Hundreds mourn Hall of Famer Nick Newton at ‘last track meet’

Coco listens to taps played for his grandfather.

Covelli “Coco” Crisp took three tries at high-jumping 5-6 1/2 Saturday. Wearing flats and shorts, the 38-year-old couldn’t duplicate the former M55 world record of his grandfather — USATF Masters Hall of Famer Nick Newton. But Coco excelled as emcee of Nick’s memorial service Saturday at Shadow Hills High School in Indio (a half-hour from Palm Springs). The former major leaguer recently was hired to coach that school’s baseball team, so he had a good place to hold a service attended by hundreds of family members, friends and former masters track buddies. Sheila Newton, Nick’s wife of 60 years, dubbed the event “Nick’s last track meet.” So after a military honor guard played taps and presented a folded flag to her, and tributes were delivered by family members and masters tracksters Annelies Steekelenburg and Glenn Johnson, the audience walked or jogged around the track, stopping to view posters of Nick’s record-setting track career. About a dozen masters friends attended, including Bill Knocke, Mel Brooks, Sam Flory, Jeff Davison and Jorge Birnbaum. I videotaped most of the service (in triple-digit heat) and will post when I can. In the meantime, here are some photos I shot.

Two eras of Nick Newton’s breakthrough starting blocks were on display. (Mine, bought at discount from Nick at the Mt. SAC Relays, are on the right.)

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April 8, 2018

3 Responses

  1. Jeff Davison - April 8, 2018

    Big take away was community of family, community of track & field friends, and faith … being the glue that binds a life well lived by Nick.

  2. Jeff Davison - April 12, 2018

  3. Nancy Cochrane - May 5, 2018

    Please send me the video of Nick’s memorial service. I’m sorry that I was unable to attend this, as Nick was my coach for over 9 years when I lived in the Palm Springs area.
    Sincerely with thanks!
    Nancy Cochrane

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