0418121855 Bob Penny · Author · edited over 2 years ago · 1 like

Hi Everyone,

Just a quick update at the beginning of February.  Interviews were conducted during the month of January with 1976 Olympian Paul Geis, Andre Armstead (’79), John Chambers (’83), Anthony Brown (’77), Rhonda Redditt (’78), and David McDowal (co-captain Gymnastics ’69).  I’d like to increase the pace of interviews going forward.  If you haven’t spoken to me and have a connection with the program please slot in a time to talk at  http://purpledynastybookproject.fullslate.com/   Also, pass this link on to others you may be connected with.  I’ll be continuing to also email people directly for interviews.



0418121855 Bob Penny · Author · added almost 3 years ago

Hello Everyone,

This is an update about progress on Purple Dynasty.  This year has not been a very productive year for me for working on the book.  But I can safely say that a number of personal and physical problems have finally been resolved and I am looking at the coming year as the year when this project finally gets into the home stretch.  The original idea was to have the book published by now, which was perhaps unrealistic.  I would say that the spring of 2018 would be a more honest estimate for publication. Going forward I will be making much more regular posts than in the past here, and elsewhere, to track the books’ progress.

I’d like to remind everyone about how the funding for the project is arranged  Through your donations everything has been set for the book to be published, with an initial run of 1000.  But those funds have all gone to the publisher as an advance for the publication costs.  This funding concept, which is the inverse of usual traditional publishing, means no funds will come to me until the book is written and sales begin.  An advantage, perhaps, to this methodology is that the publisher is not pressuring me to get the book written. 

However, a disadvantage of this funding model is, similarly, that the publisher is not pressuring me to get the book written.  I still have to make my way in life as a home remodeling contractor while trying to get this done.  This certainly pulls me away from it at times, although the improved economy has made this part of my life much, much better recently.  For instance, this month I have been able to take significant time completely away from that work and get the file boxes moved into an open room and get the work better organized.  And I’ve begun the labor intensive task of listening back through many interviews concerning a large section of the narrative, compiling notes.  So not to worry - I’m committed, it will get done, and I want the book to be worthy of the program it honors.

The crux of the process is accomplishing many interviews.  So far I have completed 65 interviews involving 53 people (some were group interviews, and some people have been interviewed multiple times).  Generally these interviews are between one and three hours, and involve a similar amount of time to prepare for.  Most recently I have interviewed Mac Wilkins (early 70’s SE weight coach; I need to follow up with him), Bethany Lukus (SE 800m record holder), Kanon Vanderhoff (famed SE multi- event performer), and Barbara Osborn (Harry’s sister - yeah I’m checking on some of those stories Harry!).  It continues to be a great privilege to talk with so many people who have been inspired in their lives by SE track.

The primary goal for the coming year will be continuing with completing additional interviews.  To get scheduled for an interview simply go to http://purpledynastybookproject.fullslate.com/ .   This web-based scheduling program makes the task of lining up interviews easier for me.  I have Sunday, Monday, and Thursday evenings blocked out on the schedule.  Other times can be arranged simply by emailing me at bobpenny1253atgmail.com .  I will also be reaching out individually by email or Facebook to people I know I’d like to interview.  I hope to interview as many people as I can that were involved with the program over the years, so please sign up.

I hope everyone is in the midst of a peaceful holiday season. 

Yours, Bob

0418121855 Bob Penny · Author · added over 3 years ago

Hey Everyone,

Oooops!  Got that interview link wrong.  This is the correct link to set up interviews for the book.  I’ll also be contacting folks I know I want to connect with individually by email.


Hello Purple Dynasty Supporters,

This is just a note to let you know how things are progressing with the book.  The winter was a little rough for me with a combination of health and family problems that caused me to put the project on the shelf for a while.  I am happy to report that things are officially back on track.  The schedule for finishing the book is really undetermined, but it seems most reasonable to say that it will be a couple of years.  It is a big project and there is great incentive, on my part and on the part of all of you I am sure, to have a really quality account written of the Axemen program.

The greatest limiting factor in the pacing of the work is the task of completing many interviews.  I have engaged an online scheduling program to assist me in setting up interviews for the book.  This was working really well in the fall, allowing me to knock off interviews at a pretty good pace.  I also occasionally do interviews in person when I get the chance, sometimes in Portland or Eugene when I get down there.  For instance, everyone will be pleased to hear that I spent a very pleasant five hours one afternoon last fall will Bill Sr. and Marcia McChesney reminiscing about the many exploits of their illustrious family.  Doing these interviews is one of the great pleasures I have been receiving while doing this project.

So, please help me get more interviews done!  If you have a connection - of any kind, really - to the program then I probably want to talk with you.  You can simply go to https://app.fullslate.com/schedule and select an appointment time.  Interviews by phone are available most every Sunday, Monday, and Thursday evening between 7 and 10pm.  I only do one interview each evening, somewhere in that time frame, generally for an hour or two in length.  I can also do other times on request.  You can email me with any questions at bobpenny1253@gmail.com (that’s a new email address, so please take note).  Thanks for all your support in making this book a reality.



