OHSAA to honor 3 former standouts in Circle of Champions at boys state basketball tournament

Staff report

The Ohio High School Athletic Association will honor three former Ohio high school greats during the finals of the 2016 Boys State Basketball Tournament Saturday, March 19. Recognized during the Division III championship game that begins at 10:45 a.m. will be Dave Wottle, while Tom Cousineau and Herb Williams will be honored during the 5:15 Division IV championship game. This is the 10th consecutive year the OHSAA has selected individuals who had prominent roles in the history of Ohio interscholastic athletics to be included in its Circle of Champions program. The state tournament will be held at Ohio State’s Jerome Schottenstein Center in Columbus.

Dave Wottle was a standout distance runner at Canton Lincoln High School, where he won the big-school mile run at the OHSAA state track and field championships as a senior in 1968 after finishing fourth the previous year. He went on to an outstanding career at Bowling Green State, where he won the NCAA outdoor mile run as a senior in 1973 in NCAA record-setting time after winning the NCAA 1,500-meters the previous year. He became an American icon in track after his junior year at BGSU. After tying a world record in the 800 meters at the Olympic Trials, Wottle won the Gold Medal in the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich, coming from the rear of the pack late in the race to stun the favorite from the Soviet Union while wearing his trademark white golf cap. Dave also participated in the 1,500 meters at the Munich Games. He graduated from Bowling Green in 1973 and turned professional for a short time before embarking on a career in higher education. He was the track coach at Walsh College in Canton and Bethany College in West Virginia, served for 29 years as the dean of admissions and financial aid at the Rhodes College in Memphis and spent time at both at Millsaps College in Mississippi and Ohio Wesleyan University in interim vice president of enrollment positions. Dave is now retired and lives in suburban Memphis with his wife. The Wottles have three children and six grandchildren.

Tom Cousineau grew up in Fairview Park, Ohio, and was an outstanding football player at Lakewood St. Edward High School. He then went to Ohio State where, as a senior in 1978, he was a captain and team MVP, and he twice won All-America honors. Also while with the Buckeyes, the linebacker set single game and single season tackle records, and he ranks second in Buckeye history with 569 career tackles. Tom helped Ohio State win or share three Big Ten titles during his career. Cousineau was the selected first in the 1979 NFL draft by the Buffalo Bills but instead signed with Montreal of the Canadian League and was the MVP of the 1979 Grey Cup. In 1983, his NFL rights were traded to Cleveland, and he spent four years with the Browns and two more years with the 49ers before retiring in 1987. Earlier this year, Cousineau became the 25th player from Ohio State elected to the College Football Hall of Fame, and he will be inducted in December. He and his wife reside in Akron and have two college-age daughters.

Herb Williams was an all-state basketball player at Columbus Marion-Franklin High School, where he was the big-school player-of-the-year as a senior in 1977. He then went on to a tremendous career at Ohio State, where he was a four-year starter, scored a then-school record 2,011 points and finished second in career rebounds with 1,111. The two-time team captain earned first team All-Big Ten honors as a junior and finished his career averaging 17.9 points and nearly 10 rebounds per game. He was a first-round draft pick of Indiana and spent 18 years in the NBA with the Pacers, Mavericks and Knicks. He scored nearly 12,000 career points, had over 6,500 rebounds and was Patrick Ewing’s primary back-up on Knicks’ teams that reached in the NBA finals in both 1994 and 1999. Williams retired at the age of 41 following the ’99 finals. He was an assistant coach for the Knicks for 13 years between 2001 and 2014 and also was interim head coach for parts of two seasons. This coming summer he will be in his second year as an assistant coach with the WNBA’s New York Liberty, serving under Head Coach Bill Laimbeer and alongside Assistant Coach and former Buckeye Katie Smith. Herb and his family reside in Connecticut.

Past honorees in the OHSAA Circle of Champions program have been: 2007-Todd Blackledge; Jay Burson; Dean Chance (since deceased); Archie Griffin; Bill Hosket; Clark Kellogg; Dante Lavelli (since deceased); Cindy Noble Hauserman, and Katie Smith; 2008-Galen Cisco; Jim Lachey; Susan Nash Sugar, and Bill Willis (posthumously); 2009-Robin Freeman (since deceased); LeBron James; Larry Siegfried (since deceased); Dick Schafrath, and Mary Wineberg; 2010-Howard “Hopalong” Cassady; Jerry Lucas; Al Oliver; Jesse Owens (posthumously), and Tony Trabert; 2011-Harrison Dillard; Wayne Embry; John Havlicek; Jim Houston; Madeline Manning Mims, and Phil Niekro; 2012-Barry Clemens; Bob Hoying; LaVonna Martin-Floreal; Butch Reynolds; Dick Snyder, and Gene Tenace; 2013-Earle Bruce; Rex Kern; Michael Redd; Chris Spielman, and Paul Warfield; 2014-Jessica Davenport; Abby Johnston; Jim Paxson, and John Paxson, and 2015-Lisa Cline; Bob Golic; Randy Gradishar; Lou Holtz; Troy Smith, and Chris “Beanie” Wells.

