Local author James Holl wrote a wonderful book about the history of North Canton High School Football from 1924 to 1980. Holl and many others in town have information, memories, stories and memorabilia that would look so good in a museum of local sports history and its participants.
North Canton has had the privilege of raising, educating or calling neighbor professional athletes in all four major sports — football, baseball, basketball and hockey.
Musician Jim Croce wrote the song Time in a Bottle back in 1973. It was always one of my favorite songs growing up. I would like to see the North Canton sports heritage "bottled" in one place for current and future generations to enjoy.
To get things started, I am offering you my top 10 list of preferred artifacts to place in our sports museum.
1. Tracking the football season of 1984 leading into the basketball season ending in the spring of 1985. What a magical couple of sports seasons in the same school year. I remember a state runner-up finish in football, losing to Toledo St. Francis on a late field goal, 17-14, and making the final four in basketball with several carryover football players and recording a 21-6 record.
2. Video from Dick Snyder playing basketball, football and baseball for Hoover. By many accounts, Snyder was the best athlete to ever come out of North Canton. I only remember him during his playing days for the Cleveland Cavaliers of the NBA.
3. A recording of a football coaches' meeting between Don Hertler Sr., and Roger Viscounte. Can you imagine the integrity, football intelligence and motivational material for a football player in that room on any given day or night?
4. An interview and game footage from NoCa High School graduate Harold "Rabbit" Warstler playing major league baseball in the 1930s. "Hall of Famer" Connie Mack called Warstler the finest infielder in the game.
5. A "how to" video from legendary groundskeeper on field maintenance. It would have been an on the baseball and football fields at Hoover.
6. An audio transcript of Coach Ray Swope's pre-practice speech to his basketball team after a 1-4 start to the 1938-39 season. Swope's team would go on to win a state title that season.
7. A tape recording of former Hoover teacher and athletic trainer Jay Bishop singing the national anthem a capella before a sporting event. Bishop passed away last week and we will miss him running the clock at Hoover basketball games and wearing those ever-present shorts on the sidelines at Hoover football games.
8. Movies to capture each of North Canton's state championship teams in Little League baseball. I was a part of coaching the 11-year-old championship team that played in the state tournament in 2007 in Eaton, OH, near the Indiana border. So very few athletes regardless of age can call themselves state champions.
9. A highlight video of the playing and coaching career of North Canton youth football coach Joe Wells. He continues to coach in his 70s with the same enthusiasm and caring for the players as he did 45-plus years ago when he started. I am so appreciative that both my sons have played for Wells. They are far better for the experience.
10. As an avid hockey fan, I wish I had the opportunity to talk to again and record an interview with former National Hockey League player Marc Potvin, who lived in North Canton. Potvin played in 121 NHL games and would later coach in the professional ranks. Potvin passed away in 2006 much too young.