Category: <span>History</span>

Massillon 2023 Kickoff Rally Photos

Massillon 2023 Kickoff Rally Photos

Tiger growl, with WTIG’s Ray Jeske

Part of the massive crowd.

The Tiger Swing Band.

The Massillon Tigers.

The Massillon Tigers.

Cheerleaders leading the crowd.

The Massillon  Tigers.



Mayor Cathy Katazoro Perry.

Superintendent Paul Salvino

Washington High School Principal Dave Lautenschleger.

Booster Club President Rob Maylor.

Head Coach Nate Moore

Tiger Swing Band.




Massillon vs. Valdosta Game Preview

Massillon vs. Valdosta Game Preview

Massillon, Ohio, vs. Valdosta, Georgia.  An intriguing matchup that has been years in the making, one that is worthy of national exposure.  Massillon and Valdosta have two of the winningest programs in the country, with a combined 1,876 wins between them.  Valdosta, with an historical record of 944-262-34, is the No. 1 team in the USA in terms of total wins, while Massillon, a former USA No. 1 with a record of 932-299-36, is currently 1st in Ohio and 4th in the nation.  Destined to be a classic for the ages, this game opens the 2023 football season, as part of the NE Ohio vs. America Showcase.

The two public schools share many similarities, starting with lengthy football histories.  Valdosta began playing in 1913 and Massillon first fielded a team in 1891.  The Wildcats have six national championships (the last one in 1992) and 24 Georgia state championships (the last one in 2016), whereas the Tigers have nine national champions (the last one in 1961) and 24 Ohio state championships (the last one in 1970).  Both play in sizeable, historic stadiums with large video screens and personalized bricks at the entranceway.  Bazermore-Hyder Stadium (1922) in Valdosta holds 11,249, while Paul Brown Tiger Stadium (1939) can seat 16,884.  Each has an avid booster club.  And national media attention has been enjoyed at each school.  For Valdosta, it was named Titletown USA by ESPN (2008) and was then featured in a Netflix Series titled, “Titletown High” (2020).  Massillon has been highlighted in numerous book publications, plus several films, including “Touchdown Town” (1951), “It’s a mad, mad, mad, mad football town” (1964), “Go Tigers” (2000), and “Timeless Rivals” (2017).

Valdosta participates in playoff Division AAAAAAA, the highest classification in Georgia.  Last season they finished 8-3, with a loss in the first round of the playoffs.  They are led by third-year Head Coach Shelton Felton.  Felton played football for Troy University and coached in various capacities at the high school and college levels, including Chattanooga (2017), Tennessee (2018 and 2020) and Akron (2019), before being hired as head coach at Valdosta in 2021.  Massillon is coached by Nate Moore, who enters his ninth year.  Last season the Tigers recorded a 12-2 record and advanced to the state semifinals in the playoffs.

Valdosta operates out of the spread offense.  With a run-first approach, they are led by running back Shakevious Wright, a 5’-8”, 190 lb. senior, who is very fast and physical and can cause havoc for any team if he gets into the secondary.  At quarterback is junior Todd Robinson, at 6’-0”, 185 lbs., who returns from last year.  Like Wright, he is a very good runner, while showing good accuracy on short and mid-range passes.  Defensively, the best player in their 3-4 alignment is defensive tackle Eric Brantley, a 6’-2”, 275 lb. senior.  Last year he was named Region Player of the Year and holds an offer from Colorado.  He may be the best defensive lineman the Tigers will see this year.  Linebacker Jaylin Bentley is another player to watch.  The 6’-1”, 180 lb. senior is quick and physical, and tackles well.  He has an offer from Georgia State.

Massillon will counter with a host of returning starters.  At quarterback is 3rd year starter, junior Jalen Slaughter, who passed last year for 2,043 yards and 24 touchdowns.  Newcomer Daone Owens is also expected to see time at the position.  The Number 1 and 3 wide receivers also return in Braylyn Toles (43-566) and Kyler Wiggins (34-374).  The offensive line returns three starters, in addition to 6’-6” Nolan Davenport, who played tight end last year, having moved over to tackle.  Defensively, The Tigers return six of their starting front seven players, led by 1st Team All-Ohio linebacker Dorian Pringle (Bowling Green) (69.5 tackle points) and defensive lineman Chase Bond (North Carolina State).

The significance of this game has not been lost on either community.  For Valdosta, they have won more games than any other team.  They are extremely proud of this record.  And they don’t hold back in letting any of the other 15,000 teams across the land know it.  Now they are facing the most renowned team in the country, the one put on the map by the legendary Paul Brown.  The one that has won more national titles than any other team save one.  The Wildcats know that they face a significant challenge, but they must by all means defend their honor.

For Massillon, the game ranks right up there with several other big games the Tigers have participated in throughout their long history.  Some of these include:

  • 1940 – Massillon vs. Toledo Waite, a team that believed they could upend the 5-time defending state champion Tigers and take the crown themselves.
  • 1945 – Massillon vs. Cleveland Cathedral Latin, a game played in front of 51,000 fans at Cleveland Municipal Stadium,
  • 1964 – Massillon vs. Niles, a team sitting on a 48-game unbeaten streak. It was played in front of 30,128 at the Akron Rubber.
  • 1972 – Massillon vs. Cincinnati Princeton in Ohio’s first-ever state playoffs. It was held at Ohio State Stadium.
  • 1982 – Massillon vs. Cincinnati Moeller for the state championship. Ohio State hosted the game in front of 31,409 fans, the highest attendance ever for a state playoff game.
  • 1991 – Massillon vs. Kentucky Covington Catholic in the Buddy LaRosa Classic, held at Cincinnati’s Riverfront Stadium.
  • 1994 – Massillon vs. Canton McKinley, the 100th meeting between these two historic rivals.
  • 2005 – Massillon vs. Cincinnati Elder at the Cincinnati Bengal’s Paul Brown Stadium.

Now, the Massillon vs. Valdosta game can be added to that list.  It should be a classic, one that will be remembered by both schools for a long time, especially by the winner.

Tiger Halls of Fame Have Six New Members

Tiger Halls of Fame Have Six New Members

Last Thursday, in conjunction with the Booster Club Reverse Raffle event, five new members were inducted into the Massillon Tiger Football Hall of Fame, including Arvine Ulrich, Larry Larsuel, Gary Vogt, Ron Ertle and Devin Smith.  In addition, Rick Spielman was inducted into the Massillon Wall of Champions.  Each also will receive a commemorative plaque at halftime of the Valdosta Game.

Arvine “Tink” Ulrich played quarterback for the Tigers in 1920-22 under legendary Coach Dave Stewart.  He was also a team captain..  During his senior year, the team finished 10-0 and was named state champion.  Later, Ulrich played for Wittenberg College and was the class president.  Following his return to Massillon, he was elected in 1934 as the Booster Club’s first president.  He also held leadership roles in several Massillon-area civic organizations.

Larry Larsuel was a lineman for Massillon in 1962-64 first under Coach Leo Strang and then Earl Bruce.  During his senior year the team finished 10-0 and was voted state champion.  Twice he was named All-County and All-Ohio and later participated the Ohio North-South All-Star Game.

Gary Vogt, a former Massillon basketball player and 1966 graduate, has held several positions within the Booster Club, including Chairman of the Tiger Sideliners and President of the Club.  In the latter position, he was instrumental in bringing several stadium projects to fruition, including installation of the Omni Sand Turf and installation of a rubberized running track.  Also, under his watch, the “TIG-ERS” fan cheer was developed.  He is currently the Booster Club’s Historian, a position he has held for the past 14 years.

Ron Ertle played offensive lineman and linebacker for the Tigers from 1966-68.  In his senior year his team compiled a 9-1 record, capturing the All-American Conference championship and earning 2nd place in the sportswriters’ state poll.  Ertle, a co-captain, was named 1st Team All-Ohio linebacker.  And he participated in the Ohio North-South All-Star Game.  After high school, he played football for the University of Cincinnati.

Devin Smith was a 2-year standout for Massillon at wide receiver from 2009-10, leading the team in receptions, yards and scoring each year.  He was also named 1st Team All-Ohio in both years.  During his junior year the team finished with a 10-4 record and a spot in the Division 1 state championship game.  An All-County basketball player, he also captured three first place medals in state track meets.  Following high school, Smith played football for four years at Ohio State, with his team capturing the national championship during his senior season.  He also played in the NFL for the New York Jets and the Dallas Cowboys.

Rick Spielman played linebacker for the Tigers during his junior year and then switched to quarterback for his senior year.  As a linebacker, he was instrumental in helping his team compile a 10-2-1 record and advance in the playoffs to the Division 1 state championship game.  In college, he played linebacker for Southern Illinois University, earning 1st Team All-Gateway Conference honors, with his team once capturing the NCAA Division 1-AA national championship.  Post-college, he achieved a long career in the NFL, holding various administrative positions within different organizations,  including general manager of both the Miami Dolphins and the Minnesota Vikings.

Congratulations to the latest inductees.

Left to right: Gary Vogt, Ron Ertle, Devin Smith and Stacy Larsuel Howard for Larry Larsuel

Top (L-R) Irvine “Tink” Ulrich, Larry Larsuel and Gary Vogt; bottom (L-R) Ron Ertle, Devin Smith and Rick Spielman.



