Ernie Hearon, coach of Maryland's weight men and an outstanding shot putter in his undergraduate days at College Park, was killed yesterday when his car left the road at 4:05 a.m. and struck an electric pole on Rte. 27 in Howard County.Maryland State Police reported that he apparently fell asleep at the wheel.
Mr. Hearon, who was 33, graduated from Maryland in 1967. The previous year, he won the IC4A shot-put championship as the Terrapins captured their first indoor team team little.
In the 1966 NCAA meet, Mr. Hearon placed fifth with a put of 58 feet 1 inch that established a university record. It was later surpassed by Jack Hanley.
A teacher at Banneker Junior High School in Burtonsville, Mr. Hearon competed for Sports International after graduation and in the 1970 D.C. AAU meet set a Byrd Stadium record of 63-8. That was not topped until last summer's U.S.-Russia meet, when world record holder Aleksandr Barishnikov managed 69-4 3/4.
Mr. Hearon wasd a teammate of Frank Costello, Maryland's present head track coach, both in school and with Sports International.
"he was a real good athlete," Costello said, "and an extremely good coach. He had real rapport with the guys he worked with. He was my roommate on most of our trips with Sports International and we were real close. This is a great personal loss to me.
'Everybody liked Ernie. he was a friends to everybody. He was outgoing, a jovial type, very personable. He was a great guy.
"Pound for pound, he was the best shot putter in the world. When he threw 63 feet for Sports International, he weighed only 220 pounds."
Mr. Hearon, who lived at 351 Cecilton St., Laurel, was divorced from his wife, Suzanne. He leaves their son, Matthew Bishop, 3, his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Raymond Hearon Sr. of Mt. Holly, N.J., and a brother, Raymond Jr., of Houston. He will be buried in Hattiesburg, Miss.