Remembering Roy Love: 'All-time best Viking'
Friends, former colleagues and family members packed Eastmoreland Golf Course to remember Roy Love, a longtime Portland State coach and athletic director.
Love died June 17 at his home in Tigard. He was 82.
His contributions and achievements came in a large variety of ways and places.
The Cleveland High graduate was instrumental in many causes at his alma mater, from a fitness center to field lights to a new track to the establishment of the Commerce/Cleveland Alumni Association, and with the Portland Interscholastic League. After helping resurrect the PIL Hall of Fame, he served as its president for eight years.
Love pitched for Portland State from 1956-59 and was the Vikings' head baseball coach from 1962-74.
He also served as PSU's AD from 1975-86 and, at the school's beckoning, again from 1988-93.
He was an assistant football coach and head golf coach on the Park Blocks for several years as well, and taught health and physical education for 13 years.
Baseball was his main sporting love, and he took eight of his 13 Portland State teams to the postseason. His 1962 team finished second in the NAIA (and he requested that a team photo be buried with him). His 1967 Viks captured the Pacific Coast College Division crown.
Love was co-director of the Metro Baseball Camp, which brought thousands of youngsters to Alpenrose Dairy for instruction over a span of 46 years.
He guided Portland State as it moved up to the NCAA Division II and 1-AA ranks and won four national championships in volleyball and two in wrestling, along with five football league titles.
Love's ability to land top-notch coaches for the Vikings was legendary, as well. During his tenure, Portland State hired Mouse Davis, Don Read and Pokey Allen in football; Jack Dunn in baseball; Jeff Mozzochi in volleyball; Teri Mariani in softball; Marlin Grahn in wrestling; and Greg Bruce in women's basketball.
Love also had noted sports information director Larry Sellers in his athletic department.
Love is a member of the Cleveland High Hall of Fame, PIL Hall of Fame, Portland State Hall of Fame and the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame.
Dunn, who previously coached at Cleveland and Wilson high schools, was Love's best friend for more than 60 years.
Dunn was not able to attend the celebration of life at Eastmoreland, but his sons took the stage to read his prepared remarks.
"Roy was like a brother to me ... and an uncle to my three boys," Jack Dunn said. "I came to know him as someone as I could depend upon, in all situations. He was a man with great organizational skills, great vision, very intelligent, and an individual who possessed unquestioned honor, loyalty and personal integrity."
Love's work ethic and coaching intensity, which included his ability to differ with baseball umpires, became the stuff of legend as well. As a teacher, coach and athletic director, even challenging issues were simply things to be dealt with.
"He was sensitive enough to be moved by the problems of the athletic scene and strong enough to confront them head on," Dunn said.
One of his PSU baseball players, Tom Trebelhorn, spoke at Eastmoreland. Trebelhorn managed the Chicago Cubs and Milwaukee Brewers.
"The opportunities to play five different positions and learn baseball skills and coaching techniques were invaluable," Trebelhorn said. "I still use many of the ideas and training programs in my player development position with the San Francisco Giants."
Trebelhorn joked that he also learned from Love's "diplomatic manner" of dealing with umpires. "I watched Roy closely and applied his techniques during my 17 seasons as a major league manager and coach. ... I was ejected from games 31 times, and I accumulated $5,000 in fines."
Former PSU defensive back Tom Oberg went on to play for the Denver Broncos in the late 1960s and said, "if it hadn't been for Roy Love, I never would have made it. He gave me the encouragement and positive attitude I needed when I went to Denver's training camp. Roy's pep talk changed my attitude and was instrumental in my success."
Former Portland State football coach Tim Walsh, now head coach at Cal Poly, said "Roy's love for young student-athletes, and athletics in general, was truly inspirational. Add to that his passion for Portland State athletics and you truly understand how he became so successful. As tough as he looked on the exterior, was exactly how compassionate he truly was to all he encountered. He will be missed, but Roy goes down as the all-time best Viking."
One of Love's grandchildren, Chad Kjemhus, recalled trips to Scottsdale. Arizona, in the spring and morning workouts during which Love had Kjemhus and his brother practice all aspects of the game.
"But what Grandpa Roy instilled in us from that very first day on the field is that if we were going to have success, we were going to have to play good catch," Kjemhus recalled. "Playing catch is where the game of baseball begins ... and where life begins. It's a simple concept that so aptly applies to our lives and the perspective that we should carry into each and every day.
"Playing good catch requires preparation, focus, intention and discipline — all qualities that Grandpa Roy held in such high regard and why he meant so much to all of us."
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.