Nevada, Cleveland Browns, Horace Gillom

Part 6 – Ends and Wide Receivers in the…

Part 6 – Ends and Wide Receivers in the Massillon Tiger Football Hall of Fame

The Football Hall of Fame recognizes those individuals that have made outstanding contributions to the Tiger football program, whether it be a player, coach, band director or just an individual who has been influential in a positive way.  Inductees are honored in the WHS Sports Hall with plaques that display the inductees’ contributions.  As of 2022, a total of 105 members have been inducted.  Five more will be inducted this year.

Complete List of Massillon Tiger Football Hall of Fame Inductees

This entry is Part 6 of a series that presents past inductees by playing position.  This edition features the ends and wide receivers.  Five players have gained Hall of Fame distinction as ends or wide receivers, including Horace Gillon, Jim Letcavits, Bob Vogel, Curt Strawder and Devin Jordan.

Horace Gillom (1938-40)

Paul Brown said there “has never been a better punter than Horace.”  Gillom specialized in distance and hang time and averaged over 40 yards per kick.  But he was also a tremendous end and linebacker and helped Massillon to three consecutive state championships.

Nevada, Cleveland Browns, Horace GillomAs a sophomore playing on varsity, he caught four touchdowns passes, including two against Mansfield of 35 and 55 yards.  The Tigers finished with a 10-0 record and were named state champions.

In his junior year Massillon repeated as state champs and was also given the same accolade nationally.  Gillom, now a starter, had an immediate impact and at the end of the season was named 1st Team All-Ohio.  He scored four receiving touchdowns, accumulating 42 points.  Against New Castle, PA, he caught a 34-yard TD pass and returned a blocked punt 18 yards for another score.  Then, against Canton Lehman, he grabbed a 40-yard pass for a TD and on defense returned an interception 80 yards for a second TD.

His senior year was more of the same: outstanding at his playing positions; 10-0 team record; state champs; national champs.  But he also became a very good ball carrier.  Now as team captain, he led the team in scoring with 102 points, including eight touchdowns rushing and nine receiving.  His punting skills were also the best around.  Against Steubenville he scored four TDs and had another three against Cleveland Cathedral Latin.  At the end of the season he was named both 1st Team All-Ohio and A.P. Most Outstanding Player.  He also found some time to play basketball.

Paul Brown left the following season and took the graduated Gillom with him to Ohio State.  But war duties were calling following his freshman season and he spent the next three years in the U.S. Army, returning home with three bronze stars.

That led to a year at Nevada (1946), where he was No. 1 in the nation in punting.  But once again, Paul Brown was calling.  This time it was for the Cleveland Browns, where he played from 1947-56.  Gillom served as the punter and utility end on both offense and defense.

Horace is credited for aligning himself further back from the line of scrimmage (15 yards) when punting in order to have more time to get off his 3-step kick.  This he started doing in high school and the 15 yards is replicated today at the college and professional level.  His longest punt with the Browns went 80 yards, which is a team record that stands today.  In 2007 he was named a “Browns Legend.”  And in 2009 he was inducted into the Stark County Football Hall of Fame.

Jim Letcavits (1951-53)

Letcavits played end under Head Coach Chuck Mather and was the beneficiary of three state and two national titles.  His first exposure to varsity ball came during his junior year when he recorded one rushing touchdown.  But, as a senior, he played well enough to be named 1st Team All-Ohio.  Unfortunately, few individual statistics are available from that time period, although it’s noted that he did score four receiving touchdowns, including a 44-yarder against Canton McKinley in a 48-7 victory.  The following summer he participated in the Ohio North-South All-Star Football Game and was named the Most Valuable Player.

Jim Letcavits and Chris Spielman

Following high school, he received a scholarship to play for the University of Kansas (1958-62), again under Coach Chuck Mather.  As a tight end, during his junior year he caught 14 passes for 246 yards and during his senior year caught 10 passes for 176 yards and two TDs.  In both seasons he was named All Big-8.

Then it was off to professional football, for a 6-year stint in the Canadian Football League, as tight end and punter.  The first stop was Edmonton, where he caught 142 passes for 2,429 yards and scored 13 touchdowns in five seasons.  Then, he wrapped up his career in Montreal.

After returning home, he coached at Jackson for five years, before being lured away by Massillon’s Bob Commings.  There he enjoyed a 27-year career as an assistant coach.  During that span, he was part of the 1970 state championship team and had two trips to the Division 1 state championship game.  His teams also won seven All-American Conference championships (1980 and 1982).  He retired from coaching in 1995.

Later, Letcavits was inducted into the Stark County High School Football Hall of Fame and in 1998 the Massillon Wall of Champions.  He was also President of Stark County Football Presidents Association for two years.

Bob Vogel (1957-58)

The Marine Corps has a motto: If you are going to do something, do it the best you can.  No one epitomized that motto better than Bob Vogel, who played for the Tigers in 1958 and went on to star for Ohio State and the Baltimore Colts.

Vogel was large at the time for a high school player (6’-5”, 225 lbs.) and up to this point he used that size to dominate his foes.  But size alone wasn’t going to be enough to challenge the opposing players he would face in Massillon.  But Head Coach Leo Strang and a bevy of assistants quickly went to work teaching him the proper fundamental techniques.  Bob simply took off from there.

As an end he was a dominant blocker, while catching six touchdown passes (5 of the 9 tossed by quarterback Joe Sparma), including a long of 37 yards against Akron Garfield.  He also played defense and kicked off.  Helping his team to an 8-1-1 record and 4th place finish in the A.P. Poll, he was awarded 1st Team All-Ohio honors.  The following summer he was for the All-America team that would face the Pennsylvania All-Stars in the Big 33 game.

In college he played offensive tackle at Ohio State under Head Coach Woody Hayes.  During his three years as a varsity player (1960-62), OSU compiled a record of 21-5-1, including an 8-0-1 mark in 1961 during the National Championship year.   In Vogel’s senior year he was named a team captain and post-season a 1st team All-American by the American College Football Association.

His final football stop was the Baltimore Colts, who selected him No. 5 in the NFL draft, the highest position ever for a Stark County player.  His career in Baltimore spanned ten years (1963 through 1972) and he started every game except one.  He was also part of the Colts’ 1970 Super Bowl victory. In 1969 he was named 1st Team All-Pro and he participated in five Pro Bowl games (1964, 1965, 1967, 1968 and 1971).

In 1964, he was inducted in the Massillon Wall of Champions.

Curt Strawder (1976-78)

Strawder was perhaps the first Massillon player to be inducted into the Hall of Fame on the basis of being a true wide receiver and having a significant number of pass receptions.  He was a natural, while playing under Head Coach Mike Currence with his “run-n-shoot” offense.  As such, Strawder became the go-to possession receiver.  When a third down pass was necessary, it was Strawder that often ran a 10-yard dig, setting up a pass completion for quarterback Brent Offenbecher.  But he was also equally effective in other pass patterns.

Strawder was “the fleet wide receiver with gazelle-like grace and more moves than a belly dancer.” – Rollie Dreussi, Independent Sports Editor.

Curt became a starter during his junior year and caught 26 passes for 518 yards, scoring five touchdowns.  The team finished with a record of 8-2.  Strawder’s most heroic effort came against Gahanna Lincoln, when he dove to catch a 4th down and 41-yard pass with 1:11 left in the game to advance the ball to the Lincoln 29.  That set up the winning touchdown in a 28-22 victory.  In that game, he caught six passes for 169 yards, and also scored a touchdown on a 62-yard reception in the first quarter.

During his senior year, he continued on with 42 receptions for 53 yards and four touchdowns, helping his team to a 9-0-1 record.  He was also named team captain.  In the game against Canton McKinley, the Tigers were behind 10-0 with half of the fourth quarter remaining.  But then the offense finally began to click, with Strawder catching multiple passes from Offenbecher, including a pair of touchdown receptions for a 13-10 victory.

His best performances were as follows:

  • East Liverpool – 6 receptions for 71 yards and 1 touchdown.
  • Cleveland Benedictine – 5 receptions for 79 yards.
  • Massillon Jackson – 8 receptions for 133 yards and 1 touchdown.
  • Canton McKinley – 8 receptions for 91 and 2 touchdowns.

Devin Jordan (2000-02)

Devin Jordan may have been the best wide receiver the Tigers have ever had.  He holds Massillon single-season records for both Massillon and Stark County, including most receptions (98), most yards (1,492), average receptions per game (7.0) and touchdowns (18).  And, for his career, he holds first or second place in each of these four categories.  He parlayed that success into a roster spot for the Ohio State Buckeyes.

Jordan saw limited action as a sophomore and caught nine passes for 188 yards, scoring one touchdown, under Head Coach Rick Shepas.

In his junior year he became a starter and was magnificent on the field, catching passes from future Buckeye quarterback Justin Zwick.  During the season, he caught 98 passes for 1,492 yards (15.2/rec.) and scored 18 touchdowns in helping his team to a 12-2 record and a spot in the state semifinal game.  His 110 points scored was a team high.  His best performances were as follows:

  • Akron Garfield – 9 receptions for 156 yards and 2 touchdowns.
  • Mount Lebanon, PA – 3 touchdowns.
  • Austintown Fitch – 9 receptions for 149 yards and 4 touchdowns (2nd all-time).
  • Mansfield – 11 receptions (4th all-time) for 106 yards.
  • Dayton Chaminade – 9 receptions for 206 yards (4th all-time) and 2 touchdowns.
  • Canton McKinley – 10 receptions for 154 yards and 1 touchdown.
  • Cleveland St. Ignatius – 11 receptions (4th all-time) for 109 yards.

