That’s probably the best piece i have read on Charlie. They capture his humour with that quote about the lawyer and also the facts. The one thing they forget to mention is he did it all because he thought it was the best thing for his athletes - whether we deem it right or wrong. A fitting tribute.
At first I thought this was a sick joke. I really am surprised, because
members where asking him all kinds of questions and he always took the time to answer them. I never knew or met him personally but my current coach (and his old coach) always said that Charlie Francis is/was a brilliant man and that sprinter(coaches) could learn a lot from him.
My condolences go out to his family and friends.
bless you Charlie Francis
My coaching will always be based on the teachings of Charlie Francis.
am totally shocked.my regards to angie and her son.
Nice picture of Charlie in this obituary in the New York Times.
I found this passage, explaining Charlie’s profound sense of justice, compelling:
Richard Pound, a former vice president of the I.O.C., said Francis became increasingly frustrated in the late 1970s and ’80s with what he felt was a lack of response from international track officials — then known as the International Amateur Athletic Federation — in punishing athletes who used performance-enhancing drugs.
“He and a number of the Canadian folks tried to talk the I.A.A.F. into life bans, and the I.A.A.F. refused to budge,” Pound said. “So he went over to the dark side. He said, ‘I’m not going to have my runners start a meter behind.’ ”
RIP Charlie, We’ll miss you
CF was very unlucky to die of an infection just before receiving stem cell therapy. Invariably those on chemotherapy are susceptible to infection because all the white blood cells need to eliminated.
Charlie looked at things in a very holistic manner and I am deeply saddened by his death.
It’s kind of eerie because CF made some posts just a few days ago.
And thank you for everything.
Thank you, Charlie, it has been great knowing you, if only over the web. You have been a part of nearly every day of my life since I discovered CF.com, and you will be greatly missed.
I have much respect for a man who was a true leader in his field and according to his former athletes, spent so much time helping them to chase their dreams.
My deepest condolences to the Francis family. I can only thank you for the knowledge so willingly and patiently imparted by Charlie; not just his insight into sprinting but life in general.
I would have loved to have met him. That won’t happen now but I agree with the others who say that his philosophy carries on with our coaching and performances on the track or wherever you express your sporting talent.
The greatest sprint coach? I believe so - and a helluva good guy as well. Never knew him personally but I will miss him like crazy.
R.I.P. Charlie and thank you so much… I owe you a lot
My deepest condolences to the Francis family, Angie and James. If I can be of any help please let me know!
What a great loss to our field! Condolences to his family. When I was being mentored by number2 - I had a number of chances to hear Charlie speak when Derek brought him in for conferences and clinics. His knowledge on the human body’s adaptation to training stimuli was truly phenomenal - whether it pertained to track or any other sport. His influence will be felt in the strength & conditioning world for decades to come. He has even had a large influence on the leading scorer in the current NHL playoffs:
Cammalleri remains a Francis fan - Chris Stevenson (Toronto Sun)
PITTSBURGH - He still has the hand-written notes, the regimen that is almost commonplace now, but was unheard of then.
Mike Cammalleri didn’t know Charlie Francis had passed away until he was asked about the controversial track coach’s impact on his life after Wednesday’s Game 7 victory by the Montreal Canadiens over the Pittsburgh Penguins.
“Really? No…he did?” asked Cammalleri, who scored what turned out to be the game winner in the Canadiens 5-2 slaying of the defending Stanley Cup champions, Cammalleri a big part of the biggest story of these playoffs.
“My thoughts go out to him and his family. It was a pleasure to have met such a genius in my lifetime. He was one of the ultimate geniuses when it came to training and the human body.”
Francis passed away at the age of 61 after a five-year battle with cancer, the controversy surrounding him not dissuading Leo Cammalleri from wanting Francis to take his then 10-year-old son under his wing.
Most of the media crush had left the Canadiens tiny dressing room at the Igloo after the game and the bus and the plane back to Montreal were waiting, but Cammalleri settled back onto the bench.
“You want to hear the story?” he asked.
When Cammalleri was that 10-year-old and playing for the Toronto Red Wings, he and his dad would go to the Golden Griddle at Finch and Dufferin in Toronto and, one morning shortly after the Seoul Olympics and the fallout of the Ben Johnson scandal, Leo Cammalleri recognized Francis and approached him.
He asked Francis to consider training his son, but Francis, eyeing the little 10-year-old, said he was too young.
“Read my book,” he said to Leo Cammalleri, referring to “Speed Trap,” “and bring him back when he’s 14 or 15.”
Leo Cammalleri didn’t forget it. When Mike got to that age, he met Francis at his house and they went to a neighbourhood park.
“Back then, everybody was running 10 miles to train for hockey. Nobody was sprinting, working on their explosiveness or their speed,” said Cammalleri. “He was kind of tentative to give out his knowledge after what had happened, but he taught me the fundamentals I still use today, to try a different way for a hockey player. I sprinted with all his guys during the summers, even Ben a little bit. Now it’s the norm among the cream of the crop.”
When Cammalleri signed with the Habs, Francis became a fan of the Canadiens and watched Cammalleri help power the Canadiens’ run against the Penguins.
He watched that little 10-year-old he had first seen in that pancake spot become the hottest stick in these playoffs and could know that he had a hand in helping Cammalleri become a crucial part of what has become the biggest story in these playoffs.
Thanks in large part to Cammalleri’s playoffs-leading 12 goals, the Canadiens have upset the Presidents Trophy-winning Washington Capitals and the defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins and Sidney Crosby.
It is starting to smell like 1993 now, the last time the Canadiens won the Stanley Cup, when the favourites fell early and a path to the final opened up for the Habs.
This time, however, it is the Canadiens who are paving their own way.
Cammalleri finished his story and stood up from the bench, friends waiting to say hello and celebrate another stunning win by the Canadiens.
He paused on his way to the door.
“You mention Charlie Francis to the best trainers in the world and they have a lot of respect for him,” said Cammalleri, who said he last spoke to Francis two summers ago.
“I still have my book of workouts. Still use them. He told me what to do and I wrote it down.”
Now Cammalleri is helping the Habs write a wonderful story, the end still wonderfully unknown.
Charlie Francis went knowing he had a hand in a part of the beginning.
Cammalleri remains a Francis fan
My thoughts are with his family at this sad time x
Very, very sad. best wishes to the Francis family. R.I.P Charlie.
excellent story svass
Very sad. Sending my thoughts and prayers. His classic quotes,one liners have brought a smile during these times. Thank you. God bless Charlie & family.
Wow… I’m in shock. It’s tough to believe that Charlie is gone. I’ve never seen someone with so much dedication and love for a sport. He cares so much about his athletes and truly wants them to succeed. This is a very rare personality trait and people like this are very hard to come by.
I’m impressed by his dedication and willingness to improve himself and individuals around him. His willingness to quit his job and coach athletes really shows that he was never ever in it for the money. He had goals and stuck to them. You must respect a man who does this. All I can think of is how much joy he must have felt the day Ben Johnson crossed the finish line in 1988 and won the gold medal for Canada. All his hard work built up to that moment and nobody can take that moment away from him.
I gained a thorough understanding of training from this man… however, one of the most important points from his videos is the positive reinforcement he brings. His communication and dealings with people is just as valuable as the training ideas he had.
Rest in peace my friend… your philosophies have changed the face of all athletics as we know it. I’m thankful to have lived and learned with such a remarkable individual.