Bob Woodward Recalls Bob "Speedy" Coleman and David Mitchell
Peter Langmaid's tribute to Bob "Speedy" Coleman brought back not only memories of the man but also of long tomato beer sessions at Brennan's at the end of each working day at Fourth and Addison. Speedy was a sweet guy, whose sharp wit came out after a few of those tomato beers.
He inspired a lot of us at SD to take uproad running. After several months of him shepherding me along, he took me to my first ever road race, a 9-mile event in Livermore in '75. He placed top ten; I was near the back of the pack. In 77, I joined Speedy and a van full of ex and current SD employees to run the Avenue of The Giants marathon. Speedy did us proud finishing 23rd in a very respectable time of 2:36.
Besides Speedy, Peter mentioned the arrival of David Mitchell as GM of SD in 73. I knew David through SF friends and got to know him when he ran Far West, a small outdoor apparel operation in Seattle that made garments under their own label and for others like REI. He hosted a group of us at his Hunt's Point home on our way to the famous Vancouver Island Lifesaving Trail trip and catalog photo shoot.
David was very honest and earnest, which had made him a top flight naval officer. I mentioned him to Bob and George when they started looking for a GM. Hey, he was organized, worked hard and had outdoor apparel-making experience.
Unfortunately, David was a bit too old school (read rigid) and that combined with his military background doomed him from the start at SD. I recall having people lobbying to have him fired after he'd been there no more than five days. He tried but the sentiment against him won the day and he departed after several months.
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