As a senior, the Tigers finished 11-3 and again advanced in the playoffs to the state semifinal level.  Jordan recorded 45 receptions for 893 yards and 12 touchdowns, while scoring 72 points, second on the team.  His numbers weren’t as impressive as the previous year, since opponents were now aware of his impact and double-teamed him throughout the games.  So, the Tigers, under quarterback Matt Martin, resorted to a more balanced passing attack.  But somehow, during the playoffs, he was left free to roam and had these performances:

  • North Canton – 6 receptions for 95 yards and 1 touchdown.
  • Perry – 7 receptions for 170 yards and 2 touchdowns.
  • Pickerington – 7 receptions for 108 yards and 2 touchdowns.

For his career, he finished with 152 receptions for 2,503 yards and 31 touchdowns.

Jordan was on the Ohio State team from 2003-05.  But a leg injury during his first year severely hampered his ability to play.  So, in his senior year, he became a student assistant coach.  That led to many paid coaching opportunities after college.  Stops included Wittenberg, Otterbein, Walsh, Malone, Youngstown State and Akron, before he returned to Ohio state as an offensive assistant, a position he has held for the last two years.

Part 5 – Running Backs in the Massillon Tiger…

Part 5 – Running Backs in the Massillon Tiger Football Hall of Fame – The Later Years

The Tiger Football Hall of Fame recognizes those individuals that have made outstanding contributions to the Tiger football program, whether it be a player, coach, band director or just an individual who has been influential in a positive way.  Inductees are honored in the WHS Sports Hall with plaques that display the inductees’ contributions.  As of 2022, a total of 105 members have been inducted.  Five more will be inducted this year.

Complete List of Massillon Tiger Football Hall of Fame Inductees

This entry is Part 5 of a series that presents past inductees by playing position.  This edition features running backs that competed from the 1970s to the present.  Seven running backs have gained distinction during this period, including Mike Mauger, Willie Spencer Sr., Tom Hannon, Jerome Myricks, Travis McGuire, Falando Ashcraft and Brian Gamble.  There are a few other running backs in the Hall that are not presented in this story, as these players were inducted either through another playing position or as a coach.

Mike Mauger (1968-70)

Mike Mauger joined the varsity team in 1969 as a starter at the defensive end position, playing under Head Coach Bob Commings.  But he also saw some time as a substitute running back for the 7-2-1 Tigers, rushing 27 times for 209 yards and scoring 35 points.  But what jumped off the page was his average of 7.7 yards per carry.  He was also extremely adept at seeing the field and following his blockers.

It was a natural then that he move into the starting tailback spot during his senior year, playing at 5’-11”, 196 lbs.  And what year it was.  Massillon finished 10-0 and was voted the state champion, the Tigers’ last state title.  Mauger spearheaded the offense, carrying the ball 159 times for 1,200 yards at an average of 7.5 yards per attempt.  He also scored 23 touchdowns (5th all-time) and 152 points (4th all-time).  For his play he was named 1st Team All-Ohio and Class AAA Back of the Year.

Mauger’s most memorable games were as follows:

  • Trotwood Madison – 3 touchdowns, including an 80-yard punt return.
  • Cleveland Benedictine (9-1) – 4 touchdowns, including a 70-yard punt return; 11 carries for 220 yards, at an average of 20.0 yards per carry (1st all-time); 32-7 victory.
  • Alliance – 4 touchdowns; 22 carries for 138 yards.
  • Niles (7-2-1) – A pivotal game vs. the unbeaten Red Dragons; played injured; rushed 14 times for 138 yards; 22-3 victory.
  • Akron St. Vincent – 4 touchdowns.
  • Canton McKinley (8-1-1) – The Bulldogs were No. 3 in the state and unbeaten with a tie vs. Niles; scored 2 touchdowns of 4 and 3 yards; 27 carries for 137 yards; 28-0 victory.

Mike also punted 17 times for a 37.3 average.  And he returned ten punts, averaging 28.4 yards per return.  His two punt returns for touchdown ranks 3rd all-time.

Following high school, Mauger first played for Wisconsin and then finished his eligibility at Kent State University.  Post-college he had a tryout with the Dallas Cowboys.

Willie Spencer, Sr. (1969-71)

Willie Spencer was next in line as one of the great Massillon running backs.  Ironically, he only played the position one year.  But he was good enough to jump right from high school into the professional ranks.  He was an imposing figure at that time for a high school running back, playing at 6’-2”, 215 lbs., and with his size and strength could simply run over defenders.

During his 1970 junior year he lined up at tight end for the 10-0 state champions.  There, he was used primarily as a blocker, but he did catch five passes for 75 yards, including a 9-yard touchdown reception against Alliance.  He also had a 42-yard pass interception return against Canton McKinley, which advanced the ball to four and set up Massillon’s final touchdown in a 28-0 victory.

In his senior year Spencer became the starting tailback.  He finished the year with 19 rushing touchdowns and 116 points, helping his team to an 8-2 record.  Those two losses were by one point each, to Niles and eventual state champion Warren Harding.  Following the season, he was named 2nd Team All-Ohio.

Spencer scored at least two touchdowns in eight different games, with a high of four against Cincinnati Taft.  In the Steubenville game he rushed 20 times for 193 yards.  And against the Bulldogs, he rushed 33 times for 145 yards and scored twice, on runs of nine yards each, in a 29-6 victory.  The Barberton game was a match against two unbeaten teams and the Tigers came out firing, winning 46-0.  Spencer led the attack with 124 yards on 12 carries and scored two touchdowns.  A third was nullified on a controversial fumble call at the goal line.

Willie also played on the basketball team.

Following high school he jumped immediately into professional football.  Starting out he saw limited time with the Ottawa Rough Riders of the CFL, Indianapolis of the Midwest Football League and the Hartford Knights.  But then he was picked up by the WFL startup Memphis Southmen.  During his 2-year career with them he rushed for 1,369 yards, eclipsing the efforts of ex-NFL backs Larry Csonka and Jim Klick.  He even scored five touchdowns in a single game.  After the league folded, he spent a year with the Minnesota Vikings and two with the New York Giants (coached former Massillon player John McVay).

Tom Hannon (1970-72)

Tommy Hannon began his varsity career as a sophomore in 1971, focusing initially on special teams and defense, while backing up Willie Spencer Sr. at tailback.  In his junior year he averaged 23.4 yards per kickoff return and rushed 30 times for 190 yards (6.3/att.).  He also intercepted five passes from his defensive back position, while helping his team to an 8-2 record.  Although not a large player (6’-0”, 186 lbs.), speed was the game for Hannon and he made full use of his talent.

In his senior year, now as team captain, Coach Bob Commings placed him into the starting running back role and he was an immediate success.  For the season, he rushed 253 times (4th all-time) for 1,395 yards (8th time), for an average of 5.5 yards per attempt.  He also led the team in scoring with 102 points, including 14 touchdowns.  For his performance he earned 1st Team All-Ohio honors.

The team finished the regular season 10-0 and qualified for Ohio’s first-ever state playoffs, having won their respective region.  Unfortunately, they dropped a 17-14 decision to Cincinnati Princeton.  Eight times Hannon rushed over 100 yards, with a monster effort coming against Upper Arlington in a 14-0 victory.  After UA captured consecutive state championships (1967-69) and the Tigers taking the crown in 1970, it was time to claim bragging rights once and for all with a game in Columbus.  In front of an over-capacity crowd of 11,500 avid fans, Hannon rushed 24 times for 212 yards (8.8 yards/att.).  Later, against Canton McKinley, Tommy rushed 22 times for 159 yards in a 12-3 win.  Ironically, he didn’t score in either contest.

He also participated in basketball and track.

After high school, Hannon accepted a scholarship to play for Michigan State (1973-76), where he lined up at safety for four years.  Twice he was named All-American and twice All-Big Ten.  That culminated in a 9-year career with the Minnesota Vikings, where he started in 103 games and recorded fifteen pass interceptions.

In 1994, Hannon was inducted into the Massillon Wall of Champions.

Jerome Myricks (1985-87)

Jerome Myricks’ talent was recognized immediately and he suited up for the varsity as a sophomore.  There, he returned kickoffs and received limited time at running back.  In his junior year he became a regular player on both sides of the ball.  As a running back, he rushed 53 times for 390 yards (7.1/att.) and scored 54 points.  He was also a favored receiver, catching 13 for 262 yards (20.0/rec.) and scoring two touchdowns.  Along with 17 tackle points, he continued his roles on special teams by returning six kickoffs (24.7/att.) and eight punts (9.0/att.).

But the best was yet to come, when he was named 1st team All-Ohio during his senior year.  For the season, the 5’-11, 181 lb. Myricks was the featured rusher, carrying the ball 175 times for 1,170 yards at 6.5 yards per attempt.  He also caught 12 passes for 255 yards (21.3/rec.).  Fifteen touchdowns came on the ground, three in the air and one via a fumble return.  On defense he recorded 91 tackle points and still found some time to return a few kickoffs and punts.

His most memorable games were as follows:

  • Altoona, PA – 2 touchdown receptions of 50 and 60 yards.
  • Canton GlenOak – Rushed 21 times for 161 yards and 2 touchdowns.
  • Barberton – Rushed 10 times for 190 yards; scored on runs of 34, 43 and 54 yards.
  • Austintown Fitch – Rushed 25 times for 119 yards and scored 3 touchdowns.
  • Akron St. Vincent – Scored 3 touchdowns: 2 rushing and 1 receiving.
  • Canton McKinley – Rushed 20 times for 145 yards; scored twice, including one of 50 yards in an 18-15 loss.

