Joined Jul 28 2011
74 years old
Palm Beach Gardens, FL
Florida Track and Field Bio of Harry Winkler
Florida Track Team 1963 thru 1967
Florida Track Club 1968 thru 1970
Harry Winkler lettered in football, basketball, baseball, and track his sophomore year, 1961, at Forest Hill High School in West Palm Beach, Florida. His final two years he concentrated on basketball, all-state in 1963, single game scoring record of 55 pts at his alma mater. His junior year he won the state decathlon. He would have contended his senior year except an injury kept him from competing. At the 1963 Florida state meet he set the state shot-put record of 60’1”, got second in the discus to another Florida track alum, John Morton, and was 3rd in the long jump.
Harry’s best friend and teammate was Frank Saier, another Florida track alum who became the first 7’ high jumper in the southeast. Frank accepted a scholarship offer from Jimmy Carnes, the track coach at Furman University at the time. Harry accepted a basketball scholarship offer to the University of Florida. Harry made the all SEC freshmen team and started his sophomore year for Norm Sloan averaging 8.5 pts per game and was named to the all SEC sophomore team for the 1965-66 season. Meanwhile Jimmy Carnes accepted the head track coach job at Florida and brought Frank Saier, with him. Harry was permitted to compete in track while on basketball scholarship and competed during his entire stay at the University of Florida. In 1965 Harry was 9th in the nation in the decathlon. In 1966 Harry was second in the USTFF decathlon scoring 6783 points. Harry’s main events were the shot put, 53’6”, discus. 170’, and javelin, 222’. Harry was high point man in the 1966 SEC meet: 1st in shot put 53’3,” 3rd in discus 163’9,” 4th in the javelin 201’8.” Harry attributes much of his track success at the University of Florida to Coach Jimmy Carnes who supported Harry in his endeavors.
Upon graduation with a master’s degree in Physical Education Harry received a US Army ROTC commission and was assigned to Ft Campbell, KY. He was invited, because of his varied athletic background, to attend a tryout camp for a new Olympic sport called team handball. Harry was invited to join the national team and, 6 months later, was named a member of the US Olympic Men’s Handball team that competed in the 1972 Munich Olympics.
Harry left the military service and returned to West Palm Beach, Florida and accepted a teaching position at his old alma mater of Forest Hill High School. Harry balanced teaching and continued participation on the US National Men’s Handball team competing in many countries in Europe and throughout the world. In 1976 Harry participated in his second Olympic Games and represented the United States as a member of the US Men’s Handball Team in Montreal, Canada. 1977 was Harry’s last year of handball participation as a competitor.. In 1974 Harry was asked to help develop a US Women’s Handball program. Harry, when he wasn’t involved in men’s competition, was the assistant coach of the women’s National Handball Team and was Chairman of the Women’s Committee of the United States Team Handball Federation. He served as Women’s Chairman and assistant coach of the team thru the 1980 Olympics. Harry and the team were in a tournament in the Congo in Africa to try and qualify for the Moscow Olympics when President Carter decided that the US would boycott the games for political reasons.
Harry’s last involvement with handball was when he was asked to be the assistant competition director for handball at the 1984 Olympics held in Los Angeles. In 1981 Harry was named to the Palm Beach County Sports Hall of Fame.
All thru the years, after Harry’s release from active duty from the military in 1972, Harry taught at his alma mater of Forest Hill High School. He taught health/ life management for a majority of the 38 years of his teaching career. He coached track for a number of years and girl’s cross country. Harry has written curriculum for the States health education curriculum entitled “Adolescent Health Problems.” In recent years Harry has been very vocal and an avid letter writer regarding educational issues. In 2009 Harry was named the Palm Beach Post letter to the editor Letter Writer of the Year.
Harry stays active now in his second year of retirement by volunteering at the local Veterans Administration hospital, working in the Florida agriculture extension service as a Master Gardener, and as a docent in the Palm Beach History Museum. Harry lives with his wife Renee on an acre of land with native plants and a large garden.