Zach Read

“Find moments of significance in your life that make you a better athlete and a better person.”

This was the quote that Ashland University Head Track and Field Coach Jud Logan gave to his team at the beginning of the 2018-2019 season in September. Little did Logan know that the quote would be his own personal motivation come March of 2019 and that it would drive him to not take life’s moments for granted.

On March 4, Logan was diagnosed with a form of Leukemia called B-Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, four days before his team was set to compete in the NCAA Division II Indoor National Championships.

“The important thing was that the kids did not know I had Leukemia,” Logan said. “It would not have been fair for me to put that on them because then they would have tried to go do something above what they were capable of.”

On March 9, Logan watched from his room, at the Cleveland Clinic hospital surrounded by his family, as his team won Ashland’s first ever team indoor track and field national championship title.

Logan said that it was a surreal moment to watch his kids celebrate the national championship in Pittsburgh, Kan. but he hopes that he never has to watch it from that position again.

“He is one of the strongest people I have ever meant physically and mentally,” senior thrower Jim Toth said. “For him just to all of a sudden say ‘hey guys I’m not going to be there’ we knew it was something serious but we also knew that we had to take care of business at nationals.”

To keep family and friends updated on the process, Jenna Logan, one of Jud’s three children started a page on Caringbridge.org in which people could read up on his progress and send their support. To date, Logan’s page “A Moment of Significance” has seen 11.6K visits.

On March 9 Jenna wrote, “Watching his kids compete in Kansas from afar was the most ‘my dad’ regular self he has been in days. I loved seeing the fuel and passion in his eyes. I loved seeing his pacing around the room (while gently reminding him he’s still connected to his IV and to be careful!)”

Not only was watching his athletes win the national championship fuel and passion through his journey in the hospital, but so was the outpouring of support from hundreds if not thousands of people that began to accumulate.

As Logan began his first round of chemotherapy, former AU thrower Megan Tomei began to devise a plan to show support for Logan as well as get others involved. Tomei was with the Eagles for six years which allowed for her and Logan to form a father-daughter-like relationship.

“She decided that she wanted to make something that people felt like they could get in the race with me, get involved and do something positive to show their support,” Logan said.

She would call it the #LoganStrongChallenge which consisted of 8188, which would mean more significance to Logan than the average person. 81.88-meters was Logan’s lifetime best in the hammer throw which was also the American record at the time.

The challenge consisted of eight back squats, one pull-up, eight power cleans (Logan’s favorite lift of all time) and eight burpees (exercise Logan hates the most). To complete the challenge, that participant would also have to do it for four rounds, one round for each Olympic Games Logan competed in.

“It was an incredible gesture on Megan’s part but it gave people an opportunity to say like I’m not just telling you good luck, I’m gonna go out and show you.”

Athletes and the throwing community jumped on this opportunity to be able to show Logan that they are fighting alongside Logan in his fight against leukemia.

“We were very highly motivated to do it, it was at a time where we did not have as much good news as we do now, and that really pushed us as fast as we could to complete the challenge,” Toth said.

To name a few other participants was the Ashland University volleyball team, Hillsdale throws team and A.G. Kruger, who Logan trained for 13 years and competed in two Olympics. Not only has Kruger completed it once, but has and will complete the challenge three times a week until Logan is in remission.

“I’m doing everything I can and I believe that the outreach and the prayers and the positive thoughts that come my way I feel are somehow affecting me very very positively,” Logan said.

Other gifts and gestures of support came from Logan’s brother who owns Logan’s Sports Inc. in North Canton, Ohio. Logan’s brother made t-shirts and gave the entire AU track and field team free shirts and is now selling them to raise money for cancer research if you call 330-499-1700.

Support was also shown from the throwers at AU’s first outdoor meet of the year at the Winthrop Invitational who signed a poster and sent it to Logan. Gill Athletics, a manufacturer of track and field equipment, sent a 35-pound weight shell with their employees signatures to Logan.

From all of the gifts and gestures to the texts and calls, Logan said he has the greatest support team in the world.

“I’ve got my own family, I’ve got the university, I’ve got my team and I’ve got my throwing community outside of that which is vast and large from the 25 years that I have competed worldwide,” Logan said.

While the support has been the backbone for Logan through this journey, he has also needed to listen to his “head coach” (his doctor at Cleveland Clinic) about what the game plan is.

The game plan for Logan was simple with basically four things he had to do outside of chemo treatment: keep his hygiene, exercise, keep a healthy diet and make sure to eat and keep the right mental approach.

“I created a mantra for myself and that is basically saying ‘you’re built for this’ because you know what it takes to reach a goal, you know what it takes to get through hard work.”

So far, that game plan has paid off as Logan completed his first cycle of chemotherapy the first week of April and is preparing to begin his second cycle.

AU Athletics

“He’s had the most positive outlook, I don’t think he has ever complained once about anything,” Jud’s wife Jill said. “They say in these situations how much your positive outlook, exercise and eating right matters and I just really think that his attitude has really given him the benefit to get back to work.”

On March 11 Jenna Logan posted on the Caring Bridge page, “Today was also Day 1 of chemotherapy… and naturally, he crushed it. The next days and weeks will be filled with managing side effects and receiving treatments. But for tonight? Date night on the rooftop of Cleveland Clinic with his high school sweetheart. :)”

The second round of chemo will last six weeks and Logan said that this process is a lot like his 4-6 week training regimens for Team USA and the Olympics.

In a recent post on Caring Bridge Logan said, “Just like when I competed for Team USA, I focused on 4-6 week blocks of training. Goal setting is important but most important for me is a day-to-day approach and trying to win every day.”

Jill has been thankful for all of the support and for the track and field community for being their family.

“It is unbelievable. You can tribute a lot of that to social media and the Caring Bridge sight,” Jill Logan said. “The track and field community is a family within itself. He’s just got people and support all over the world.”

The final quote that Logan feeds off of to push him through this journey was not one that he created, but was found by his daughter Kirsten, an AU alumnus, while searching for positive messages that defined her dad.

“That’s not something I’ve ever said, it’s not something I’ve ever even read but I sure as hell liked it when she found it,” Logan said.

The quote reads, “The magnitude of which you are tested is also the magnitude of which you are strengthened.”