1942 – 1944 – Won 26, Lost 4, Tied 0
State Champion – 1943
“KAM” Player, Coach, Teacher
In his three wartime years as head coach of the Massillon Washington Tigers, Elwood W. Kammer was confronted with a number of obstacles but nevertheless directed the Tigers to a fine overall record.
Kam succeeded William (Bud) Houghton as Tiger coach in 1942 when the latter entered the U.S. Navy. Houghton had previously replaced Paul Brown in 1941 and thereby, Kammer became the Tigers third head coach in three years.
* – Popular Acclaim
His first Tiger team swept through eight straight opponents and was given the stamp of greatness by most observers, however, a series of injuries starting with a damaged ankle suffered by tailback Bob Graber in the seventh game of the year piled up to such key players as Bob Wallace, Fred Cardinal and Paul Paulik and the Tigers barely edged a mediocre Erie, Pa., East eleven in the game prior to the McKinley contest, 13-6.
The Tigers entered the Canton game with nine straight victories and a string of 51 wins and one tie. McKinley had lost only to Steubenville and had a team that was improving rapidly each game. With Jack Crider, Ernie Parks and Tony Dominick grinding out the yardage, McKinley presented one of its greatest efforts in a 35-0 triumph. This was probably the most famous football defeat in Ohio scholastic history and November 21, 1942 marked the first Tiger loss in the five year history of Tiger Stadium.
The 1943 Massillon gridders immediately rebounded from the first loss suffered by the Tigers since 1937, by winning ten straight games and the Tigers’ tenth Ohio scholastic title. The high point of the season was a 21-0 verdict over a good Canton McKinley team. This Tiger club was famous for its defensive skill in permitting just 12 points for the entire campaign. Only the 1940 team that permitted 6 points and the 1915 that yielded 7 points topped the 1943 team for all time Massillon defensive honors. Some of the standouts on this team included Capt. Bob Wallace, RH (Ohio State); Romeo Pellegrini, QB; R.C. Arrington, T; Tom Jasinski, E; Bob Williams, C (Bucknell) and Henry Mastriann, FB (Washington & Lee).
Military service calls and enlistments did irreparable damage to the Tigers in 1944 and as a result Massillon suffered three losses which equaled the total number of defeats the previous 10 year period from 1934 through 1943. The biggest personnel loss was the enlistment of senior quarterback Ron Pellegrini in the Navy. Pellegrini was a gifted passer and runner and his departure before the start of the 1944 campaign seriously crippled the Massillon offense.
All three 1944 setbacks were at the hands of outstanding teams. State champion Cleveland Cathedral Latin who went undefeated beat the Tigers 6-0. Warren’s greatest team rolled to a 32-12 win, while Canton McKinley, whose only blemish was a one point loss to Warren, won handily 27- 0.
Reflecting back over his three years as coach of the famous Tigers, Coach Kammer made these observations … 1942 team had the best personnel of his three teams, however, key injuries late in the season could not be overcome … 1942 schedule was Massillon’s strongest up to that time, it included three defending state champions: Weirton, WV, Lincoln, Nebr., and Canton McKinley … Pellegrini’s touchdown passes in the 1942 Toledo Waite game was the best performance ever turned in by a Massillon sophomore quarterback … that R.C. Arrington’s performance as defensive tackle in 1943 was the greatest in Washington High School history … that the 1943 team was his best … the 1944 team didn’t measure up to the 1942 and 1943 squad in personnel, mainly due to the military draft and enlistments … that the oldest players on the 1944 team were 17 and that the heaviest player on the starting eleven was a mere 175. Coach Elwood Kammer, like three other Tiger head conches (Brown, Houghton and Morningstar), was a product of Massillon Washington High School. In fact, one of his teammates on the 1925 Tiger team was Paul Brown.
“Kam” is generally considered one of Massillon’s finest running backs. His 65- yard interception return for a touchdown won the 1924 McKinley game, and he carried the ball 39 times against McKinley in 1925, which still stands as a record. He was named first team AU-Ohio in 1925.
Following his graduation from WHS, he enrolled at Grove City College, Pa, where he repeated his success as a running back. He received all district honors in 1929 and 1930 and captained the Grove City team in 1930. Upon graduation in 1931, he went to Beaver Falls, Pa., High School, where he was assistant coach for three years and head coach for one year. He returned to Massillon in 1935 as head coach at Lorin Andrews Junior High.
In March of 1942 after serving one year as varsity assistant, Coach Kammer, age 36, was appointed interim head coach of the Massillon Tigers, (Head coach Houghton was called into service in the U.S. Navy during World War ll.). During the three years he coached the Tiger football team, Kammer’s teams won 26 games while losing but four. In his first year (1942), Kam’s team won nine straight before losing to Canton McKinley in the final game of the season.
The Tigers, however, in 1943 under Kammer’s guidance came roaring back to win 10 straight games, trouncing Canton McKinley 2 I -0 and winning the State Championship of Ohio. The Tigers allowed 12 points the entire year and posted eight shutouts.
The 1944 Tigers (considered one of the lightest and youngest teams in the school’s history) aggressively attacked a very tough schedule.
Kammer’s 1944 Tigers lost three games (State Champions Cathedral Latin (10,0,0), Warren Harding (8-1-1), and Canton McKinley (9-1-0)). Some of “Kam’s” outstanding players included All-Ohioans Fred Cardinal, Vern Weisgarber, R.C. Arrington, Tom Jasinski, Bob Williams, Bob Wallace, and Bill Gable.
In January of 1945, Coach Kammer retired from coaching, but remained a teacher at WHS. After several years officiating high school and college football, he returned to coaching in 1949 as a varsity assistant to Coach Chuck Mather. Coach Kammer passed away in 1973.
Men like “Kam” carried on the Massillon Tiger Tradition and spirit and helped make it possible for us to enjoy it today. Coach Kammer’s 30 years as player, coach and teacher will not be forgotten,
Coach Kam’s Career
- Recreation Director of Massillon 1943 through 1970.
- Originally organized all leagues in Massillon.
- Coach 4 years at Beaver Falls, Pa. High School
- Head Coach at Massillon High for football, basketball, baseball, track and tennis
- Started Massillon High School playing baseball again after a lapse of 25 years.
- Played baseball on Massillon area teams for over 20 years, always batted over 335 average
- Played baseball on Bordners, Triangles, Collegians (won 16, lost 0), Smokehouse, Shafer Hammond Lumber, Portman Roofers (468 average), Crawford Barbers (335 average), Massillon Hardware, West Side Merchants, Crystal springs (leading hitter 392), Massillon Hiways. Played center field for Groove City College in 1928 – 1931