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ORU track coach publishes new book

Photo by Sterling Z. Rubottom

“The Sky’s the Limit: The Joe Dial Story” is available now on Amazon. Joe Dial and Doug Eaton will have a book signing on Nov. 10 from 12-2 p.m. at Barnes & Noble on 8620 E. 71st Street, Tulsa, OK. Several copies are also available for checkout in the ORU Library.

As a senior in high school, he broke the national record for pole-vaulting at 17 feet, 9 1/2 inches. As an Oklahoma State University student, he became a four-time NCAA pole-vault champion. He broke the indoor pole-vault world record and set the American pole-vaulting record nine times—a record in itself. He carried his pole across five continents to global pole-vaulting championships and was inducted into six halls of fame.

Now, going into his 25th year as the head track coach at ORU, Joe Dial is clearing a new height.

A copy donated to the ORU library | Photo by Sterling Z. Rubottom

Enter author Doug Eaton. Eaton was a long-time track and field fan and as a competitor himself in high school, he had definitely heard about Joe Dial.

“Pole-vaulting is like a club,” Dial said. “You can be a total enemy against somebody competition-wise, but you’re actually still friends.”

Eaton and Dial saw each other at football games in Jenks, OK, and became friends. An accountant with a hobby for writing, Eaton knew a good story when he saw one.

After he read a feature on Dial in a local paper, he texted him, “Let me know when you’re ready to write a book.”

It took a few months before Dial finally accepted. But when he did in the summer of 2016, they hit the ground running and met almost every Wednesday at 11 a.m. for a whole year.

“This was fun…this was not work,” Eaton said. “I’m a big track fan and a friend of Joe’s. It was lot of fun to listen to him talk and try to capture all the thoughts and events he’s been involved in.”

Joe Dial competing for Oklahoma State University | Photo provided by Gold Medal Publishing

Dial’s experience was similar.

“It was fun going back in my memory bank,” Dial said. “It was like reliving the whole thing over again.”

While his accomplishments could write a book themselves, “The Sky’s the Limit: The Joe Dial Story” details the early years of training under his pole-vaulting father, the highs and lows of becoming a champion and the witty and wild moments in between, through which Dial shares his most important life lessons.

“The odds of me doing what I did actually seems like zero. I wasn’t even the best athlete in my class,” Dial said. “Everything is possible, I really believe that. That’s what I try to tell the kids here at ORU.”

This book will definitely not disappoint track and field athletes and fans, but it’s meant to inspire anyone with big dreams.

“If you work hard enough, you can accomplish all your goals,” said Eaton. “It just goes to show you that anything is possible, by anyone.”