Travis McGuire (1990-91)

Long-time Tiger fans will remember Travis McGuire as the running back that in 1991 gained 302 yards (2nd all-time) and scored five touchdowns (5th all-time) against Canton McKinley in a 42-13 blowout victory.  But he was more than that.  A man among boys, he was the main focus every week.  And he was good enough to earn 1st Team All-Ohio and Division 1 Back of the Year honors during his senior season.  Good enough to set rushing marks that weren’t broken for fifty years.  And good enough to receive a full scholarship to play for Ohio State.

McGuire entered varsity play during his junior year and had a respectable season, playing under Head Coach Lee Owens.  He rushed 96 times for 535 yards at 5.3 yard per carry and scored five touchdowns.  He also caught twelve passes.

But his senior year was simply memorable.  Now as team captain, he paired up with running mate Falando Ashcraft to propel the Tigers to the state semifinal playoff game against eventual state champion Cleveland St. Ignatius, losing the match by just a single point.  For the season he carried the ball 251 times (5th all-time) for 1,976 yards (2nd all-time) and scored 26 touchdowns (3rd all-time).  He also averaged a current Massillon-best 152 yards per game.  In addition, he caught 19 passes for 170 yards (8.9/rec.) and two touchdowns.

The following are his highlight games for that year:

  • Akron Garfield – Rushed 11 times for 132 yards (12.0/att.) and scored 2 touchdowns.
  • Toledo St. Francis – Rushed 23 times for 187 yards and scored one touchdown.
  • Youngstown East – Rushed 9 times for 157 yards and scored 3 touchdowns. The 17.4 yards per carry is 2nd all-time.
  • Canton McKinley – Rushed 36 times for 302 yards (8.4/att.) and scored 5 touchdowns.
  • Akron Ellet – Rushed 19 times for 198 yards (10.4/att.) and scored twice.
  • Toledo St. John’s (8-3) – Rushed 29 times for 229 yards (7.9/att.) and scored 3 touchdowns.
  • Cleveland St. Ignatius (12-2) – Rushed 24 times for 118 yards.

For his career, McGuire rushed 346 times for 2,511 yards (5th all-time) and scored 30 touchdowns, averaging 7.3 yards per carry.

Following high school, he accepted a scholarship to play for Ohio State.  But injuries there curtailed his career.  Currently, Travis is the running backs coach for the Massillon Tigers.

Falando Ashcraft (1989-91)

Falando Ashcraft teamed with Travis McGuire to create one of  the more potent dual running back combinations that Massillon has ever had.  While McGuire surely dominated during the 1991 season, it was Ashcraft who carried the load the previous year.  Not that Falando himself didn’t have an equally good, if not better, senior year.

As a sophomore, Ashcraft saw limited time at running back and also return kickoffs.  He rushed 51 times for 259 yards (5.0/att.) and scored three touchdowns.  During his junior year he moved into the starting running back position, where he rushed 202 times for 1,182 yards (5.9/att.) and scored 14 rushing touchdowns, totaling a team-high 86 points.  His feature games were as follows:

  • Covington Catholic, KY – 28 carries for 190 yards and one touchdown in the Buddy LaRosa Classic held in Cincinnati.  Named Most Valuable Player.
  • Nordonia – Scored 3 touchdowns in only 4 carries.
  • Youngstown East – 11 carries for 142 yards and 3 touchdowns.

Ashcraft’s senior year was his best, when he rushed 208 times for 1,353 yards (6.4/att.) and scored 21 rushing touchdowns and one TD receiving, totaling 140 points.  In eight of the 13 games he eclipsed the 100-yard rushing mark.  The team that year qualified for the playoffs and advanced to the state semifinal game where they lost in the last minute to Cleveland St. Ignatius, 14-13.  His best games were:

  • Austintown Fitch – 25 carries for 214 yards and 2 touchdowns.
  • Toledo St. Francis – 27 carries for 160 yards and 2 touchdowns.
  • Youngstown East – 15 carries for 128 yards and 4 touchdowns; also caught a touchdown pass.
  • Toledo St. John’s – 18 carries for 165 yards and 3 touchdowns.

Following the season Ashcraft was awarded Honorable Mention All-Ohio.  But he should have been higher, while presumably playing in the shadow of Travis McGuire.

For his career, Falando is all-time 4th place in the record book in three different categories: attempts (461), yards (2,794) and touchdowns rushing (22).  He is also 5th in career touchdowns (38).

Brian Gamble (2005-06)

Brian Gamble was one of the few players that could literally take over a game.  And he was a game-changer, as evidenced by his heroics at the end of the 2005 Division 1 state finals contest against Lakewood St. Edward.  In that one, in the last five minutes of the game, he scored two touchdowns and converted a 3rd down and 30 to pull out a 21-17 victory.

As a junior, Gamble helped his team to a 13-2 record and a spot in the state finals.  He was also a team captain.  For the season, he rushed 248 times (6th all-time) for 1,512 yards (5th all-time) and scored 17 touchdowns.  He was also a prolific receiver, catching 32 passes for 631 yards and four touchdowns.  But Brian also lined up on the other side of the ball as a defensive back.  During the season he recorded 75 tackle points (2nd on the team), including eight tackles-for-loss and intercepted three passes.  After the season he was named 1st Team All-Ohio.

He most memorable games were as follows:

  • Dover – Carried the ball 14 times for 164 yards (11.7/att.).
  • Cincinnati Elder – 15 carries for 173 yards and 2 touchdowns, including one from 50 yards out in a 35-31 victory.
  • Cleveland St. Ignatius – Carried the ball 31 times for 133 yards and one touchdown; caught 4 passes for 67 yards and one touchdown; won 29-26.
  • North Canton – 14 attempts for 146 yards (10.4/att.) and a touchdown run of 80 yards; 3 pass receptions for 70 yards and a touchdown reception of 54 yards.
  • Lakewood St. Edward (12-1) – Scored the last two touchdowns of the game to erase a 17-7 deficit and win 21-17; touchdown reception of 18 yards and touchdown reception of 5 yards (with 1:56 remaining in the game).

As a senior, the Tigers were not nearly as talented, but they still managed to make the playoffs, with Gamble again having a productive year.  He rushed 215 times for 975 yards and scored nine touchdowns.  On defense he recorded 38 tackle points and had three pass interceptions.  His biggest game came against Hamilton Chandler, when he rushed 35 times for 167 yards and one TD and caught four passes for 44 yards and two scores.  Chandler went on to finish 9-1 and capture the Arizona state championship.

For his career, Gamble rushed 463 times (3rd all-time) for 2,487 yards (7th all-time) and scored 36 touchdowns (7th all-time).

Following high school, he played a year for the University of Illinois at wide receiver.  The Illini finished second in the Big 10 that year behind Ohio State, but did knock off the Buckeyes 28-21, with Gamble catching a touchdown pass that gave his team the lead for good.   Later, he transferred to Ashland University where he finished his career as a defensive back under former Tiger Mentor Lee Owens.

Part 4 – Running Backs in the Massillon Tiger…

Part 4 – Running Backs in the Massillon Tiger Football Hall of Fame – The Middle Years

The Football Hall of Fame recognizes those individuals that have made contributions to the Tiger football program, whether it be a player, coach, band director or just an individual who has been influential in a positive way.  Inductees are honored in the WHS Sports Hall with plaques that display the inductees’ contributions.  As of 2022, a total of 105 members have been inducted.

Complete List of Massillon Tiger Football Hall of Fame Inductees

This entry is Part 4 of a series that presents the inductees by playing position and features running backs that competed in the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s.

Six running backs have gained Hall of Fame distinction during this period, including Irvine Crable, Homer Floyd, Charlie Brown, Mike Hershberger, Ivory Benjamin and Art Hastings.  There are a few other running backs in the Hall that are not presented in this story, as these players were inducted either through another playing position or as a coach.

Irvine “Ace” Crable (1947-49)

Irvine Crable saw the varsity field for the first time in 1948 as a junior backup running back.  But it didn’t take long for Head Coach Chuck Mather to see his potential and increase his playing time.  By season’s end he was the leading scorer on the team with 78 points, including twelve rushing touchdowns and one TD receiving.  Four times he scored twice in a game.  But the big one was against Canton McKinley, when he rushed 17 times for 102 yards (6.0) and scored all three of Massillon’s touchdowns in a 21-12 victory.  He also had a pass interception.  It’s always special when the Tigers beat the Bulldogs, but in that year McKinley came into the game unbeaten and had bested Alliance, the team that defeated Massillon earlier in the season.  The win was enough to springboard the orange and black to the state title.

The following year Crable was “the man.”  Leading his team to a 9-1 record and a state championship, he again led the team in scoring, this time with 114 points, including 18 rushing touchdowns and a 60-yard pass interception return against Toledo Waite.  He also passed for a TD.  Three times he scored three touchdowns in a single game, against Canton Lincoln (60-0), Alliance (48-14) and Waite (59-19).  For the season, he carried the ball 100 times for 1,129 yards, setting a record for single season average yards per rush at 11.3, a benchmark that stands today.

