North Canton Sports Museum Would Be a Worthwhile Venture

Wouldn't it be nice to capture in a single place such an intregral part of North Canton, NoCa High and Hoover High School?

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.

Tom Meder April 26, 2011 at 12:51 PM
There's such a treasure trove of memories stashed in display cases at the high school that very few people ever get a chance to see.
North Canton Heritage Society April 26, 2011 at 01:04 PM
Some of the information mentioned in this post is in the archives of the North Canton Heritage Society, in the old NoCaHi building on Charlotte St. We would love to have more photos, recordings and other memoriabilia that readers may have. (We can copy your originals also.) We have featured NoCaHi/Hoover sports in past programs, including our 2010 Annual Meeting, where we featured members of the state championship basketball teams of 1948, 1949 and 1985. Come and visit us. We are open Monday through Friday mornings, 9 am until noon, other hours by appointment. Kathy Fernandez, Director, North Canton Heritage Society, 330-494-4791
Jon Russo April 26, 2011 at 04:19 PM
This is a great idea. I grew up in Plain and attended GlenOak and wrestled there. North Canton has produced several state champions and placers in D1 wrestling. Those guys deserve some recognition as well as all athletes that strive to be the best. Jon R. NC
Zack Moss April 26, 2011 at 04:32 PM
Great idea, Craig. Dick Snyder played at Davidson under Lefty Driesell when I worked in Charlotte. I doubt if many people know that we have a true legend living in our midst....Dickie Hemric who played at Wake Forest and for many years was the all-time leading scorer in ACC history. He is still 3rd, I believe. Craig, please write a story about him. I love your work.
Ed Bailey April 26, 2011 at 05:43 PM
Chapel Hill, NC, established a local sports hall of fame a few years ago and it has been very successful. The key is finding exhibits which people can use as a point of reference. Old newspapers, uniforms, bats, gloves,etc are examples. Location is also important as is an annual induction ceremony. In my opinion, this is something that tends to bring a community closer together. Good idea, Mr. Haueter.
Jennie Logan April 26, 2011 at 09:56 PM
Placing our history in proper prospective is important, be it sports or ordinary events. Craig, I do not always agree with you, but this time, I do. At least you make us think.
Cindy Martin April 26, 2011 at 10:06 PM
Craig, why not combine a sports museum and sports hall of fame? You could include coaches, players, administrators and contributors. Just a thought from a fan who enjoys your column.
edgar jones April 27, 2011 at 01:57 AM
Fine idea, Craig, but how would we go about paying for it? There would be the upkeep of a building unless we could place it in an existing public facility or a school. I approve of your suggestion. Where do we go from here? Any suggestions?
Tom Meder May 01, 2011 at 12:20 PM
To go along with #6, but more recent, wouldn't you love to hear what Donny Hertler said to the football team that was down by almost 30 at halftime to McKinley in 2009 and came back and won (boy, it was cold!)


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