Troy track coaching legend Hartman dies at 82

Herb Hartman Invitational named after him in 2014

Longtime Troy High School track and field coach Herb Hartman, whose name has adorned an annual meet at Troy Memorial Stadium since 2014, died Sept. 7 at 82 at Hospice of Miami County.

“He set an example in getting things done on a daily basis with his cool, calm demeanor,” said Kurt Snyder, the head girls track coach at Troy. “It was amazing to see how he worked and talked with the kids.”

Hartman was born in Troy in 1941. He graduated from Troy High School in 1958 and from Capital University in 1963. He then received a master’s degree from Wright State.

Hartman was inducted into the Ohio Association of Track and Cross Country Coaches Hall of Fame in 1993. He coached track for 55 years, starting with the boys team in 1968 and then moving to the girls team in 1989. He was also an art teacher at the high school.

“He was just a quiet unassuming guy who knew exactly what he needed to do to get the best out of kids, whether it was in the classroom or on the track,” said David Fong, the communications director at Troy. “He was a guy who cared about his kids. I don’t know that there are many teachers who reached as broad or diverse of a base as Mr. Hartman. He was a guy who loved his painters as much as his pole vaulters.”

Along with his coaching duties, Hartman served as president of the OATCCC and as the state cross country meet manager.

Hartman coached at Troy through the 2022 season, specializing in pole vault in his later years. The Herb Hartman Invitational started in 2014.

Hartman’s last meet was the state championship meet in 2022, where he saw senior Sophie Fong, who’s now a sophomore at Ohio State, finish fourth in the pole vault.

Hartman and former Miami East coach Roger Bowen started a pole vaulting training academy together in the early 2000s, initially focusing on coaching Miami Valley pole vaulters but expanding their coaching to the top vaulters from around the region, according to a 2014 Troy Daily News story.

“The only way you get better is through repetition” Hartman said then. “That’s what we provide — the opportunity for kids who want to put in the work to get better.”

Bowen said Hartman was dedicated to the kids and the sport.

“He was a great coach but a better person,” Bowen said.

According to his obituary, Hartman “is survived by his wife of 61 years: Ruth G. (Jackson) Hartman; sons and daughters-in-law: Scott and Wendie Hartman of Hilliard; Mark and Dena Hartman of Tipp City; Kirk and Amira Hartman of Columbus; and Eric and Jillian Hartman of Troy; and eleven grandchildren.”

A visitation for Hartman will be held from 2-5 p.m. Oct. 1 at Baird Funeral Home in Troy. A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Oct. 2 at First United Methodist Church in Troy. He will be laid to rest in a private ceremony at Riverside Cemetery in Troy.

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