The signature win that year came against McKinley in a 6-0 victory, during which he scored the only touchdown of the game, from 35 yards out.  He also tackled a Bulldog ball carrier at the Massillon four yard line, causing a fumble and turnover, to preserve the win.  For game, Crable rushed 16 times for 136 yards and averaged 8.5 yards per carry.  “I couldn’t have done it without the help of the other 10 guys,” Crable remarked following the game. – Massillon Independent

“The play was 33 cross.  Don James handed the ball to me, and all I could see was daylight—and I fumbled.  Later, in the fourth quarter, the coach sent in the play.  I said, ‘Don, no.  Let’s run 33 cross.’  And he changed the play.  The way the hole opened the first time—it happened the same way the second time.  And that was that.  The line blocking was beautiful—nobody had a chance.  Nobody laid a hand on me.  My instincts told me it was going to be there again.  I waited and waited.  Then I thought, now’s the time.  It was right there again.  I ran right into the end zone.” – Crable (Massillon Memories, Scott Shook)

The Tigers’ only loss that year was 16-12 to Mansfield.  But Tygers lost to unranked Akron South, dropping them to second in the state, thereby pushing Massillon to the top.  Third went to 9-1 Canton McKinley.

At the end of the season Crable was named 1st Team All-Ohio.

Homer Floyd (1952-54)

Homer Floyd was the recipient of two state championships while playing at running back and defensive back.  The first was under Head Coach Chuck Mather and the second while playing for Tom Harp.

Homer Floyd – 1954

Speed kills in high school and Floyd had plenty of it, perhaps scoring more long-distance touchdowns than any other back in Massillon history.  “Homer Floyd looked like a thoroughbred.  He just bounced when he walked—it was like twinkletoes or something.  Nice looking, streamlined kid.  Didn’t weigh much, 155 pounds.  Could run like the wind, cut on a dime.” – Massillon Coach Tom Harp (Massillon Memories, Scott Shook)

In his junior year Floyd shared time at fullback, but still managed to rush 112 times for 998 yards (8.9 ave.).  His season included 13 rushing touchdowns and a 90-yard punt return for a TD against Canton Lincoln.  Three touchdowns each came against Mansfield (runs of 20, 62 and 54 yards) and Toledo Waite (runs of 67, 30 and 40 yards), while his final TD as a Tiger was an 80-yarder against Canton McKinley in a 48-7 victory.  It all culminated in a 10-0 season and a national championship.

Floyd, now as team captain, continued to pile it on during his senior year, rushing 155 times for 1,372 yards (8.9 ave.).  For the season, he scored 16 rushing touchdowns, caught two passes for scores, returned a punt for 64 yards and a TD and returned a pass interception 100 yards for another TD, setting an unsurpassable record in this category.  He scored three times against three different teams, with five of the scores spanning at least 30 yards.

Two touchdowns came against McKinley in a 26-6 victory.  His rushing numbers for that game were 28 carries for 263 yards (9.4 ave.), the yardage being the third highest all-time vs. the Bulldogs.  “They played like a team that wanted to be state champion,” Canton Coach Wade Watts, deeply disappointed, said after the game. “Homer Floyd was the difference,” he stated as he complimented the Tiger halfback for his great exhibition. – The Independent

After the season Floyd was named 1st Team All-Ohio and Stark County Player of the Year.  Later he was inducted into the Stark County High School Football Hall of Fame.  In 2012 he was inducted into the Massillon Wall of Champions.

His next stop was the University of Kansas, where he lettered for three years.  Then came a year in Canada with the Edmonton Eskomos (now the Elks).

Mike Hershberger (1954-56)

Mike Hershberger is best known for playing professional baseball.  But he was also a stalwart for Massillon on the football field.

After sitting out for his junior year due to an injury, he joined the varsity the following season, playing at 5’-9”, 155 lbs. and being selected as a co-captain.  His primary position was right halfback, where he became the second leading scorer with 54 points, behind Ivory Benjamin, who had 90.  That included seven rushing touchdowns, six PATs and a 79-yard kickoff return for a score against Canton Lincoln.  Two of his rushing touchdowns came against Cincinnati Elder in a 27-12 victory, while he ripped off an 83-yarder against Mansfield.  He was also a punter and part-time kicker.

The team finished 8-2 that year, under the mentorship of new Massillon head coach Lee Tressel, with losses to Mansfield and undefeated Canton McKinley.  Against the Bulldogs, Hershberger rushed 13 times for 68 yards, in spite of playing with a bad knee.

Following the season Hershberger was named 1st Team All-Ohio.  Then it was time for baseball, where suited up at both pitcher and outfielder, playing for Head Coach Carl “Ducky” Schroeder.  During his sophomore season the team reached the state finals, losing to Cincinnati Elder, 3-0.

After high school he played a year of football for the University of Cincinnati and then signed with the Chicago White Sox to further his career in baseball.  Later, he played for Kansas City, Oakland and Milwaukee.

In 1994 he was inducted into the Massillon Wall of Champions.

Ivory Benjamin (1955-57)

Ivory Benjamin made his mark with Massillon varsity football for three years and was awarded at the end of it by being named 1st Team All-Ohio.

Benjamin was limited to a single carry and a couple of punt returns as a sophomore, but at least he got his feet wet, while the team went 8-1-1 and finished second in the state.  But the following year he became a full-time starter at running back and led the Tigers in both scoring (72 points) and rushing.  Included in that was 12 rushing touchdowns (3 vs. Barberton), one receiving TD and two long punt returns for scores (50 yards vs. Cleveland Benedictine and 65 yards vs. Warren Harding.)  The Team finished 8-2 and again finished second in the state.

In his senior year as team captain, playing under Head Coach Lee Tressel, Benjamin continued his success, this time with 16 rushing touchdowns and one receiving TD, for 102 points.  Against Akron North he rushed 15 times for 153 yards (10.3 ave.) and scored three touchdowns.  Then, against Akron Garfield he scored three times, including a 58-yard pass reception.  He also scored twice in each of four other games.  At the end of the year he was deservedly honored 1st Team All-Ohio.

Art Hastings (1958-60)

Art Hastings was one more in a long line of great running backs that came through Massillon in the 1950s and 60s and helped the Tigers to several state and national championships, under Head Coach Leo Strang.

Hastings saw limited varsity action during his sophomore year, although he did score a touchdown in Week 8 in a win over Barberton.  But in his junior season he took over for the graduating senior Dave Dean and became the primary ball carrier on a 10-0 team that captured both the state and national championships.  For the season he carried the ball 117 times for 1,245 yards (10.6) average and scored 12 rushing touchdowns.  He also returned punts and kickoffs.  At the end of the season Hastings was named 3rd Team All-Ohio (should have been 1st Team with those numbers; such is the life of an underclassman).  Record-wise, he holds third place for the best single season rushing yards per attempt and third best for career consecutive 100+ yard games with seven.

In his senior year Hastings did much of the same, rushing 159 times for 1,274 yards (8.0 ave.) and scoring 20 rushing touchdowns.  Five times he had multiple TDs in a single game:

  • Cleveland Benedictine (8-1-1); 3 TDs; 8-117-22.1; won 36-6
  • Mansfield (4-4-2); 2 TDs; 21-127-6.0; won 56-14
  • Toledo Waite (1-8); 3 TDs; 19-150-7.9; won 56-14
  • Springfield South (6-3); 4 TDs; 15-189-12.6; won 62-32
  • Canton McKinley (5-5); 4 TDs on runs of 5, 15, 29 and 51 yards; 14-213-15.2; won 42-0

The team finished 10-1 and was named state champions.  The Tigers also finished 7th in the nation. Following the season, he was deservedly named 1st Team All-Ohio.

“He was like trying to catch a dog in the middle of an open field.  Art Hastings looked like his hips went out of joint.  I had great runners, but I don’t know that I ever had any better than Art Hastings.  Hastings was just outstanding.” – Massillon Coach Leo Strang (Massillon Memories, Scott Shook)

Charlie Brown (1960-61)

Charlie Brown went all the way, from Massillon to Syracuse to the pros.  After not playing during his sophomore year due to injury, he had limited playing time as a junior. Helping his team to a 10-1 record and a state championship.

But he was ready to go as a senior and eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark as running back, leading his team to a UPI state championship and a national championship with an 11-0 record.  He rushed 175 times for 1,094 yards (6.3 ave.) and scored eleven rushing touchdowns.  Three came against Warren Harding in a 36-0 victory and two each came against Steubenville (7-3) and Toledo Libbey.

After the season the team captain was named All-Stark County, 2nd Team All-Ohio and high school All-American for his defensive play.  In 1994 he was inducted into the Massillon Wall of Champions.

Syracuse was his college of choice, and he parlayed that experience to the rosters of the Chicago Bears and the Buffalo Bills.



Part 3 – Running Backs in the Massillon Tiger…

Part 3 – Running Backs in the Massillon Tiger Football Hall of Fame – The Early Years

The Tiger Football Hall of Fame recognizes those individuals that have made contributions to the Tiger football program, whether it be a player, coach, band director or just an individual who has been influential in a positive way.  Inductees are honored in the WHS Sports Hall with plaques that display the inductees’ contributions.  As of 2022, a total of 105 members have been inducted.

Complete List of Massillon Tiger Football Hall of Fame Inductees

This entry is Part 3 of a series that presents the inductees by playing position and features running backs that competed in the 1940s and before.

Seven Massillon running backs have gained Hall of Fame distinction during this period, including Stanfield Wells, Edwin “Dutch” Hill, Henry “Heine” Krier, Ed Molinski, Bob Glass, Tommy James and Fred “Pokey” Blunt.  There are a few other running backs in the Hall that not listed, as these players were inducted either through another playing position or as a coach.

Stanfield Wells (1906-08)

Not a lot is known about Stanfield Wells’ time at Massillon, other than he played one year for the Tigers, at left halfback and teamed with his twin brother, Guy, who was on the line.  That, after the family had moved in from far away South Dakota.  The team was not stellar, finishing 1-5.  But after Massillon he played collegiately for the University of Michigan (1909-11) and then professionally for the Akron Indians, the Cleveland Indians and the Detroit Heralds.

