Rice University Owls track and field pole vaulter Dr. Dave Roberts
Black and white photograph of Rice University Owls track and field athlete Dave Roberts, headlining his achievement into the Rice Athletic Hall of Fame. Caption reads: Qualified observers of the world of sports have contended over the years the most demanding activity of all sports is the pole vault. The athlete who sets a world record in this severe test of speed, strength, agility and discipline can claim to be one of the finest athletes in the world. Rice University is proud that not one, but two holders of the world record in the pole vault were former Owls – Fred Hansen in the 1960’s and Dave Roberts in the 1970’s. Now Dr. Roberts joins the elite Owl athletes named to the Rice Athletic Hall of Fame. His qualifications are obvious. Dave set the world record of 18-8¼ in 1976 at the U.S. Olympic Trials in Oregon that stood as the world mark for four years. He is the only man in history to win the pole vault title outright in NCAA competition for all three varsity seasons. Dave’s last title was highly dramatic. In 1973 at Baton Rouge, where L.S.U. hosted the event, Roberts sustained an injury in Friday prelims. His last chance on a third try and it was all on the line for the title or to finish down in the field. He made it. Roberts won the National AAU title with his first 18-foot vault. He won the Trials as a graduate in 1976, but was “only” third in the Olympic Games at Montreal in 1976 when he had to vault in rain and wind after foes had earlier attempts under better conditions. The Roberts story began in the 1960’s when he set a state high school record for Conroe High School. He had a Conroe teammate in Gary Butler, who was the state discus champion as well as a great record as a schoolboy end in football. Both of these superior athletes pledged to Rice under the late track coach Emmett Brunson, and extended under his successor Augie Erfurth in track, as well as grid coach Bo Hagan. Roberts became a national champion in track, and Butler became a second team All-American tight end under Bo. Roberts is one of the finest student-athletes in Owl annuals. He majored in anthropology and psychology, and stayed a fifth year for medical school qualification while continuing his pole vault career. He continued to compete while a medical school student at the University of Florida. Dr. Dave Roberts is practicing in Savannah, Georgia.
Rice Athletic Hall of Fame
Citable link to this pagehttps://hdl.handle.net/1911/64113
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