Dr. Stover Harger Jr., Class of 1974, was a three-year letterwinner in track and field at Linfield, specializing in the pole vault. As women's sports began to develop in the mid-1970s, he took on the role as women's cross country coach for five seasons and women's track and field coach for four years.
What are you currently up to today?
I am an Attending Physician/Assistant Professor on the campus health clinic at the University of Western States (formerly Western States Chiropractic College), located in Portland, Ore.
After last coaching at Linfield in 1980, I then coached one year at the University of Washington, then went back to college to become a sports chiropractor. I graduated in 1986 and operated a clinic in Hillsboro until 2003. I began teaching at Cleveland Chiropractic College in Los Angeles from 2003 until 2006 and then began the Attending Physician/Associate Professor position here at UWS in 2006.
What lessons did you learn while competing in track and field at Linfield that have served you well in the real world?
I have learned that to excel in anything you do, whether it is personal, career, or athletics, you must work hard and be disciplined. Pole vaulting provided me with the hard work of training and also with the ability to deal with the fears of the event, that being of falling from high up in the air. I was able to trust the vault pole as my partner toward my goals.
What was the experience like to coach at Linfield?
I was the first coach to help usher in Title IX in the 1970s. Our women’s programs in track and cross country were ahead of their time in the competition with the big Oregon universities. However, Title IX allowed the larger institutions to grow quickly. Coaching at Linfield allowed me to broaden my experience in interacting with female athletes and to never doubt their abilities and determination.
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
I love to go outdoors and fish, golf, hike, and ride my Honda road bike like I did in the 70s.
If there was one piece of advice you'd give a current Linfield athlete, what would that be?
Be very proud of your institution and the opportunities that athletics at Linfield can give you. You don’t have to attend to a big university to excel. Your excellence is within yourself and related to the amount of effort you put into your sport.
What is your best memory at Linfield, both on and off the track?
My best memory was about the personal and professional association with my coaches and peers, primarily Ad and Joan Rutschman, “happy” Hal Smith, Jane McIlroy, Kris Olsen, Ted Wilson, and John and Suzy Knight. They all helped me to build my philosophy of respect, teamwork, honesty, and compassion.