“Stanfield Wells was Massillon’s first All-American.  He was a fine man, big fellow, played a little pro ball.  I went up to Michigan to meet him.  He was overjoyed.  He got to talking and asking about some of the Massillon people he graduated with.  He went back in his bedroom and came out with his Massillonian in his hand.  He asked me about quite a number of ones who were in there.” – Luther Emery, The Independent (Ref. Massillon Memories, by Scott Shook).

In 1994 he was inducted into the Massillon Wall of Champions.

Edwin “Dutch” Hill (1922)

Dutch Hill

Dutch Hill moved to Massillon for his senior year after aging out at Burgettstown, Pennsylvania.  And he made an immediate impact for the Tigers, as a 6’-0”, 190 lb. fullback, passer and punter, scoring at least one touchdown in every game.  For the season he tallied 33 TDs and helped lead his team to a 10-0 record and a state championship under legendary head coach Dave Stewart.

Eight touchdowns came against Akron North in a 94-0 victory, leading one sports reporter to write, “The big fullback gained from five to ten yards with six or eight Akron players hanging onto him, trying desperately to down him. Other times he bowled the entire Akron team over like a ball knocks over pins on a bowling alley and then would dash away for a touchdown leaving a trail of fallen Akron warriors in his wake.”  Dutch also scored three of the four touchdowns in a 24-0 victory over Canton McKinley.

“He was a big star,” said Bud Houghton, former Massillon player and head coach.  “He was just a big burly guy.  Kind of had a swaggering walk.  He normally plowed over everybody.”

“He was a powerhouse,” said classmate Tom McConnaughy.  “He would take the ball and plow through the other team, knocking them right and left.”

Following the season he was named All-State.  His high school football career over, Hill left behind the following Tiger records:

  • Most touchdowns rushing in a game (8)
  • Most points scored in a game (48)
  • Most touchdowns scored in a game (8)
  • Most touchdowns scored rushing in a season (33)
  • Most touchdowns scored in a season (34)
  • Second most points scored in a season (204)

Later he was named as Massillon’s All-Time First Team Fullback and in 2006 was inducted into the Massillon Wall of Champions.

Henry “Heine” Krier (1932-34)

Henry Krier played running back during Coach Paul Brown’s first three seasons at Massillon.  In 1933 the team finished 8-2, with Krier contributing 12 touchdowns, 11 rushing and one via an interception return.  He also kicked 17 points after touchdown.

In his senior year the 174 lb. back scored 21 rushing touchdowns and accounted for 22 PATs, totaling 148 points to lead the team in that category.  Seven TDs came against Youngstown South and three each were tallied against Alliance and Akron West.  Although the team finished 9-1, it was the third straight loss to McKinley and Krier was never able to enjoy a win in that rivalry.

Nevertheless, he was named 1st Team All-Ohio and left his mark in the record book:

  • Second most rushing touchdowns in a single game (7)
  • Second most points scored in a single game (45)

Ed Molinski (1933-35)

Ed Molinski served several positions for Coach Paul Brown, who was in his earlier years at Massillon.  During his 3-year career as a Tiger, Molinski’s team compiled a 27-3 record and were named both state and national champions during his senior year.

Molinski stood 5’-10” and weighed 182 lbs. and he spent his first two years at guard and linebacker. In his senior year he was moved to quarterback, which at that time was the lead blocker for the running backs in Coach Brown’s system.  But it might not have happened since, as he was also a pretty good boxer, his father feared injury on the gridiron.  Only, Brown saw it differently and persuaded the father to relent.  So, he continued to box in the off-season and became the Ohio state heavyweight Golden Gloves champion.

“I told Eddie, ‘If you make good at Massillon I’ll write to Elmer Layden at Notre Dame and recommend you.”  I didn’t hear a word from Eddie from then on, until the practice the Friday night before the game with Canton McKinley.  Eddied saw me standing on the sidelines and came over and said, ‘You know you told my family if I made good you’d write a letter to Notre Dame.’  I said, ‘Yes, I remember that.’  He said, ‘Well, do you think I made good?”  I said, ‘I think you did, now I’ll write that letter.’  Layden wrote back and said he’d send some alumni.  Sure enough some alumni came down and talked to him, but they didn’t come to any kind of an agreement.  Eddie looked all around and finally landed at Tennessee, where he was All-American.” – Luther Emery, The Independent (Ref. Massillon Memories, by Scott Shook).

“Massillon is where it all started,” said the now Doctor Edward Molinski.  Talking with the great Massillon sportswriter Luther Emery, Molinski went on to say, “If you guys hadn’t persuaded dad to let me play football, I probably would be walking the streets with holes in my shoes.”  (The Emery Wheel, Massillon Evening Independent, 1963)

In 1964 Molinski was inducted into the Massillon Wall of Champions.

Bob Glass (1935-37)

Bob Glass

Bob Glass was one of the best running backs to roam the gridiron for Massillon.  Standing about 5’-10” and weighing around 200 pounds, Glass was a rare combination of speed and power.  Equally adept at smashing the middle of the line, running slants or streaking around the end, Massillon foes for three years were always confronted with the difficult task of setting up a defense that would hold Glass in check.  Unquestionably, Glass was one of the best ball carriers in Ohio scholastic history.

In addition to his superb ball carrying ability, Glass performed the other duties of the triple threat back – passing and kicking.  He handled all the punting, kick-offs and extra points and did an outstanding job in each department.  His poorest specialty was as a passer, although here he was still better than average, as he did most of the throwing during the 1937 season.  On defense, he alternated at end and halfback.

During his 3-year varsity career from 1935-37 he scored 47 rushing touchdowns, helping his team compile a record of 28-1-1 and capturing three state championships and two national championships.  He was also team captain during his senior year and All-Ohio in each of his three years.

“Bob Glass, I’ll grant you, broke every rule that Paul Brown ever made.  I saw him smoke, drink beer.  But he was a just a fun-loving guy who didn’t give a shit.  He was one of those ‘Go to Hell’ guys who loved to have a helluva good time.  But he could play football.  Had that been a lesser player, Brown would have had him out of there a long time ago.” – Earl “Ick” Martin, Massillon player (Ref. Massillon Memories, by Scott Shook).

Record book:

  • Second most career rushing touchdowns (47)
  • Second most career points (343)
  • Third most career touchdowns (47)

After Massillon, Glass played for Tulane University, receiving Honorable Mention All-American.  In 2008 he was inducted into the Massillon Wall of Champions.

Tommy James (1938-40)

Tommy James never lost a game during his three years at Massillon, with his teams going 30-0 and winning the state title each year.  They also won two national titles.  All under Head Coach Paul Brown.

In his junior season, Tommy recorded ten touchdowns and had the distinction of scoring the first TD in the new Tiger Stadium.  The points came against Cleveland Cathedral Latin, which owned a 17-game winning streak, and propelled the Tigers to a 64-0 victory.  James also threw the first touchdown pass in the new arena, a 50-yard completion to Horace Gillom.  His team punctuated the season by christening newly opened Canton Fawcett stadium with a 20-6 victory over Canton McKinley.  For his effort, Tommy was named 2nd Team All-County.

In his senior season, James added to his responsibilities by throwing most of the passes.  He was both the leading rusher (13 TDs) and the leading passer (10 TDs) in a season that included three rushing touchdowns against Erie East, Pennsylvania, and three passing touchdowns against Warren Harding.  “My senior year I was the tailback (left half) in the old single wing,” he said.  “You handled the ball more, called the signals, did the passing.  The right half was Ray Getz.” – Jim Thomas, Canton Repository, February 2, 2003.

Following the season he was named 1st Team All-Ohio.  His next stop was Ohio State, followed by the Cleveland Browns.  In 1994 he was inducted into the Massillon Wall of Champions.

Fred “Pokey” Blunt (1939-41)

Pokey Blunt was able to experience three state championships and two national champions enroute to a 29-0-1 overall record.  He scored nine touchdowns during his junior year, including three against Cleveland Cathedral Latin in a 39-0 victory.

In his senior year Blunt tallied 13 times.  His best performance came against 8-3 Alliance when the team captain crossed the goal line three times, helping his team to a 46-6 romp.  After the season, Blunt was named 1st Team All-Ohio.

Paul Brown had high praise for the speedy running back.  “I often wondered whether my Ohio State team that first year, which lost one game, 14-7 to Northwestern, could have beaten our ’40 team here in Massillon.  Our ’40 team was much faster.  Ohio State would be bigger. I coached both teams.  Blunt was the most deceiving fella, tremendous jet speed.  If I compared him to the guy who was playing for me at Ohio State it would have been no contest as far as being a long shot running back was concerned.  It’s a thing that’s crossed my mind more than once.” – Paul E. Brown, Massillon and Ohio State Coach (Ref. Massillon Memories, by Scott Shook).


Is Deferring to the Second Half the Correct Strategy?

Is Deferring to the Second Half the Correct Strategy?

We’ve seen it often enough.  The co-captains of the two opponents meet at the center of the field to determine which one kicks off and which one receives the ball to start the game.  The visiting team calls the toss.  The referee flings the coin into the air and identifies the winner, which then has a choice to make.  They either elect to receive the kick or defer until the second half.  Invariably, they elect to defer.  The loser of the toss is then left with one option: receive the ball.  For, choosing to kick off would most likely result in also kicking off in the second half as well and thereby forfeiting a possession.  The winner of the toss then selects the end of the field from which it will kick and the game begins.  It’s a rare day when the winner of the toss chooses to receive the opening kickoff.  But is deferring really the optimum strategy?


