Former Bulldog All-American Steve Fountain reflects on running career

Steve Fountain became a NAIA All-American during his Bulldog track and field/cross country career. (Pioneer courtesy photo)

BIG RAPIDS — Steve Fountain graduated from Mount Pleasant and decided to taking his running talents in 1974 to Ferris State.

He turned out to be among the most talented runners in school history in men’s track and cross country 1974-79 and, 43 years after his arrival in Big Rapids, will be inducted this week into the Ferris State Sports Hall of Fame.

The Mount Pleasant High School standout became a NAIA All-American during his Bulldog track and field/cross country career and was one of the program’s early standouts. He earned All-America honors with a third-place effort (9:15) in the two-mile run at the 1976 NAIA National Indoor Championships.

He earned four letters and was Ferris State’s male Student-Athlete of the Year honor in 1977-78. He was also honored as the school’s Most Valuable Performer in men’s track in 1977.

Fountain still holds the school record in the indoor 5,000 meters with a clocking of 14:46.74 recorded at Eastern Michigan in 1976.

“Top memories would include having great teammates to train with and becoming friends with,” Fountain said. “The same would hold true for Pharmacy School classmates. We worked hard together to improve. The social life was always great amongst the teammates and we had a lot of fun along the way. Traveling to the cross country meets with Coach Ray (Helsing) was always entertaining. Of course the Indoor Nationals in Greensboro was a highlight as several of us were All American that weekend.  We were lucky enough to qualify for national meets in both cross country and track at I enjoyed those meets a lot .

His outdoor 5,000-meter run clocking of 14:36.64 in 1977 also still ranks as one of the top two efforts in Ferris State history. He also has the school’s fourth-fastest indoor 3,000-meter time (8:34.14).

“My dad Jack Fountain had graduated from the Ferris Pharmacy school and I saw myself following in his footsteps, and I wanted to continue competing in long distance running after high school,” Fountain said. “Coach Ray Helsing had contacted me and my folks about the cross country and track programs at Ferris and that solidified my decision as he seemed like the kind of coach I would like to run for. Also Big Rapids was fairly close to home.”

Fountain earned his bachelor’s degree in pharmacy from Ferris State.

In 1980, Fountain and his wife Susan lived in East Tawas and in 1992 open their own pharmacy which was a Medicine Shoppe Franchise.

“We operated that store until we sold the business in April 2016,” he said. “We are both pretty much retired now. Susan worked for several pharmacy entities over the years and then for ourselves.

“We both enjoy golf, bike riding and gardening. I really enjoy fishing and hunting so we live in a good spot for all of that.”

Friday night, Fountain will enjoy his moment back in Big Rapids.

“The Hall of Fame is a great honor,” he said. “I look at it as a way to say thanks to all my family, coaches and running mates who helped me along the way and that includes high school. A lot of miles were covered ( 25,000 plus) and the results were OK.”

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Posted by John Raffel

John is a sports reporter with the Pioneer as well as the Herald Review and The Lake County Star. He also coordinates the weekly Pioneer sports outdoors page. He can be reached at (231) 592-8356 or by email at jraffel@pioneergroup.com.

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