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Alumni share thoughts on coaching feature
First a “Thank You” for the extremely interesting article, “Called to Coach!” I found many classmates/contemporaries among those profiled or mentioned. The stories reflect just how important a coach can be — and what a difference [coaching] can make in one’s life.
While at Wittenberg, I was sure I would enter the corporate world and never again set foot in a academic institution (unless I HAD to). But after a few years, and finding how much I really enjoyed being involved with young people, I returned to get my teaching certification, and there I was a high school science teacher. And loving it, by the way. After four years, our family moved to Colorado, where I found a teaching placement in Academy School District 20, but a coaching assignment (head coach, girls’ swimming) was tacked on.
I accepted, thinking that I could resign after a year — and that was 21 years ago! I have enjoyed my science teaching but have learned a lot more from the coaching opportunities that I have accepted — boys’ swimming, girls’ diving, boys’ diving and golf. So, some of us didn’t start out as coaches but grew into those shoes — and what a comfy fit it has been! Thanks again.
I just wanted to update you since you have written such a wonderful article on coaching careers of Wittenberg grads. My husband, Gary Tranquill ’62, is the offensive coordinator at the University of North Carolina now. It must be hard for you to keep track of collegiate or pro assistant football coaches because we move a lot!
Gary has been an assistant at Wittenberg, Ball State, Bowling Green, Navy, Ohio State, West Virginia, University of Virginia, Cleveland Browns, Virginia Tech, Michigan State and UNC, and for five years was the head coach at the Naval Academy. No wonder you are confused!
Also, while I have coached gymnastics through the years wherever we have lived, I am not coaching now...just judging! Thank you for the article; it was fun to catch up with everyone!
My husband, Michael Jones ’87, and I have had the pleasure of keeping up with all Wittenberg activities through this magazine and other university literature.
Recently, however, we received the issue “Called to Coach,” and we became very disappointed. You have neglected one coach, Michael Jones. Michael began his illustrious coaching career at Trotwood Madison High School in Trotwood, Ohio (’87-’94). He coached football, basketball and track for over seven years at the high school, sending many students to Wittenberg to pursue football and a higher education.
After Trotwood, Michael coached at Ohio Northern University for six years, serving as assistant coach and defensive coordinator for the Polar Bears football team. Under his tenure, he helped mold the Polar Bears from an average team in the OAC to a nationally ranked team defeating Wittenberg in ’99 only to lose to Mount Union in the third round of the national playoffs.
But not only did he coach football, he coached women’s tennis, too. He holds the record for the winningest tennis program in the history of Ohio Northern University, and he turned the team around to become one of the elite tennis programs in the OAC.
He has earned many awards and gained recognition from his players and colleagues alike. He has mentored many coaches in their careers, including Taver Johnson, who appears on the magazine’s cover. But his accomplishments don’t stop there. Michael currently serves as Cleveland Heights Head Football Coach (since the 2001 football season). He, along with Michael Dellapina, athletics director (also mentioned in the article), are turning around a football program and the school, instilling school pride, academics and good sportsmanship with his players.
He is a constant ambassador for the university. Along with his coaching accomplishments, he has been able to raise and support two beautiful daughters, 10 and 6, and a lovely wife. I couldn’t stand by without saying something in my husband’s behalf because he is so dedicated to coaching and teaching. Plus we’ve already received many calls wondering why he wasn’t in the magazine.
Alumnus praises efforts to serve gay alumni
As a gay alumnus of Wittenberg, I now have a renewed interest in participating in the university thanks to the recent letters in the alumni magazine. To my delight I found that there was a small but thriving Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) on campus and that many of the faculty and administration were moderately-to-enthusiastically in support of this group and its mission.
Consequently, I have been asked to be the alumni adviser to GSA, a role that I happily accepted, and a Web site has since been created for GSA at www.FriendsofGSA.com.
I am also excited to learn that a Friends of GSA reception will now be held before the game on Saturday for the friends, family, spouses and partners of Wittenberg’s gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and transgendered alumni as part of the university’s Homecoming festivities this year. Ironically, Homecoming will be during the weekend of Oct. 12, 2002, which is also National Coming Out Day!
It is my hope that this Homecoming’s Friends of GSA reception will attract many of Wittenberg’s gay alumni, family and friends back to campus.
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Phone: (937) 327-6141 Fax: (937) 327-6112