Other awards that will be presented during this year’s boys state tournament are as follows:

• The 2016 OHSAA Ethics and Integrity Award recipient: Major General John C. Harris Jr., a Pickerington resident who is the Assistant Adjutant General for the Ohio Army National Guard and also serves as the Commander of the Ohio Army National Guard. He assumed these duties in January of 2011 and is responsible for establishing policies, priorities and oversight for the readiness of over 11,000 soldiers. Major General Harris is also involved with many leadership programs that impact Ohio high school student-athletes. Please see the separate release posted at: http://www.ohsaa.org/news/misc/20160315Harris.pdf

• The OHSAA Naismith Awards, presented to two people for their meritorious service to the sport of basketball or interscholastic athletics: Charlie Huggins, the head boys basketball coach at Stone Creek, Strasburg, Connotton Valley, Indian Valley South and Hiland high schools in Tuscarawas and Holmes counties between 1964 and 1984, who compiled an overall record of 398-74, a winning percentage of 84.3. He helped his teams earn three small-school state championships, with Strasburg winning in 1967 and Indian Valley South earning titles in 1972 and 1976. All three of his sons played collegiately including Bob, currently the head coach at West Virginia University. Charlie resides in New Philadelphia. Max Ness spent 30 years as a teacher, coach, administrator and athletic director at Mentor High School, then moved to central Ohio and served four years as the athletic administrator at New Albany High School and four more at The Wellington School in Columbus. He was a long-time contest official and OHSAA tournament manager and currently serves as the Central District Athletic Board’s coordinator for girls and boys basketball. Max and his wife reside in Gahanna.

• The OHSAA Coaches Sportsmanship, Ethics and Integrity Award: Marty Hill, who just completed his 41st season as the boys basketball coach at Windham High School, where his teams have won 11 league titles, 14 district titles, three regional titles and made three state tournament appearances.

• Recognition of special Ohio Athletic Trainers Association award winners: Trainers-of-the-Year Ryan Weible, supervisor of athletic trainers for the Worthington City Schools’ middle schools, and David Bogenschutz, a teacher and athletic trainer with the Miamisburg City Schools; and State Athletics Trainers Hall of Fame inductees: Vince O’Brien, an athletic trainer at The Ohio State University for 23 years who has been the head athletic trainer for the men’s basketball team for the past 16 seasons; Jill Ponzi, currently a school counselor and co-athletic director at Genoa Middle School in Westerville who prior to that provided athletic training services for 25 years to Westerville North and Westerville South high schools and Columbus Northland, Beechcroft, Linden McKinley and Mifflin high schools along with several middle schools; and Joan Rocks, Ph.D., Otterbein University’s department chair of health and sport sciences and the athletic training program director who has been at the university since 1992. She previously served as an athletic trainer at Heidelburg University.

• A National Federation of State High School Associations Outstanding Service Award in Ohio: Richard “Dick” Krauss, who for 60 combined years was a teacher, coach, school administrator and Northwest District Athletic Board (NWDAB) member. He was particularly instrumental in planning and organizing many of the respective NWDAB sectional and district tournament events in his capacity as secretary of that board for 43 years and is also past president of the OHSAA Board of Directors. One of his coaching highlights was leading the 1953 Holgate boys basketball team to the OHSAA Class B state tournament, a feat that twin sons Doug – at Archbold High School – and Dave – at Patrick Henry – also accomplished, marking the first time in Ohio history that a father and two sons have coached teams in the state basketball tournament. Dick and his wife reside in Findlay.

• In addition, recognition will also be given to the family of the late Joe Pangrazio, the most recent of a national-best 28 Ohioans who have been elected to the National Federation of State High School Associations’ (NFHS) Hall of Fame. Pangrazio, from Dennision, Ohio, was an OHSAA football official for 45 years and an OHSAA basketball official for 55 years before retiring in 2000. He officiated six state football championships and 10 state basketball tournaments – eight boys and two girls. Joe was also a highly successful college basketball official in several conferences and was a Big Ten Conference basketball officials’ observer and evaluator at Ohio State for 25 years. He was a 1989 charter member of the OHSAA Officials Hall of Fame, was inducted into the Ohio Basketball Hall of Fame in 2014 and last summer was posthumously inducted into the NFHS Hall of Fame in the officials category. He died in August of 2014.

• On Saturday night at halftime of the Division I championship game, the Ohio Prep Sportswriters Association will welcome three new members into its Hall of Fame. Sidney Daily News sports editor Ken Barhorst, retired Associated Press Ohio Sports Editor Rusty Miller and retired Cincinnati Post and Enquirer sportswriter David Schutte will join 56 prep sports writing greats enshrined in the OPSWA Hall of Fame. The OPSWA inducted its first Hall of Fame class in 1983. The complete list is posted at: http://www.ohsaa.org/news/OPSWA/HOF.htm

The OPSWA was created in 1972 to support, promote and recognize the coverage of high school sports across Ohio. More information is available at: http://www.ohsaa.org/news/OPSWA/default.htm

The complete release is posted at: http://www.ohsaa.org/news/misc/20160119OPSWAHOFandContest.pdf.

Staff report

Email local sports news to galsports@civitasmedia.com. Follow the Galion Inquirer on Twitter @GalionSports.

Email local sports news to galsports@civitasmedia.com. Follow the Galion Inquirer on Twitter @GalionSports.