Paul Bixler was an assistant coach on Ohio State's Big Ten championships in 1942 and '44 and the Browns' 1954 and '55 NFL champions. He was also director of player personnel when the Browns won the 1964 NFL title. A standout athlete at Mount Union, Bixler began his college coaching career at Akron U as head basketball coach and assistant football coach in 1936. He later began a long associations with Paul Brown as an assistant football coach at Ohio State in 1941. Bixler was promoted to head football coach for the Buckeyes in 1946, but left after a 4-3-1 season to take the head football coaching position at Colgate, where he remained
Coach, Basketball, Softball 1987
After earning All-City honors at Akron's South High, Earl Wolfe won four letters in basketball for Akron U. He was a member of the 1948-49 Ohio Conference championship team, along with Summit Hall of Famer Hank Vaughn and Bobby Walker. Wolfe was captain of the 1950-51 squad and led the team in scoring. He was also an outstanding fast-pitch softball player for 17 years as a first baseman for the V.F.W. Mains Post squad. Those teams won 10 Northeast Ohio tournaments as well as two state championships. Wolfe is now retired from the Akron Public School system. He coached basketball for 17 seasons at South and Kenmore, winning six City Series championships and going 170-101.
Russ Thompson liked action and fast-pitch softball was where he found it. And he was part of that action for some 3,000 games in 27 years, becoming one of the most dominant players in Akron fast-pitch history. A first and third baseman, Thompson played on 14 Amateur Softball Association Northeastern Ohio District tournament championship teams. Twice he was named to the ASA all-state tournament team. Three times he made the All-VFW state tournament team. In 1982, he was selected as a charter member of the Ohio Softball Hall of Fame. Thompson retired from softball in 1962.
Richard Schoonover was one of the area's finest pitchers at several different levels. At East High he earned four letters and threw three no-hitters, helping the Orientals to city and district championships. In independent league play, he was a stand-out for the Akron Border Auto squad. Schoonover had a 14-3 record with five 1-hitters that season. The next year, he signed a bonus contract with the Philadelphia Athletics. He pitched three seasons in their farm system, then two more for Cincinnati's farm teams. Schoonover was inducted into the Greater Akron Baseball Hall of Fame in 1985.
George Deo, a New Jersey native, was named Akron U's outstanding football freshman in 1960. In 1961, Deo, a fullback, rushed for 857 yards and 13 touchdowns, both school records. He tied a school record with four TDs in a victory over Ohio Wesleyan. That same game he carried 41 times for 186 yards, both school and Ohio Conference records. He was named All-Ohio Conference in '61 and was an honorable mention All-American selection. Deo led the team in rushing again as a junior, but injuries hampered him as a senior. He set school career records of 453 carried for 1,939 yards. In 1987, Deo was inducted to the UA Sports Hall of Fame.
Jim Maddox took his Tallmadge High basketball team from the outhouse to the penthouse in a hurry. In 1979-80, his Blue Devils finished 4-15, his worst record as a coach. A year later, they were 16-3 and champions of the Metro League. Then, in 1982-83, the Blue Devils finished the regular season 20-0, the school's first undefeated season. In both 1981 and '83, Maddox was voted by his peers as Summit County basketball coach of the year. He has been named Metro League coach of the year five times.
When Fred Golding wasn't grabbing the rebounds for Akron U, Ray Pryear was. On the 1958-59 team, which finished 21-2, Pryear averaged 14.6 rebounds and 14 points to capture team MVP honors. He had career highs of 26 points (vs. Marietta) and 24 rebounds (vs. Baldwin-Wallace) that season. Pryear, a 6-foot-6 forward from Copley, finished his career with 1,152 points and 1,201 rebounds, both figures among the school's all-time leaders. The Zips also won 49-of-53 games played by Memorial Hall during Pryear's four years. While a member of the 1957-58 team, Pryear helped the Zips capture the Ohio Conference championship and earned the schools' first NCAA post-season bid. In 1985, Pryear was inducted into UA's Sports Hall of Fame.
George Nanchoff led the Akron U soccer team in scoring in his first three seasons (1973-75). Only his brother Louie kept him from making a clean sweep by outscoring George in 1976. He finished his career with 56 goals and 32 assists, second only to Akron U's all-time leader, Pete Millich. Nanchoff was a first team All-American in 1975 and '76 as the Zips won Ohio Collegiate Soccer Association titles both years. He played with the Fort Lauderdale Strikers of the North American Soccer League, earning rookie-of-the-year honors. He also played with the Atlanta Chiefs of the NASL, the Phoenix Inferno of the Major Indoor Soccer League, and the Cleveland Force from 1982 until '85. In 1987, Nanchoff was inducted into the UA Sports Hall of Fame.
During the basketball seasons from 1955-1959 when The University of Akron posted consecutive marks of: 18-6, 18-7, 20-6, and 21-2, the Zips depended on the rebounding of Allen Frederick Golding. Red Auerbach, the former Boston Celtics basketball coach, was asked the key to his fast break offense. The famed cage mentor simply turned and pointed out to the practice floor to Bill Russell. The 6-7 Golding, who time and time again, grabbed the rebound and started the Zip fast break, was the Russell of UA basketball. The four-year varsity letterman was so adept at his skill that his career mark of 1,360 rebounds, including 400 during the 1956-57 season, remain Zip records to this day. In addition, his average of 14 rebounds per game during the 1956-57 season has yet to be topped. In 1980, Golding was duly inducted into UA's Sports Hall of Fame.
Cecil Bush won the 1925 Ohio AAU 3-meter diving championship at Cleveland Yacht Club. He also was the 1934 champion in the Akron Swim and Diving Championships. He didn't win another title until 1979, when after years of instructing at the Barberton Natatorium, he returned to competition. That year, he won the 1-meter and 3-meter crowns for his age group (70-75) in the AAU Masters Diving Championships in Grand Rapids, Michigan. For the next four years, Bush finished no lower than fifth in the National AAU Grand Masters (50-and-over) Championships. Bush retired from B.F. Goodrich in 1970 after 27 years as chief electrician. He died in 1987 at age 82.