In earlier days of football the winner of the coin toss had a choice of either receiving the ball or defending a particular end of the field.  But this changed in 2008 when the NFL introduced the option for a team to defer their decision until the second half.  College and high school, of course, followed suit shortly thereafter.

Both options, receiving and deferring, have inherent advantages.  A team that receives the kick to start the game has an opportunity to score first.  Once on top, that team can then stay with their planned offense, as long as the score remains in their favor.  And, historically, a team that scores first wins the game about two-thirds of the time.

Conversely, a team that defers and kicks off subsequently starts the second half by receiving the ball.  This strategy provides the potential to open the scoring gap if they are ahead or close the gap if behind.  They might also receive an extra possession if they are the last team with the ball at the end of the game.  It could also be a psychological ploy to intimidate the opponent if they have an overwhelming defense.  Finally, there is the possibility of going back-to-back with scores if they tally right at the end of the first half and then again on their first possession of the second half.


But let’s go back to the original question: is deferring to the second half the right strategy?  Granted, the first two possessions of each half comprise a small segment of the overall game.  But any advantage that can be gained in defeating the great teams is certainly worthy of consideration.  To answer this question, a detailed analysis was performed, focusing specifically on Massillon and its game data from the last six seasons.

The study encompasses 84 games, but focuses specifically on those against the better opponents, since little trending knowledge can be gained from the games that were more one-sided, where the Tigers scored almost every time they had the ball.  So, it focuses primarily on two groups of opponents:

  • 16 great teams where Massillon was either evenly matched or considered an underdog. This group includes the larger parochial schools and those public schools they faced deep in the playoffs.  The Tigers’ record against those teams was 6-10.
  • 38 good teams where Massillon was considered a favorite, but not by a large margin. This group includes mid-sized parochial schools and those public schools that qualified for the playoffs, excluding a few mismatches.  The Tigers’ record against those teams was 35-3.

Data was collected for both Massillon and its opponents, for each one’s initial possession of each half, regardless of whether they kicked off or received the ball to start the half.  So, if Massillon kicked off to start the first half then they would have the second possession of the first half.  Then in the second half, they would receive the kickoff and have the first possession.  The opponent, of course, would have the opposite situation.  The remaining game possessions following these first two are not considered relevant to the study and were not charted.

The data was then analyzed to determine whether it was advisable to either kick off or receive to open the game, while considering the combined effects of both Massillon and its opponents.  In other words, the analysis searched for the situation where Massillon was maximizing its scoring potential, while at the same time minimizing the opponent’s scoring potential.

Results – vs. Great Teams

The charts below depict the chances of scoring for Massillon and the opponent based on the data compiled over the past six years relative to the 16 great teams.  Two scenarios are displayed, the first if Massillon defers the decision and kicks off to start the game and the second if the other team defers and Massillon receives.  For each scenario, the possessions are shown in the order in which they would occur during the game.  In other words, if Massillon kicks off in the first half, then the opponent would receive the kick and have the first possession.  In the second half, the opposite would occur.

In order to consider the effect of both Massillon’s and the opponent’s results, the average chances of a team scoring in either half are calculated and then the difference is taken between the two numbers.  If the difference is positive, then Massillon has the advantage; if negative, then the advantage goes to the opponent.

Per the chart, since the overall advantage is negative when Massillon kicks off but zero when receiving, then the favorable decision would be to receive the ball to start the game.  That would set the opponent up for a difficult first possession in the second half, where historically they have failed to score.

If Massillon desired to play the odds and follow this recommendation they fortunately would be nearly in full control of this decision.  That’s because (1) they could elect to receive the ball if they won the toss, and (2) obviously receive the ball if the opponent won the toss and elected to defer, which it nearly always does.

Side note: In most cases, a team with a second possession of the half has a higher chance of scoring than with a first possession.  One could argue that field position may be better with a second possession, since the team would often be receiving a punt, rather than starting deep in its own end following a kickoff.  But the difference in starting field position within these 16 games turned out to not be significant enough (around five yards) to influence the results.  But the key factor might just be, at least for the second half, that the players need some time to return to game mode following a grueling half of football followed by decompression in the locker room.  Perhaps teams need to alter their routine after returning to the field, such as running a few simulated plays rather than focusing exclusively on stretching.

Results vs. Good Teams

The charts below depict the chances of scoring for Massillon and the opponent based on the data compiled over the past six years relative to the 36 good teams.

The Massillon advantage is positive in both scenarios, but favors Massillon kicking off to start the game.  Therefore, it would make sense for Massillon to defer to the second half if they win the toss.


The analysis attempts to determine whether it is better to receive the ball or defer the decision to the second half following the pre-game coin toss.  Six years of data encompassing 84 games were considered, with the opponents broken down into four categories.

  • Great teams – 16 teams where Massillon is at even odds or an underdog to win.  Preferable for Massillon to receive the opening kickoff, thereby forcing the opponent to receive the second half kickoff, from which they have produced zero scores.
  • Good teams – 38 teams where Massillon is a moderate favorite to win.  Slight advantage for Massillon to kick off to start the game.
  • Average to below average teams – 30 teams where Massillon is a clear favorite to win.  Kick or receive?  It doesn’t matter.

It should be noted that this same analysis was performed on Ohio State against against several of their great opponents and a similar result was obtained.



Football Hall of Fame is the Next Stop for…

Football Hall of Fame is the Next Stop for Larry Larsuel

Larry Larsuel could have reminisced about some great Massillon wins that he was involved in during the 1964 season, but unfortunately he’s not around anymore for us to hear it first-hand.  There was the 14-8 victory over Niles McKinley in the Rubber Bowl that broke the Red Dragons’ 48-game winning streak and solidified the Tigers as the best team in the state at that time.   And there was the 38-14 shellacking of 8-2 Altoona, Pennsylvania.  Finally, old timers will never forget the 20-14 come-back win over No. 2 Canton McKinley that punctuated the season and returned the crown to Massillon.  But Larsuel was more than just a participant.  He was one of the stalwarts on the offensive line that led a devastating ground attack under first-year Massillon and future Ohio State Head Coach Earl Bruce.

Larsuel began his varsity career in 1962 as a 5’-8”, 176 lb. sophomore when Head Coach Leo Strang named him a starter at offensive guard against Akron Garfield.  Unlike today, sophomores didn’t dress for varsity games, let alone play.  So, he must have made an early impression on the coach of his potential.  Turns out, it was his only start that year and the team finished 6-5.  But good things were yet to come.

Larsuel hit his growth spurt entering his junior year and became a full time starter at offensive guard, playing at 5’-11”, 197 lbs.  The team finished 9-1, losing to 10-0-1 Akron Garfield 13-6, while finishing second in the state to 9-0-1 Niles.  Ironically, Garfield was voted sixth.  Since Canton McKinley was barred from playing football in 1962 on account of a recruiting violation, the team teams matched up twice in 1963.  Massillon won both, by scores of 24-20 and 22-6.  Strang then left for the top job at Kent State, opening the door for Bruce.

“Coach Leo Strang of Massillon was all smiles as he praised the Tigers’ team effort (against 8-2 Alliance).  He especially patted senior wingback Bill (Rabbit) Blunt and junior lineman Larry Larsuel on their respective backs.  “Didn’t Blunt run well,” he said, “and that Larsuel, he played guard, linebacker and middle guard and did a tremendous job at all three spots.” – Massillon Independent

For his outstanding play, Larsuel was named 2nd Team All-Ohio at the guard position and 1st Team All-Stark County by both the coaches and the Massillon Evening Independent.

It was during his senior season that the big games mentioned above were played.  With those three wins plus seven more, Massillon finished the season 10-0 for the second straight year and retained the state championship trophy.  The 5’-10”, 206 lb. Larsuel was again lauded by the opponents.

“THEY OWNED US down the middle in the second half,” said Altoona Coach Earl Strohm, headman of the Lions, now in his 11th year at the Pennsylvania football power house.  The veteran coach was especially impressed with Larsuel, terming the senior all-county and all-state guard “a real good football player.”  Based on the game movies, fullback Lawrence was named player of the week for his running and faking.  Lineman of the week was guard Tom Whitfield with Larsuel the runner-up. — Massillon Evening Independent.

Larsuel also played a little defense and made a great play against Niles.  Per the Massillon Evening Independent, “With second and 10, Infante went back to pass but found tackle Jim Binge looming in front of him and tried to run to the left where Larry Larsuel knifed through and dropped him for a 5-yard loss to the 18, with 1:28 left in the game.  Niles tried 2 more passes, both of which were incomplete, and Massillon took over on its own 17 and ran out the clock for its second win of the season.  Lineman honors went to guard Larry Larsuel who got his man 65 per cent of the time and who on defense freed Muhlbach by handling the Niles tackles.  Backfield honors went to Bob Hewitt for his blocking and running.”

At the end of the season Larsuel was named 1st Team All-Ohio at guard.  He also grabbed 1st Team All-Stark County from both the coaches and Massillon Evening Independent.  And he received the Massillon Jaycees Sportsmanship Award.  The following summer Larsuel participated in the Ohio North-South All-Star Game, lining up at offensive guard.

Now he is being inducted into the Massillon Tiger Football Hall of Fame.


