Track & Field 1996
Few knew much of Frederic “Chip” Breidenbach when he walked on with the Kent State track team in 1974. Four years later he walked away as one of the university’s top student-athletes ever. He began to hone his skills in 1975 as a member of Kent’s Mid-American Conference outdoor championship team and also with the Junior AAU Team USA, which competed against the Soviet Union. Then in 1975, Breidenbach won his first of two Indoor All-American honors in the 35-pound weight throw, also winning the MAC title. He repeated as an All-American and MAC indoor champ in 1978, and captured the MAC outdoor titles in the hammer throw in 1977 and ’78. Making his titles even more rewarding was the fact the Breidenbach overcame numerous knee, foot and hip injuries. Breidenbach not only captained the 1978 Kent track team, but was also president of KSU’s Captains Council, and received the George J. Aultmann Award as the outstanding senior man in physical education. He finished his Kent career with eight track letters – four indoor and four outdoors. Breidenbach was inducted into the Kent State Varsity K Hall of Fame in 1991.
William E. Stevens
Bill Stevens became a starting point guard at The University of Akron as a sophomore. The 5-9 Stevens was an unselfish cager content to be the playmaker who set up others as UA compiled an 18-6 record in 1961-62 and a 22-3 mark in 1962-3. During his 48 games of action, Stevens scored only 348 points for seven points a game. He found himself regulated to a “sixth man” role in his senior season before an academic ineligibility gave him a second chance. Stevens responded in uncharacteristic fashion by going on an offensive rampage while maintaining his playmaker role. He scored 315 points in 18 games for a 17.5 scoring average to help lead Coach Tony Laterza’s Zips to 15 wins, including a 52-51 victory over Wittenburg in the Ohio Conference Championship. The Zips’ season ended at 24-7 with a loss to Evansville in the NCAA College Division Championship and Stevens on the All-Tournament team. With 410 points, Stevens had become only the eighth cager in Zip basketball history to reach 400 points in a season. In 1981, Stevens was inducted in UA’s Sports Hall of Fame.
Soccer has played a prominent role in Louie Nanchoff’s life. A native of Resen, Macedonia, formerly Yugoslavia, he came to the United States as a 12-year old and went on to excel for Akron Central-Hower High School, The University of Akron, U.S. Olympic team and in the professional ranks. He followed brother, George, a 1987 Hall of Famer, to UA where they lead the Zips to Ohio Collegiate Soccer Association titles and NCAA post-season play in 1975 and ’76. Together, Louie (22) and George (18) scored 40 of UA’s 50 goals as the 1975 squad posted an 11-1-1 record before dropping a 2-1 game to 10-time national champion St. Louis in NCAA action. The highlight of Louie’s college career came in 1976 when he and George were voted first team All-America. It was the first time in nearly 30 years of formal All-America selections that brothers were so honored in the same year. Louie made the All-America team in 1977, as well, before beginning a 10-year career in the professional ranks on such teams as the Colorado Caribous, Philadelphia Fever, Dallas Sidekicks and the Cleveland Force. He was the leading scorer on the U.S. Olympic team that boycotted the 1980 Olympics in Moscow.
Edward "Ott" Markulis
Five perfect games, four 299 scores and two 298 games are among the lofty achievements of Markulis who began his bowling career in 1934 as a pin-boy at Akron’s Buchtel Lanes. He was just 18 that year when he bowled his first 300 game. In 40 years of active bowling in the area, he maintained a 200 or better average for 20 of those years. At one time, Markulis carried a 220 average. His all-time three-game high was 976. In 1934 he teamed with Joe Meszaro to win the American Bowling Congress doubles championship in Cleveland. Twenty years later the two teamed again to win the ABC doubles competition while rolling a 1448, the highest score in the nation that year. Markulis won the state championship in all events in the Inter-City tournament and won the doubles twice in that event. He was a member of the state championship five-man teams twice with Cherry’s Steakhouse and Maibach Furniture. Markulis was the Beacon Journal’s Bowler of the Year in 1955 and 20 years later was inducted in the Tri-County Bowling Hall of Fame.
Jo Ann Arrietta
Better known as Joey, Arrietta assumed control of The University of Akron softball program in its second year of varsity status in 1978. She then took the UA from slow pitch to fast pitch softball in two years. One of Arrietta’s mottos was, “It’s important to believe you can be all that you dream, and I’m a dreamer.” Without a doubt, Arrieta fulfilled her dream of building a winning a winning Lady Zip softball program. Arrietta-coached teams accumulated a record of 359 wins, 135 losses and 4 ties for a .725 winning percentage during her 12-year tenure at UA. That makes Arrietta the winningest coach in UA women’s sports. During her unparalleled coaching career, Arrietta directed the Lady Zips to six post-season regional tournament appearances and to the NCAA II runner-up spots in both 1984 and 1985. Her players captured 48 of 54 games in 1984 and won a record-breaking 51 of 61 contests in ’85. Ten of Arrietta’s players were voted All-American honors 15 times. Joey was honored twice as Ohio Softball Coach of the Year in 1982 and ’83, and was extended Regional Coach of the Year honors in 1984 and 1985.
