The gazelle-like legs of Forrest Beaty never failed him when he
burned up local tracks.
Beaty rarely lost a sprint event while starring for the Hoover
High boys' track and field squad from 1959-62. The attention Beaty
received at Hoover was second to none.
As a junior, he clocked 20.2 seconds in the 220-yard dash. That
mark was 0.2 seconds off the then world record.
The marks continued to improve for Beaty, who was No. 17 on the
list of top 50 local sports figures of the 20th century by the
News-Press in 1999. In his senior year, he ran a 9.4 in the 100-yard
dash, which was also 0.2 off the world record at the time.
"I'd call it an evolutionary quirk, or a gift of nature," said the
58-year-old Beaty, who is now a doctor, practicing in medical
treatment for those with chronic illnesses. "I had uncles who were
established runners at Hoover and Glendale.
"My uncle, Fulton Beaty, ran with some great athletes at Glendale
High in the early 30s. My uncle, Wayne Beaty, did well in the late
40s at Hoover. I followed their paths, and tried to be an established
It became a path to success about a decade later for Beaty, who
now resides in Forestville, a small Sonoma County town north of San
Beaty was the CIF Southern Section and state champion in the 100
in 1961 and 1962.
He won the CIF Southern Section title in the 220 from 1960-62, in
addition to winning a state title in 1961.
"I lost just two races throughout my junior and senior years,"
said Beaty, who also played three seasons on Hoover's football team
as a running back, safety and punter. "There were a lot of great
runners in the Foothill League at that time.
"You had to love to compete. In those days, track and field drew a
lot of interest. There weren't many things competing for an athlete's
attention in those days."
Beaty, who was tabbed the CIF Athlete of the Year in 1961 and
1962, captured the attention of the community by running effortlessly
past the competition. He flourished under the direction of Hoover
Coach Sam Nicholson, who had a penchant for nurturing talent that
would receive national recognition.
The 74-year-old Nicholson, a La Crescenta resident who coached at
Hoover from 1956-64, developed a cast of star athletes that included
distance runner Bob Blanchard, sprinters Stan Rhodes and Jim
Pagliuso, shot putter Bruce Parrot, pole vaulters John Rose and Ken
House, and hurdler Ron Gould.
"We had some great teams," said Nicholson, who was a principal at
Crescenta Valley High from 1980-88. "That's because they had that
great competitive desire, and that's what Forrest brought to us.
"Every now and then as a coach, you get a great athlete that's got
so much talent and they aren't easy to work with.
"Forrest wasn't like that, and we taught him how to run at a
"He lost to Ralph Turner [of Burroughs] in the Foothill League
final in the 100 and 220 in 1961, and then came back to beat him in
the state meet."
Pagliuso, a 1963 Hoover graduate, said Beaty's popularity
stretched into the neighboring valley.
Pagliuso, who is a Glendale-based lawyer, recalled an incident
prior to a meet at Pasadena High.
"When our bus pulled up [to Pasadena High School] for a meet, the
Pasadena students were crowded around the bus, as we exited,
[asking], "Which one's Beaty?,"' said Pagliuso, a Glendale resident.
"He was that famous, and he was a muscular, mature-looking
"I could never come close to beating him, even in practice. I
would tell myself that I was going to beat him in practice, and would
eat the dirt from his track shoes each afternoon."
Beaty was in mint condition, and his background would support the
He began his run in 1959 as a sophomore. Beaty won the league
championship in the 100 and 220 in 9.8 and 21.1, respectively.
Beaty began to show dramatic improvement under Nicholson in 1960.
He clocked 9.6 in the 100 and 20.2 in the 220. His mark in the 220
established a new national high school record. The world record was
As a senior, he ran 9.4 three times in the 100 when the world
record was 9.2.
He won the grand slam of track and field meets, winning the 100 at
the Pasadena Games, Glendale Relays, Bellflower Relays and the
Huntington Beach Invitational.
In all, Beaty clocked 9.4 three times, 9.5 five times and 9.6
eight times in the 100. In the 220, he ran 20.2, 20.4 and 20.6, and
completed eight races under 21 seconds.
"I had good manners with respect to conditioning and preparation,"
Beaty said. "When you are 16 and 17 years old, you don't have a
highly refined sense of reference. I was blessed to have one in Coach
Nicholson, who was an outstanding coach and person to be acquainted
Beaty was heavily recruited by universities. Letters filled his
mailbox, suggesting he attend their institution.
"Sam was my coach and counselor," Beaty said. "He suggested to me
that I pick a school where I'd get a top-notch education."
Accepting Nicholson's advice, Beaty narrowed his choices to the
University of California and Stanford. He chose California.
He became a stabilizing force for Cal's track and field squad,
helping them win NCAA championships in 1964 and 1965 in the
1,600-meter relay. Beaty, who normally ran the third leg, teamed with
Dave Archibald, Dave Fishbach and Al Courchesne.
"We were undefeated for most of my three years, and there wasn't
any sense of arrogance," said Beaty, who earned a degree in speech
communication. "One way or another, we'd try to find a way to win. It
was nice to know that someone would have to run a heck of a race to
Beaty, who ranks in a third-place tie on the university's top 10
list in the 400 at 46.14, played on Cal's football team in 1966. He
was the recipient of the All-University Athlete of the Year award in
1966. The prestigious award is given for outstanding athletic
achievement, academic performance and leadership. Tennis great Arthur
Ashe won the award in 1965. Rafer Johnson, the 1960 Olympic gold
medalist in the decathlon, also won the award.
"I will never forget receiving the award at halftime of a Cal-UCLA
game," Beaty said. "University President Clark Kerr, a man for whom,
to this day, I have the highest respect for, [presented it to me].
The simple plaque which accompanied the presentation is one of the
few artifacts I treasure from those bygone days."
Beaty was named to Cal's Hall of Fame in 2001.
He said he doesn't visit Glendale much now, but he hasn't
forgotten his Hoover achievements.
"I had a wonderful time growing up in Glendale, and I'm privileged
that it turned out as well as it did," Beaty said. "Hoover did a
great job of preparing me for higher education.
"I tell young athletes today that it's great fun competing in
sports and to enjoy the moment. At its best, sports teaches
discipline and resilience."