Part 2 – Pre-Spread Offense Quarterbacks in the Massillon…

Part 2 – Pre-Spread Offense Quarterbacks in the Massillon Tiger Football Hall of Fame

The Tiger Football Hall of Fame recognizes those individuals that have made contributions to the Tiger football experience, whether it be a player, coach, band director or just an individual who has influenced the program in a positive way.  Inductees are honored in the WHS Sports Hall with plaques that display the inductees’ contributions.  As of 2022, a total of 105 members have been inducted.

Complete List of Massillon Tiger Football Hall of Fame Inductees

This entry is Part 2 of a series that presents the inductees by playing position and features quarterbacks that competed prior to the period of the spread offense; i.e., before the late 1990s.  During that time, teams characteristically stayed mostly to the ground with their offensive attacks, throwing the ball around 20% of the time.  Using elementary passing concepts, the completion percentages were usually around 40% and total game passing yardages were minimal.  But many times, the quarterbacks of this era were thrust into rushing modes.

Four Massillon quarterbacks have gained Hall of Fame distinction during this period, including Willie Spencer, Jr.,  Dennis Franklin, Dave Sheegog, Joe Sparma, George Slusser and Harry Stuhldreher.  Paul Brown was also a quarterback then, but he was inducted based on his coaching skills, and so is not included in this story.

Willie Spencer (1992-94)

Spencer was one of the most athletic quarterbacks in Massillon history.  Then again, he was playing on the heels of his father, Willie Sr., who was a sensational high school All-American running back for the Tigers in 1971.

In 1993 during his junior year Spencer became a varsity starter at defensive back and was part of a team that compiled a 10-2 record, while losing in the playoff regionals.  With an uncanny ability quickly break for the ball, he had six pass interceptions, three of which were returned for touchdowns, including 87 yards against Grove City, PA, 54 yards against Austintown Fitch and 36 yards against Akron St. Vincent.  He also recovered two fumbles, returning one for a score.  In addition, he was the backup quarterback, where he scored one rushing touchdown.

Spencer became the full-time signal caller during his senior year, where he completed 58 of 124 passes for 941 yards and five touchdowns.  He also rushed 129 times for 775 yards and 18 touchdowns, scoring 108 points.  His rushing yardage total leads all Massillon quarterbacks in that category.  Memorable games include:

  • 148 rushing yards against Mansfield
  • 122 rushing yards against Fitch.  His 89-yard jaunt in the fourth quarter tied the game at 7-7, after which Nick Pribich kicked the game-winning field goal.
  • Led Massillon to a 42-41 overtime win over Canton McKinley in the 100th rivalry game.
  • Completed 7 of 11 passes for 130 yards and two touchdowns, and rushed for 66 yards and two touchdowns, in a 35-28 playoff victory over Fremont Ross, a team that led by future Heisman Trophy winner Charles Woodson.

For his performance he was named Repository 1st Team All-County quarterback, WHBC Stark County MVP, Northeast Inland District Player of the Year and 1st Team A.P. Division 1 All-Ohio quarterback.

After high school Spencer played for the University of Akron and then Tiffin Univrsity.

Dennis Franklin (1968-70)

As a Massillon junior in 1969, during Coach Bob Commings’ inaugural year, Franklin split time at quarterback with senior Gary Herring, completing 52% of his passes for 380 yards and three touchdowns.  The Tigers finished 7-2-1 during that rebuilding season.

The following year it all came together and with just Franklin at the QB position the team exploded with an undefeated 10-0 season.  Massillon led the All-American Conference in both rushing and passing and outscored its opposition 412-29.  In a key Week 4 matchup with state-ranked Niles, Franklin led his team to a 22-3 comeback victory.  He also scored all three touchdowns in a 22-0 win over Warren Harding and was involved in four TDs against Trotwood Madison.  The magical season was then punctuated by a 28-0 victory over previously undefeated and state No. 3 Canton McKinley.

At season’s end, Massillon was voted as the best team in Ohio by the Associated Press, that campaign coming prior to the introduction of the state playoffs.

Franklin had a consistent year throwing the ball, completing 33 of 78 passes (42%) for 699 yards and 13 touchdowns.  But it was when he began to showcase his athletic running ability (79 carries for 363 yards, 4.6/att., and 9 TDs) that he became a complete quarterback.  For his effort, Dennis was named 2nd Team All-Ohio and invited to play in the Ohio North-South All-Star Game, where he was the starting quarterback for the North.  Subsequently, he received a scholarship to play football for the University of Michigan, where he became a 3-year starter.

For his high school career he played in 19 games and completed 61 of 132 passes (46%) for 1,079 yards and 16 touchdowns.  Modest statistics by today’s standards, but Franklin’s prowess was that he was truly a field general in leading his team to the state title.

Dave Sheegog (1963-65)

Dave Sheegog, as a junior backup quarterback, was the hero of the 1964 Canton McKinley game.  With Massillon down 14-0 entering the fourth quarter, Sheegog replaced Steve Kanner, who left the game with an injury, and he led the Tigers to a 20-14 victory.  During that memorable 12 minutes, Sheegog completed 3 of 4 passes for 41 yards and rushed six times for 39, scoring the winning touchdown off a 14-yard scramble with just 53 seconds left in the game.  The win gave Massillon an undefeated record and a 22nd state championship.

The following year, Sheegog was the starter and he help the Tigers to a consecutive unbeaten season and another state title.  His key games included:

  • 50 yards rushing against 9-1 Cleveland Benedictine in a 29-12 victory.
  • 5 of 10 for 90 yards passing and two touchdowns, plus 32 yards rushing against Alliance in a 22-6 win.
  • 77 yards rushing and 3 TDs against 6-2-2 Niles in a 22-8 victory.
  • 61 yards rushing in a 16-12 win over unbeaten Warren Harding.
  • 12 carries for 41 yards against 7-3 Canton McKinley in another come-from-behind victory, 18-14.

Sheegog finished the season completing 26 of 72 passes for 427 yards and 5 touchdowns and rushing 106 times for 405 yards and 9 touchdowns.  He also returned 9 kickoffs for 215 yards and 19 punts for 120 yards, including one of 94 yards that went for a score.  Also, as a 2-way player, he intercepted two passes on defense, which he returned for 11 yards.  On top of that, he led the team in scoring with 59 points.

Following the season, he accepted a scholarship offer to play for Kent State University.

Joe Sparma (1957-59)

Joe had the long arm desired by most quarterbacks.  It was so long that he eventually made a career of throwing fastballs for the Detroit Tigers.  But he also made his mark in high school, including a big pass he threw in the infamous clock game against Warren Harding.  With the game tied 14 apiece and Massillon sitting on the Panther 46 yard line with just seconds remaining, Head Coach Leo Strang inserted the young sophomore to try a desperation pass.  Sparma did just that, launching the ball to the goal line and into the hands of Clyde Childers, who outjumped the defender for the winning score.  Following the game, Warren claimed that Massillon had received an extra minute of play.  But you can read the story yourself.

Sparma became the starter the following year, 1958, and led his team to the state championship (tied with Alliance).  With the team finishing 8-1-1, he tossed 9 touchdowns and ran for two more.

His senior year was even better, with Massillon finishing 10-0 and capturing both the state and national championships.  Sparma completed 28 of 85 passes form 660 yards and 14 touchdowns with just 4 interceptions.  He also punted 17 times with a 35.9 average.  Following the season, he was named 1st Team All-Ohio.  He then accepted a scholarship offer to play for Ohio State under Woody Hayes.

Sparma’s record as a starter was 18-1-1 and currently holds the Massillon record for single season average yards per completion (23.6).

George Slusser (1937-39)

In an era when a pass in football was just an afterthought, Coach Paul Brown used quarterback George Slusser to shake things up a bit.  And he did just that, starting at the position for two years.  During that span, his team went 20-0 and captured two state championships.

In his junior year, Slusser passed for 7 touchdowns and rushing for 6.  Meanwhile, the team outscored its opposition, 302-60.

As a senior, he passed for 10 touchdowns and rushing for 18 as a senior.  Against Mansfield he passed for two and rushed for two in a 73-0 win.  Then, against Steubenville, he passed for one and rushed for three in a 50-0 win.  The team was simply dominant, outscoring their foes, 460-25.

Following his last season, Slusser was named 1st Team All-Ohio and then played for Dartmouth College.

Harry Stuhldreher

Harry (known as Hessie and Stuhlie) played for Coach John Snavely on the Tiger teams of 1917, 1918 and 1919. He was not a regular on the 1917 team, which ended with a 7-2 record and beat Canton McKinley, 7-6.

But that changed the following year.  The 1918 team was 2-2-2.  This was a unique season, when several games were canceled due to the Spanish Flu epidemic, including the one against the Canton McKinley game. In addition, the New Philadelphia game was forfeited when Coach Snavely pulled his players from the field because of what he believed was a biased ruling against the Tigers.  Final score: New Philadephia 1, Massillon 0.

The 1919 team finished 8-1.  Playing at a paltry 5′-5″ and weighing just 137 lbs., Harry started the first eight games.  The Tigers beat McKinley that year 21-0, but he was held out due to an injured arm in that one.

During his 3-year career at Massillon, Harry was described as a good, although not outstanding player.  Unfortunately, Harry never got the chance to play in a Canton McKinley game.

After high school Harry played for Notre Dame, which was coached at the time by Knute Rockne.  As a quarterback, he was considered in the media as one of the “four horsemen.”  After college he had offers to play for three pro teams in the Connecticut area, but signed a contract to play for the Providence Steam Roller in the team’s inaugural NFL season. Later, he was the head coach of Villanova University and then the University of Wisconsin.