Mel Knowlton was inducted into the Washington High School “Wall of Champions” for his skill on the gridiron and his contribution to the sport of football.
Knowlton grew up on Massillon’s west side and attended Lorin Andrews Junior High School, where he excelled in both football and basketball. His athletic prowess continued at Washington High, playing football in 1931-32. In his senior year Mel was named quarterback on Paul Brown’s first Massillon team. He also played basketball and was All-Ohio during the 1932 – 1933 season. After high school, Knowlton attended Miami of Ohio, where he was a 3-year letterman in both football and basketball.
Mel’s coaching career began at Edmund A. Jones Junior High as head football and basketball coach from 1937 to 1940. In 1941 he accepted the head coaching job at Steubenville.
World War II interrupted his coaching career, with Mel serving from 1942 to 1946 as an Air Navigation Instructor. Upon discharge he resumed coaching, this time at Alliance High School, and remained head coach there until 1969, finishing with a career record at Alliance of 150–86–6. His record against Massillon was 3-20-1 and against Canton McKinley was 8-15-1. But outside of those two powers, his overall record was 139-51-4 (.727). His Alliance teams had six top ten finishes in the AP Ohio High School Poll. But the 1958 team could be considered his best, tying Massillon 8-8 and defeating Canton McKinley 16-0, while winning the Associated Press State Championship. Mel was also named the AP Ohio Coach of the Year.
- 1948 – 7th (9-1)
- 1954 – 2nd (9-1)
- 1958 – 1st (9-0-1)
- 1960 – 3rd (9-2)
- 1961 – 8th (9-2)
- 1962 – 10th (7-2-1)
Mel received numerous other awards. In 1972 he was inducted into the Ohio High School Football Coaches Hall of Fame. In 1993 he was inducted into the famed Miami of Ohio “Cradle of Coaches” Hall of Fame. In 2007 he was inducted into the Stark County High School Football Hall of Fame.