DAYTON - When one thinks of traditions of excellence, in sports, it is commonplace to remember the outstanding players, the big games, the game-deciding plays.
Lost in the jubilation and memories, all too often, are the men who called the plays and developed the players who made them work.
On Friday night, fittingly at a football game spotlighting some of the best area football players, the Miami Valley Football Coaches Association honored, not one, but two legendary football coaches from Piqua.
Coach George Wertz and Coach Chuck Asher were both enshrined in the MVFCA Coaching Hall of Fame.
Wertz had a 25-year career, beginning in 1925, as head coach of Piqua Central High School. His tenure as head coach defined the hard work and dedication to athletics that has become tradition in Piqua.
For Asher, this was his sixth Hall of Fame induction. Other institutions who have previously honored Asher’s dedication and accomplishments include The University of Lousiville, Butler County, the Ohio High School Athletic Association, Piqua High School and Middletown High School.
Asher said of his induction into a hall of fame as voted by his peers, “It’s a pretty special feeling when your peers decide you belong in that hall of fame. It makes you feel pretty good about the years past.”
Most great coaches will credit coaches from their youth as mentors and even role models. Asher is no different, having played for another legendary coach, Tiger Ellison, who coincidentally, coached with Wertz earlier in his career.
While in high school, Asher was selected to play in an All-Star game that was coached by Wertz. “That’s where I first met him,” said Asher.
Of Tiger Ellison, who was also inducted into the MVFCA Hall of Fame this year, Asher said, “Tiger probably had as much to do with me wanting to be a coach as anybody I can ever think of.”
Looking back on his years as a “rookie” coach and following in the footsteps of the already legendary Wertz, Asher said, “In a sense, it was the standard that he had set. One of my goals was to re-establish that concept.” He went on, “I was thinking, if I just live up to that standard, I think we will be doing a good job.”
Asked about and special games that come to mind, Asher pointed out the Piqua vs. Troy games. The Rivalry. “It was always memorable,” Asher said, “One way or the other, it was always a big week.
Following his retirement from Piqua, Asher went on to coach at Bellfountaine and finished up his legendary career coaching the Lehman Cavilers.