G. Lester Duke '25
G. Lester Duke '25 is a reserved figure in Grinnell athletics on the basis of his accomplishments over 30 years as an athlete, coach and administrator. A native of Washington, Iowa, Les was an All-Missouri Valley Conference guard in football and lettered in track as a weightman and runner. He was Grinnell's head track coach from 1927 through 1942, his teams never finishing lower than fourth in the Missouri Valley and Midwest Conference meets. Duke also had a stint as Grinnell's athletic director, and coached several other sports. Nationally recognized as a track starter, he acted in that capacity at the Drake Relays for 30 years, and at the Kansas Relays. After serving as Grinnell's dean of men from 1948 to 1953, Les was an insurance agent in Grinnell for 15 years. In the 60s he was commissioner of the Iowa Collegiate Athletic Conference. After retirement he served briefly as an assistant to the college president. Les passed away in 1986 but the memory of this likeable, quiet man will live on as the new Grinnell track and a major invitational cross country meet are named in his honor. Duke's alma mater also honored him with an alumni award and an honorary doctor's degree.