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Words of Wisdom


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About the Author

Coach Ed Lukens was born in Skunk City (the western edge of Syracuse, NY) on December 9, 1921. Given the difficulties of the Recession and of his personal life, there was nothing unusual in his enlisting in the US Army during World War II, except that his family had always been Quakers. During his 3 years as a sharpshooter, Ed fought his way across Africa and north through Italy. When the War ended, he spent months in Rome, meeting the Pope and doing something he would do for the next 60 years - organizing and competing in track events. He ran barefoot on cinders in inter-military competitions until a British sprinter gave him his first pair of track shoes. When Ed returned to the States, he enrolled in Syracuse University and ran track. His early teaching jobs in physical education introduced him to coaching. His track teams were good, but his 1960 Central Tech High School basketball team was great: they became All-City champs with an unprecedented, unbeaten season. At the relatively new Westhill High School he helped engineer a track team that went unbeaten in dual meets for years and years. By the time he retired from coaching in 1978 he had moved to Skaneateles, explored much of Canada's northern climes while leading fishing expeditions, and dabbled in real estate in the Caribbean. Retiring gave him time to write the many, many stories that are featured herein, and to begin competing (at the age of 55) in Masters track events. Before retiring from international competition, Ed owned nearly a dozen records in several age classes and multiple events. In one competition in South Africa, his three individual wins gave him more points than many of the teams competing against him. Ed became a Syracuse University Letterman of Distinction in 1998, in 2002 he set three world records, and in 2003 he was inducted into the Greater Syracuse Sports Hall of Fame (http: // Today, though he is no longer running, Coach continues to cut and split the wood needed for winters in Skaneateles, NY, where he has lived for over 40 years. You can find him every Saturday morning at Vernak Farms Country Store in Borodino, having coffee with 'the boys, ' quietly solving the world's problems.

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