Baseball, Football, Basketball 1996
Mike Feduniak truly was “A Man for All Seasons” at Kent State, where he earned three varsity letters – maximum in his day – in football, basketball and baseball from 1939-42. On the gridiron, he was a solid blocking back, halfback and punter for the Golden Flashes, who posted an 8-1 record in his junior season. Kent’s basketball team enjoyed three winning seasons, 13-10, 12-10, and 14-11, with Feduniak contributing at guard for two years then moving to forward. But baseball was Feduniak’s best sport. A strong and durable catcher, he was Kent’s home run and RBI leader while still maintaining a .300 career batting average. He was a first-team All-Ohio Conference selection in 1942, his second consecutive year as captain, and helped Kent win the OC championship in 1941. Feduniak went on to play five years of professional baseball, mostly with minor league affiliates of the Boston Red Sox and Chicago Cubs. Among his most memorable minor-league contests was catching future Hall of Famer Hoyt Wilhelm’s first professional game in Mooresville, N.C. Feduniak’s baseball career was interrupted with the U.S. Army Air Corps in World War II. Feduniak was inducted into Kent State’s Varsity K Hall of Fame in 1990.
Golf, Official 1996
Most people remember John Cseh (pronounced CHECK) for his exploits in golf. A superb golfer, Cseh won over a 100 trophies in various and sundry golf tournaments in the Greater Akron area over four decades. A 34-year employee of Firestone Tire and Rubber Company, Cseh also represented Firestone in numerous industrial league tournaments that brought more accolades for the diminutive golfer. However, Cseh’s induction into the Summit County Sports Hall of Fame was predicated on his expertise as a long-time sports official. For 32 years, Cseh was an active member of both the East Ohio Football and Eastern Ohio Basketball Official’s organizations, progressing through the high school ranks into college. Prior to his death in 1982 at the age of 68, Cseh had been a referee in the Ohio Athletic Conference for 19 years. In addition, Cseh volunteered his time as a coach and referee in the Catholic Youth Organization.
They called him “Wee Willie” Collier, but he always loomed large when he took the field for the South Akron Awnings semi-pro football team. Collier, a swift, elusive and yet powerful halfback out of Akron’s West High School, was one of the finest players on the Awnings, greatest teams from 1937-41. Collier scored 138 points for the Awnings over those five seasons, sharing the team lead with Hall of Famer Stan Junius, as the club won 42 games against only 5 losses and 1 tie. Included in that span was a 28-game winning streak from 1938-40. Moreover, South Akron won the Ohio semi-pro championship in 1939, and claimed the Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania and New York state titles the following year. Collier led the Awnings in scoring in 1938 with 48 points and in 1940 with 54 points. Collier had perhaps his best two games on November 17 and 24, 1940. First, he scored both South Akron touchdowns in a 12-7 victory over Toledo on a 65-yard run with a lateral on the game’s first play from scrimmage, and on a 33-yard pass from quarterback Del Fessler. A week later, Collie r tallied three touchdowns in a 47-0 victory over the Buffalo Liberty Halls that gave South Akron the New York state championship. Collier died May 11, 1993 at age 78.
Northeast Ohio helped put the University of Miami on the college football map in the early 1980s. The driving force behind the UM defense was Jay Brophy, the all-Ohioan from Akron’s Buchtel High School. Brophy, 6’2” and 227 pounds, established himself as one of the top linebackers in the country during his junior year season in 1982, leading the 7-4 Hurricanes with 135 tackles and earning team MVP honors. Brophy’s senior year was even more rewarding, registering 133 tackles and leading Miami to its first national football championship with a dramatic 31-30 Orange Bowl victory over the Nebraska Cornhuskers. Brophy earned first-team All-American honors from the Football News and second team selection by the Sporting News and United Press International. He started in both the Senior Bowl and East-West Shine Game. The Miami Dolphins selected him in the second round of the National Football League draft, and Brophy started nine games, including the 38-16 loss to the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XIX. He played two more seasons for the Dolphins, including an appearance in the 1986 AFC Championship Game against New England and played part of the 1987 season with the New York Jets.
Girls’ sports wouldn’t be what they are today if not for coaches like Jim Cahoon. Cahoon was an assistant football coach at Buchtel High School in 1977 when he took on the additional job of girls’ head basketball coach. Under Cahoon, Buchtel’s girls won 239 games and lost just 52. In 12 seasons, the Griffins won ten City Series percentage championships, eight playoff championships, six District crowns and two Regional titles, becoming the first City Series girls basketball team to reach the state’s Final Four. Twice Cahoon was Summit County and Northeast Ohio Inland Region coach of the year, and was a charter member of the Tri-County Women’s Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame. After a four-year stint as Buchtel’s head football coach, which included a City Series co-championship in 1979, he took over as Buchtel’s girls’ track coach. And as with basketball, Buchtel was in a class by itself. The Griffins went 59-1-1 in six years under Cahoon, won the City Series title each of those seasons and also claimed four District championships. Before leaving Buchtel for an administrative position with the Akron schools, Cahoon also started the Griffins cross county programs and softball programs.
James R. France·
You will find Jim France’s name almost everywhere at Manchester High School – the principal’s office, football office, football stadium, and the hall of fame – primarily because of his love for kids, especially those who play football. He has parlayed that love, his organizational ability and long hours of hard work into one of the most successful coaching careers in the Greater Akron area. France, who recently entered his 25th year at Manchester, is the school’s winningest football coach with a record of 193 wins, 53 losses and 3 ties. Since 1989 the Panthers have been almost unbeatable, winning 67 of 70 regular season games, making the Ohio Division IV playoffs six years (1989 & 1991 thru ’95). France has had four 10-0 seasons in that span. For his efforts, Jim has earned coach of the year honors in the Suburban League (1974), the All-Ohio League (1976 and ’84), the PAC-7 (1990, ’91, ’92, ’94 and ’95) and in Summit County (1989 & 1992). One of his crowning achievements came in 1990 as recipient of the Akron Beacon Journal’s Clem Caraboolad Coach of the Year Award, which annually goes to someone who touches and changes lives.