A gifted athlete, John Glancy ’70 ran the anchor leg for the 440-yard relay, including one race that still holds the school record.
Editor’s note: This story was first published at spufalcons.com, June 28, 2016.
When John Glancy was asked to take the helm of Seattle Pacific’s upcoming 125th anniversary celebration, it seemed only natural that he would say an enthusiastic “yes."
From the time he first donned Falcons track and basketball uniforms in the mid 1960s, he has personal experience with some 46 of those 125 years.
John Glancy | Photo by Luke Rutan
“It’s a good culmination of all the different things I’ve done,” said Glancy, whose name is still on the third-oldest men’s track school record (the 440-yard relay), and also adorns a year-end athletic department award that is given to one student athlete in recognition of leadership and service outside of sports.
What started as tagging along to basketball games and track meets with his father turned into a lifelong love affair with the school on the shores of the Ship Canal.
Now, Glancy can’t imagine being anywhere else as he heads into what will be his final year on campus — and a very busy final year, at that — concluding after next spring’s Commencement.
“I’ve had a lot of opportunities to do a lot of different things while I’ve been here," said the 68-year-old Glancy. “One of the reasons I’ve stayed here is I enjoy the variety, and this (the leadership job for the 125th) offered me a lot of that, from the athletic side to the position where I worked with a lot of different offices on campus.”
From the day John Glancy was born, the last of Roy and Ruth Glancy’s three children, it seemed that he was just destined to come to what then was Seattle Pacific College. The family lived right near Queen Anne Bowl, so John usually got to see what was happening. On meet days, Roy was always there, usually in charge of the timing crew.
“I would watch (coaches) Bernie Buck and Ken Foreman and all the athletes as they trained at the track," he said. “I would watch Coach Foreman line the track.
“In a sense, I was immersed in Seattle Pacific from the get-go.”
A basketball player and track athlete at Queen Anne High School, Glancy attended a hoops camp at Camp Casey on Whidbey Island one summer. Legendary Falcons coach Les Habegger was in charge, and as Glancy tells it, “I can remember the time at that camp when he pulled me over and said, ’We’d like you to come here.’”
Even at the start of his senior year at QAHS when he was in the hospital after having his appendix removed, Glancy heard the recruiting pitch. Foreman and Habegger made sure to pay him a visit.
“I was hurting with my stitches, and they were making me laugh," he recalled. “But they were always nice in recruiting me.”
With his dual-sport talents, not to mention his back-to-back state high school titles in the 440-yard dash (the precursor to the present-day 400), it was understandable why both coaches wanted him aboard. And clearly, he had strong ties to the place.
“I saw John grow up. As a high school senior, he was one of the top sprinter / quarter milers in the state," Foreman said. “Every college and university that had a good track and field team went after John. And I appealed to Roy, who nudged John toward SPC.”
Even so, Glancy also took a visit to the University of Washington, which was interested in him for running, but not basketball.
So in the spring of 1966, he decided Seattle Pacific was the place for him — to run, play hoops, and double-major in business and in English.
“In a sense,” he said, “it was a foregone conclusion.”
Like most track and field athletes, Glancy didn’t do just one event exclusively. As a sophomore, he had the team’s fastest times in the 100, 220, 440, and as a member of four different relays (440, mile, sprint medley, and distance medley).
But of course, everyone — sprinter or distance, jumper or thrower — has a favorite.
“The 440 — that was my race,” Glancy said.
Added Foreman, “John Glancy was the best in Western Washington ... a beautiful runner.”
At that time, national rules did not allow freshmen to play varsity basketball. But there were no such rules for track, and as a first-year Falcon in 1967, Glancy set a new school 440 record, clocking 49.5 seconds in a dual meet against Western Washington at Bellingham’s Civic Stadium. That was one-tenth faster than the old mark. He also anchored a record-setting mile relay (3:21.0) and record-tying 440 relay (43.3).
From then on, he was a two-sporter, with his sharp-shooting accuracy on the court and his speed on the oval.
As a sophomore, he hit 56.8 percent of his field goals (and finished his career at 51.7 percent), 83.3 percent of his free throws (never below 82 in a single season), and averaged 6.1 points for the 16-and-9 Falcons. He was even better on the track, breaking his own 440 school record with a 48.8 at the University of Puget Sound. In the mile relay, he anchored a group that went a school-record 3:20.6 in Vancouver, B.C., matching that time two weeks later at UPS.
Then at the NCAA College Nationals in Hayward, Calif., Glancy was the anchor man on a 440 relay that ran 41.9, with Glen Miller, Roger Hansen, and Jim Hilliard carrying the baton ahead of him. In the 48 springs since then, no Falcons foursome has gone faster. (That time now shows up as 41.6 in the school record book, having been adjusted to accommodate the slightly shorter 400-meter distance.)
“I was as fast as we had," Glancy said, “but we had really good handoffs."
Glancy's 400 time (adjusted to 48.5 for 400 meters) still ranks No. 2 on the all-time Seattle Pacific list, trailing only the 48.27 by Chris Randolph in 2006. The matching 3:20.6s for the long relay are tied for fourth-fastest. The current record is 3:18.05 in 2005.
“It was a great experience — just a fantastic experience," Glancy said. “What made it so was at the time, we had a full-fledged men’s track team, and basically, it was the camaraderie of the guys on the team. I can remember the bus trips to the Vancouver Relays. (Things like that) is what made it really special.”
Competing under Foreman’s guidance was part of it, too.
“We respected Ken and his ability, and took confidence from him," Glancy said. “But it wasn’t a buddy-buddy thing. He was the coach — and we did what he said.”
Track and basketball, of course, came to an end, as Glancy finished his business and English undergrad degrees in June of 1970.
But he wasn’t going far. Just one month after graduating, he began his job as an admissions counselor, traveling to high schools, churches, and community colleges in Washington, Oregon, California, and Montana to recruit undergrad students for Seattle Pacific.
Glancy ventured away from the school three times: once to participate in a management training program at a Seattle-area bank, once to partner in a two-person graphic design and communications firm, and once to serve as vice president of marketing at a high-tech manufacturing company.
Each time, he returned, taking on roles of increasing responsibility: from overseeing production of Seattle Pacific publications, to director of university communications, to director of graduate admissions and marketing.
“Every time I tried to go away,” Glancy said, “something happened, and I was drawn back, for whatever reason.
“Basically, I’ve felt called to Seattle Pacific," Glancy said. “Not necessarily to the profession, but more to the place.
The 125th anniversary celebration essentially began with this year’s Commencement and will conclude with 2017 Commencement. Glancy, who will retire after that, was delighted to get the call from SPU president Daniel Martin to direct it all.
“I was in a position where I was going to transition out of graduate admissions. This has a definite beginning and a definite end.”
In Martin’s mind, the choice of Glancy was a very easy one.
“He has been a terrific leader and manager at the University across many offices,” Martin said, “and it just made sense to leverage his professional skills with his deep connection and love for this place. I can ask him a question about most events or people in our history, and if he doesn’t have the answer already in his head (which he usually does), he knows who to ask or where to look to find out.
“John is a Falcon through and through.”