By Rob Kiser
It was 41 years ago that the arrival of Duane Bachman as Piqua City Schools superintendent was announced.
And the community of Piqua has been benefiting from that arrival ever since.
So, it is only fitting that Piqua mayor Kazy Hinds has proclaimed Wednesday as Duane Bachman day in the City of Piqua.
“Piqua is very fortunate to have a guy like Duane (Bachman),” Piqua athletic director Chip Hare said. “Whether is was as Superintendent of Piqua Schools, then as voice of WPTW or coming back to the schools and working as a PA Announcer and working on special projects. Those special projects are something he is so good at.”
After retiring as superintendent, Bachman spent 17 years working for WPTW, much of that promoting Piqua Indian athletic teams, as well as other teams from the area.
Joe Neves worked with Bachman much of that time.
“I always said doing games with Duane Bachman was like doing games with the president,” Neves said at Bachman’s retirement in 2008. “That’s because Duane knew everybody. Wherever we went, Duane ran into people he knew. Duane is a guy from the community. Everybody knows him and loves him.”
And while many thought of Bachman as the “Voice of Piqua”, that’s now how he saw himself.
“That’s because I didn’t do just Piqua games,” Bachman said. “We did all the teams throughout the county and some outside it as well. And I enjoyed them all.”
Bachman has received numerous awards such as National High School Sports Publication Award, the Piqua Area Chamber of Commerce Achievement Award, SWDAB Media Service Award, NSPRA/Ohio Crystal Award Finalist and Award of Merit Annual Report and Honorable Mention Proud of Piqua’s Youth to name a few.
Former Piqua athletic director and current Troy athletic director David Palmer has fond memories of working with Bachman.
“I worked with Duane during all my years at Piqua,” Palmer said. “The community is very blessed to have someone like Duane. He has the ability to do those special projects and he knows exactly how to put on that finishing touch to make them extraordinary. When Duane was involved, I knew that when it was finished it would turn out exceptional. The “Duane touch” would be like putting a cherry on the top of an ice cream sundae.
” The sundae by itself is good, but adding that cherry made it great.” “A school can’t do it alone. You need people like Duane and he was always a great asset to me with all the things he did. Piqua is lucky to have someone like Duane.”
Piqua football coach Bill Nees has a special bond with Bachman.
He saved Bachman’s life after he had collapsed walking on the track at Piqua High School one day.
“The thing about Duane when he was with WPTW is he was always looking for a new angle or something different to do,” Nees said. ” A better way to promote the program.
“He definitely was a way with people. He gets along with everyone. I worked with him as a superintendent, with WPTW and now doing special projects. He has a way with people and a way of always making things better. Piqua is very fortunate to have him.”
After retiring from WPTW, Bachman has continued to contribute to the schools, still doing PA at boys and girls basketball games as well as working on numerous special projects — while also enjoying watching many of his grandchildren play.
Bachman and his wife Mary Jane still reside in Piqua and have been blessed with eight children —Kathy, Kayleen, Keith, Kendra, Kevin, Kirk, Kory and Kyle — and many grandchildren.
He still finds time today to do special projects whenever the school needs him and writes a history column for the Piqua Daily Call.
“What people don’t realize is the number of hours he puts in behind the scene,” Hare said. “Just recently, he completed a project on Piqua’s 3-point field goals so we could update our records and have them correct. That took countless hours.
“He is so good with special projects and is currently working on helping us with the 10 year anniversary of the football state champions this fall. We are just excited that the community has chosen to honor him and help him celebrate his 80th birthday.”
During his time at Piqua, Bachman has been instrumental in some major athletic accomplishments.
Included among them would be the move from Roosevelt Field House to the new high school and Garbry Gymnasium; the football field moving from Wertz Stadium to Alexander Stadium/Purk Field at its current location at Piqua High School and most recently, the installation of turf at the stadium.
He proudly sports a state championship from that 2006 football season.
“He bleeds red and blue,” Hare said.
And the City of Piqua — as well as the community — have been benefitting every day since that eventful day in 1975.
Rob Kiser is Sports Editor for the Daily Call. He can be reached at (937) 451-3334.