Hello Everyone, 

Thanks again for supporting the creation of this book.  I want to update all of you on my progress up to this point and my plans for getting the book finished.  Over the last few months since the funding effort was completed I've been rather laid up with a back injury and nerve pain related issues that have severely hampered my ability to move forward with the project.  For about three months I was unable to sit in a chair for more than 5 or 10 minutes at a time.  This also set me quite behind in my carpentry business.  Things are much improved now.  I am back to carpentry work and I am just now getting the book project moving again in the direction I hoped to take it back in February. 

All of this has forced me to reevaluate the schedule and completion estimate for the project.  At this point I hope to have the manuscript draft completed and edited in about one year, by the time of the Olympic Trials in Eugene (July 1st, 2016).  The actual book will be printed a few months after that, after design and marketing efforts have been completed.  I had originally hoped to have the book printed by the Trials, but that schedule is unrealistic at this point.  This is a large project involving many voices and stories and it does not make sense to rush it.  Harry has given me some good coaching recently on this point.  "Pace yourself, Bob!," he admonished me.  "Just advice from your old coach".  Harry's words always carry weight for me, just as they did many years ago on the track.

The important work I've been able to do on the project this spring has been to attend the final high school races for the set of South Eugene athletes I have been following for the past four years.  Making those trips to Eugene provided me with the culmination of the storylines that will form the finale of the book.  Now the decks are cleared to get the story of the main years of the dynasty filled in.  And for this I need everyone's help. 

Up to this point I've been able to accomplish about 100 hours of interviews, but many more hours need to be completed.  The work of scheduling all of these interviews has become the largest hurdle of the project.  To accomplish this I am now using an online scheduling platform called Full Slate, a website program typically used by doctors, chiropractors, and massage therapists - people who have diverse schedules and many appointments.  The program allows anyone to sign up for an available interview time slot without extra time consuming back and forth email traffic with me.  You can also send me an email right from the Full Slate page to request a custom time or date for your interview , or to add information.

If you were part of the program at any level - an athlete, a coach, a parent, a rival, a fan, etc. - then I'd like to talk with you.  Many people do not believe that their stories amount to much.  But the truth is that the small details, the vivid memories, the little asides and tangential storylines are what will ultimately bring life to the narrative.  The statistics of the history are easily recounted, but the personal details are the treasures of the story.  Even if you've related some stories to me verbally in an informal setting at some point over the last few years it is quite likely that I have been unable to remember everything you said.  Recording the information is the best way for me to remember the stories, and to get them in your own words.  So, please do not hesitate to sign up for an interview slot.  The more interviews I can accomplish, and the sooner I can accomplish them, will help me move the writing forward faster.

The Full Slate interview appointment link is http://purpledynastybookproject.fullslate.com

When you click the link you will be sent to a cover page for the project.  Click the interview link and you will be taken to a calendar.  From there just select a pre-set timeslot that works for you.  The pre-set interview appointments are Sundays, Mondays and Thursdays at 7pm Pacific time, but Full Slate will show these to you in your time zone.  If one of those days works but you would like to start earlier or later simply choose the 7pm appointment for that day anyway and then email me to modify the time.  If you want to request a custom day and time also just email me.  You will be required to fill in your name, email address, and phone number to get the interview set up.  A confirmation email will be sent to you, and a day before your interview you will receive a reminder email.

I really look forward to talking to everyone.  And thank you to all the people who have already spent time talking to me about your memories of the Axemen track and field program.

Take care,


Hi Everyone,

A number of people mentioned to me that they did not want to get as many books as their contribution to the book project set them up to receive.  If you'd like to change what you are getting just email me back at bobp@nas.com.  I can compile all the changes and relay the adjustments to the publisher.



 Hi Everyone,

The funding goal for the book has been met, and on the final day!  Now to the work of more interviews, more writing, and a lot of editing and design work.  I really want to thank all of you for stepping up to help make this a reality.  The final fourteen days have been rather amazing.  At the end of a four month fund raising effort nearly half the goal amount ended up arriving in the final two weeks.  Now that's what I'd call kicking it in!

This is about Track and Field, so somebody has to get an award.  So the winner (last person to take it over the top) is Rod Richards, team manager for the 1975 girls team that won the State Championship.  Rod has been a big supporter of this all along and was one of the first people to contact me when the original email about this went out.  Thanks Rod!

But no one could have gotten it to the goal if not for each contribution.  This was really a team effort.  Many people came back to give more than once.  Many other people gave rather large amounts.  And many donors, who I knew certainly didn't have much to give, gave what they could because they obviously really wanted to see this happen. In the end it all came together, right at the finish line.

Thanks again everyone,


Dsc09457 Lisa Rainer · Reader · added almost 5 years ago
Having been coached by Steve McChesney in the 80's and remaining in contact with him, and many of my teammates, for the last 30 years is yet another testament to the 'family' that running created at South Eugene.  I can't wait to read Purple Dynasty.  Thanks for taking the time to do this!  

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