FPS staff report
January 7, 2013
Town of residence:
Wife, Janis; daughters, Anne Wilcox, teacher in Hilliard; Holly Jones, teacher at Bell-Herron and Meredith Place, a pharmacist; six grandchildren.
Former teacher and coach with 36 years of teaching from first grade to college, plus an additional eight years of coaching.
What or who influenced you to become involved in the field you are in:
I was motivated by my high school coaches: Don Eskey, Dr. Tony Golas and Joe Stora, former Big Ten wrestling champion at Ohio State University; Dr. Mason of Ohio University, who steered my career and desire for graduate school; Glenn Sutherin, who taught me organization and a love for football, and Harry Houska, national champion at Ohio University and a teammate from whom I learned that wrestling practice was mostly day-by-day survival training. From him, I learned to become mentally tougher and to work harder. Because I entered college at age 17, I really grew physically and mentally after I started graduate school as an assistant wrestling coach at Central Missouri University.
I would be remiss not to mention Forrest Buchanan, who taught the appreciation of the outdoors. In 1988, I was chosen to go with him to the National Outdoor Leadership School in the Teton mountains in Wyoming for a month. Time and space don’t allow the many others who molded my experiences.
What are (were) your duties?
Most people know me from my coaching experiences, so here is a short resume of how I lived my dreams.
Ohio University: I earned three letters in wrestling and three in soccer. I went out for soccer with a few ex-football players who saw the chance to travel and have fun. My senior year we defeated Pitt, Ohio State and arch enemy Akron, while winning the Ohio Soccer League, but lost a 1-0 match to Michigan State to keep us from the national playoffs. A teammate and I were selected to the All-Midwest Team. I had a successful sophomore year in wrestling, but then had to wrestle a heavyweight weighing 195 pounds to wrestle varsity as Harry entered the scene.
Graduate school started a successful coaching career. Central Missouri wrestled the likes of Kansas, Kansas State and Missouri of the Big 12, as well as University of Nebraska-Omaha, Northeast Oklahoma and several other division II Midwest powers.
After over 40 years of coaching I could write a book of the life experiences. I lost my father in an accident and returned home and restarted wrestling. After the end of the football season we only had three weeks to prepare for our first match: the well coached Carrollton Warriors of Rusty Bright. Our wrestlers had only watched films of Ohio State and one scrimmage. Needless to say Carrollton was blatantly overconfident. This quickly ended as our 103 pounder pinned their experienced athlete. The match ended at 55-5 unfortunately.
I became the head wrestling coach at Miami-Dade Junior College in Miami, FL. We were very successful, wining the Florida Collegiates both years and defeating Florida, Florida State, Florida A and M, Tampa, Troy State, Southwest Louisiana and others.
In the Georgia Tech Tournament, we had the first black athlete to enter, which created a stir temporarily. With the backing of several northern schools, he was allowed to compete and he wrestled successfully. (This was in 1967).
At Frostburg State in Maryland, I was the defensive coordinator in football and head wrestling coach. This was the only place I didn’t return to change a loser into a winning season.
After stints in Florida, we moved to Ashtabula, Ohio. We went from 2-8 to 12-2 in two years. One of our football players was Jim Bollman, Ohio State’s offensive coordinator, currently at Boston College.
When we returned to Springfield, I took the football position because no one else wanted it. So with only six practices we started the season, finishing at 6-4. This was followed by an undefeated season and a third place ranking by the AP-UPI poll at the end of the season. It didn’t take long to establish a winning tradition in both sports. Our kids DID NOT LIKE TO LOSE!
At the consolidated Edison North and South teams we were still successful. In 1991, the Edison South team finished fourth in the state with Kelly Shields crowned state champion.
My coach career ended as follows, excluding junior high:
Football: Record in 10 years: 64-32-3; 9-1 in years; District Coach of the Year twice; Had over 20 All State players; coached in the Ohio–Penn MAC game twice.
Wrestling: Record as Head Coach: 326-132-3 dual wins; Sectional Champions 9 times; District Champions 2 years; District runner-up 4 times; District Coach of the Year 3 Times; Placed over 210 wrestlers in the state tournament despite only the district-regional champion moving to the state tournament for several years.
I have not mentioned any athletes specifically for the list would be too long for any article. Each athlete was a successful individual who paid the price in practice, the weight room, summer camps and individual workouts to attain being a successful person. I know of over 30 students who became coaches. I must have done a little right!
My hobbies include the Civil War, camping, canoeing and following the athletic careers of my grandchildren.
Lobster and steak.
Last movie you saw:
The War Horse
Favorite movie of all time:
The above movie and the first Manchurian Candidate. The realization that the world is not always a rosy place.
People would be surprised to know that:
I am an accomplished artist. My wife, Jan, was an Eastern Airline stewardess and we traveled to the islands (honeymooned in Bermuda) and Europe where I dragged her through every art museum there in a short month. I totally enjoyed the rapport with students on all the levels I taught in. Hopefully, I influenced at least one to become a better student. Thank you for allowing me to share a few of my life experiences.