Bob Seaman, former head coach of the Massillon Tigers, died on August 13 at the age of 86. Seaman led the team from 1966 through 1968 and also taught mathematics at WHS.
During his three years at the helm, Seaman compiled a record of 20 wins, 9 losses and one tie, having had the dubious honor of succeeding Coach Earl Bruce. While both heralded from Sandusky and had good success there, it was Bruce who went 20-0 at Massillon and captured a pair of state titles, whereas Seaman suffered through an initial 4-5-1 mark. It was the first time the Tigers posted a losing record since 1931, something that didn’t sit too well with the fans. The season started off well enough with a pair of wins, in spite of the Tigers losing their best running back between Games 1 and 2 due to a motorcycle accident. But a 0-0 tie against Mansfield in Week 3 broke a 30-game winning streak and then a 20-12 loss to Niles two weeks later ended a 32-game unbeaten streak. In the Niles game, Massillon led 12-0 entering the fourth quarter, only to see the Red Dragons score 20 unanswered points and grab the win. Recall that it was the Tigers that broke Niles’ 48- game winning streak just two years before. Three more close losses followed and the Tigers were now 3-4-1 with the state’s No. 1 team Steubenville coming to town. It seemed like it couldn’t get any worse.
The game started an hour and a half late due to a blown transformer, but that didn’t keep the Tigers from engineering one of their biggest upsets in history. Not only did they beat the Big Red 12-0, they also held them to just 39 yards of offense, 11 on the ground and 28 in the air. Two long Massillon drives that culminated in touchdowns by halfback back Tom James and quarterback Craig Maurer were all that was needed. Unfortunately, the Tigers couldn’t repeat the feat the following week against an under-performing McKinley eleven, and the losing record was assured.
Seaman semi-redeemed himself the following year by going 9-1 and finishing as A.P. state runner-up. Only a 7-6 loss to eventual state champ Upper Arlington kept Massillon from the top spot. Nevertheless, a 7-3 finish the following year, including a 26-6 loss to McKinley, the 2nd in three years, was enough for the fans to cry and the Massillon Board to eventually seek a new coach. That coach turned out to be the very successful Bob Commings.
After Massillon, Seaman landed in Wichita State as an assistant, but an unfortunate event the following year thrust him into the head role. Two planes left for a game against Utah State, but the one carrying the first team failed to make it safely, with 37 players, coaches and support staff lost. Seaman was promoted to head coach and he remained there for four years, earning a winning season only during the last one. But it wasn’t good enough, so he was out once again. After some collegiate assistant roles he eventually landed at Worthington High School, where he was the head coach for the final nine years of his career.
Later, Seaman was inducted into the Halls of Fame for both Sandusky High School and the Ohio High School Football Coaches Association. He was also a two-time head coach of the Ohio North-South All-Star Game, once for the North and once for the South. The final honor was recognition by Worthington High School for his contributions to the football program.
Bob is survived by his wife, Jean, three daughters and a number of grandchildren an great grandchildren. He was also a veteran of the U.S.Army.