Memories of ‘The Chief’ in early Rehoboth running days

February 24, 2023

Former college and high school basketball coach Bruce Springer attended the Delaware Sportswriters & Broadcasters Association banquet Feb. 20 to show his support for running and racing at the beach. Springer owned Timeout Sports, with three stores operating daily in the ’80s and into the early ’90s in Stevensville, Rehoboth Beach and at the Rehoboth Mall.

In 2015, Springer was inducted into the Anne Arundel Community College Hall of Fame for his leadership during 45 years as instructor, coach and coordinator of athletics. Springer began his career as a physical education instructor in 1967, coming from the University of Maryland, where he was a wideout on the football team and a member of the track & field team. Springer coached several sports at AACC, including men’s basketball, cross country, track & field, indoor track, women’s tennis and football. He also coached girls’ basketball, track & field and softball at Broadneck High School, and won multiple Coach of the Year awards at both AACC and Broadneck. He served as athletic director at AACC from 2006 until his retirement in 2013.

While at Maryland, Springer was one of nine seniors left on the team in 1965 from a freshman class of 50 recruits.

Springer opened the first Timeout Sports store on Second Street and started coming to Rehoboth Beach in 1965. Springer handled the Maryland Timeout Sports, while Craig Dayton managed the Rehoboth stores in the ’80s and I managed the stores in the ’90s until we closed in 1993. Dayton was the first legit sub-three-hour marathoner to live in Rehoboth Beach, and for at least three decades, he would pound the pavement every morning through Rehoboth Beach, Henlopen Acres and North Shores with his morning 10-miler at 6 a.m.

I trained for my first marathon with Dayton, along with being his summer roommate on Kent Street, and his training runs were so up-tempo that I left my marathon on the roads too early, hitting my last long run three weeks out. I did not recover from that training run and my marathon hopes became history.

Springer organized early races with Timeout Sports in the ’80s, including the YMCA 5-miler, the Timeout Sports 5K, the Rehoboth Biathlon and the Father’s Day 5K, Firecracker 5K and Labor Day 5K, to name a few. In the summer, Springer organized the Sunburn Racing Series with Event Coordinator Jon Clifton, which eventually turned into the Seashore Striders Racing Series in 1990 organized by Dr. Lee Masser, Rich Tikiob and myself, with Springer overseeing the early operations.

When Timeout Sports closed in 1993, I moved all shoe inventory to the backseat, trunk and roof of my Nissan Passport and drove around Rehoboth Beach delivering running shoes. It was not much different than Door Dash is today. Great memories of running and racing in the early Rehoboth Beach days, and none better to start the running craze than Bruce “Chief” Springer.

‘Half Pint’ worth a gallon

Louis “Half Pint” Stockley attended the banquet as well, and he has been a father, brother and friend to me for nearly 35 years. Half started driving a bus for Cape Henlopen in 1968 and still drives today, some 55 years later. Half handles the production of the trophies and custom wood awards for the Seashore Striders, and coordinated the ordering and delivery of products for the races. Half also works the Rehoboth Beach Marathon as a member of the medical pickup crew and the water stop supply crew, as well as being part of the water stop setup crew the day before the marathon. He is one of those behind-the-scenes guys who, if needed, whether it’s church, school, buses, duck carving, car shows or Seashore Striders, he will be there for you.


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