Kristina Bushue,  former EIU graduate is the most recent to join the ranks of the METS Staff.

What has happened to the Pioneers?  Dr. Huffman retired from his medical practice in 2001, but continues to serve on advisory and other hospital boards and committees  in addition to numerous community service efforts (United Way, Soup Stop, Master Gardeners, Church work etc.)  In spite of a knee replacement four years ago, he plays badminton, racquetball, tennis and is know for his love of tree cutting and wood splitting.   He is one of the “ram-rods” behind a brand new effort to provide health care services for those who have no health insurance.  He and several other community leaders have planned a Community Health Clinic that will only serve those who have little or no income, thus taking the pressure off of local emergency rooms/clinics.  Qualified professionals have volunteered time and a small paid staff is ready to begin as soon as the necessary $600,000 is accounted of.  What a great service this venue would be for all concerned.

Sharon Jackson recently passed the half-century mark and in addition to staying on top of a diverse and rapidly moving METS program, she finds time to watch her new grandchild and dog (in that order of importance) and is a much sought after “Seniors” tennis player in Central Illinois.  

Dr. Woodall retired in 2000, but keeps busy with church, barbershop singing activities, 11  grand children, biking, jogging, racquetball etc.  Many of his most enjoyable retirement hours are spent in staying in touch with more than 350 former EIU students/athletes and faculty members.  His monthly “EIU Stuff” email newsletters, seem to provide enjoyment for the recipients.

Dr. Whaley
(he received his Ph.D. several years after leaving EIU (1986) for Ball State University where he has worked in numerous teaching, research and most recently administration positions.  He has published numerous articles in referred journals, edited and written chapters in several currently used “exercise science” books and has made presentations around the world, in addition to his committee work with the ACSM (American College of Sports Medicine).  He is currently the Dean of Applied Science and Technology and has many Schools/Colleges/Departments under his administration.  The past two years have been physically and sometimes mentally challenging, in that he has experienced a “slow to recover” knee surgery and two “freak” accidents (a basketball goal fell on him, fracturing his back and when finally recovering from that event and trying to rehab by riding his racing bike, he was knocked off balance by a bird that flew into his face while riding at 25 mph.  The result was a significant concussion, numerous facial stitches, a separated shoulder, broken ribs and massive abrasions/splinters from the wooden fence he contacted at some 20+ mph).  Fortusteeplewebly, he has seen one of his daughters graduate from college with high honors and the other presented him with his first grandchild last January.   There is nothing wrong with his golf game.  Shortly after the above photo was taken, he gave Huffman and Woodall a good lesson on the links.

Most everyone knows how “BS” is typically used in written and oral communication.  For nearly 50 years,  I’ve used  those letters as a way of identifying “Barbershop Singing”, a hobby I very much enjoy.  Not long ago, I received an email from Richie Lavene (a long time friend from New Jersey and a barbershop judge you has run Boston on several occasions.  Despite a windy day, He ran 2:59 (a PR) three months ago and finished in the top 5% of the field.  He also sent photos while posing with two running icons...  Dick Beardsley and Frank Shorter and though they peaked some 30 years ago, they still look to be in good shape.  Here they pose with Richie following Boston 2009.

Ken Englert (79) was a member of a 5 or 6 man  group of 10K runners (late 1970’s) who would always score lots of EIU points in long track events....maybe that is why he has such a handsome family...or is it the DNA from wife Sue?  Either way, here is picture of all six of them.  Back row (l to r)  Anna (29) sells office furniture-helps lead youth group at  and leads a bible study for H.S.girls), Sarah (18-recent H.S. grad.-soon to be EIU student), 2nd row - Ruth (24), NIU grad-teaches Jr. High reading in Yorkville-wedding in September), Dave (21)-Construction Management major at Illinois St.-senior this fall), Dan (26) Graduate of Hillsdale College-Michigan-Finance/History double major-works in banking).  Front row, Mark (13) likes to play baseball, eat, and mess with his brothers


Ironically, when Sarah comes to EIU this fall, she is to have a roommate from Bridgeport/Red Hill...no doubt a runner from the Christy/Bandy coaching team.  Though past the half century mark, Ken is getting back into some running...here he states:   I've been doing some running since the beginning of February. My daughter Anna ran her first marathon in December and somehow I find myself entered in the Chicago Marathon in October.  It's been a fun and interesting journey to get into some kind of running shape again.  My longest run has been 10 miles.  I've tried to listen to my body and work through the owies as they come along.  It's been a slow process but I'm making progress.  I find myself craving long runs but I'm just not there yet to be able to run 8 + miles on a regular basis.  My legs are starting to come around quicker and recover a bit faster.  I'm very much enjoying a higher level of fitness and don't want anything to slow down the progress I've made these last months.