Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia on June 30, 1974 · Page 29
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June 30, 1974

Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia · Page 29

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Charleston, West Virginia
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Sunday, June 30, 1974
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Page 29
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1C -Junr3M.I9Tt Rezzy Wore His Toga With Great Pride None of the 65 members of the West Virginia Sports Writers' Hall of Fame wore their toga with more pride than Art Rezzonico. who died last week at his home in Vero Beach. Fla. And none of the 65 members were more deserving of the honor than Rezzy. who not only was an outstanding athlete in high school and college, but a prominent football and basketball official, a baseball umpire of note and a baseball league official. ' He coached at junior high, high school and college levels, was once athletic director and later business manager at Morris Harvey. He also was business manager for the Charleston Rockets of pro football. So. who else ever participated in athletics on . a, wider scale than Rezzy? At 75. he was the ; victim of a massive heart attack which came · only a little more than a month after he visited '- Charleston to attend the Victory Awards din- · ner here to be with other members of the Hall · of Fame.... '·· * * * J; Happy Days at Oak Hill - -It would seem that Rezzy most enjoyed his .-·athletic career in his later years, when things ^ came a little easier for him. -· But we always thought he really was happi- ' est back in those trying days leading up to the · depression (1925-29)' when he was coach of all v sports at Oak Hill High School and had to lean ;oa his lite-time friend. Dr. Walter "Muley" . Walker for his only coaching assistance. Dr. ;'Walker was then Oak Hill's principal. ~ ';·'; I)r. Walker recalled those days last week in : mourning the death of his old comrade. · ^ "He did many great things for Oak Hill High ·'.School." Walker recalled, "and strangely en'.^ugh, he lost his job by doing one of the things £ his conscience told him to do. ·' ;''! have always admired him for that but it "was no exceptional thing for him to do in keep, 'ihp with his good morals and his keen desire Uo do the right thing." ... .'":'!; * * * ,; 1 Gambling Gets Out of Hand Dr. Walker remembered that Rezzy's Oak ^'jHill team of 1928 was a dandy and when it came ' ;time to meet the Red Devils' old arch enemy. ! .Mount Hope, there was much speculation, not '. a's to whether Oak Hill would win--but by what ^scoring margin would the Red Devils win. · ;·';:'}'People everywhere around these two towns : 'were betting." Dr. Walker said. "All week long i : ,wbrd came back to Rezzy and the team that ir,0ik Hill people were expecting him to run up a ·big score and that it would take just that to pro- ":;tect their bets. '/': '''Rezzy didn't like this at all. And on the day '^fHhe game, he took his varsity players.to the ;jiQak Hill stadium and told them to stay there ; .until he got back. ; ; 'ij J'He then took his second team to Mount j: -iHope. Oak Hill won the game but by a small .:?«Sore and the many people who had bet on the Red Devils lost their shirts * * * Board Member Is Victim "It so happened that one of the men who had bet heavily was on the board of education and he became furious because Rezzy had left the first team at home." Dr. Walker related. There were others who thought they had been let down. too. so the feeling against Rezzy grew and not long after that Dr. Walker was notified by the board to search for another coach. "I didn't really look so hard for a new coach as I did to find Rezzy another job," he added. "And finally I was able to interest Morris Harvey in taking him on as an assistant coach." Rezzy spent only one year at Morris Harvey, however, because his heart was in coaching at the high school level. So there came tours of duty at Hurricane, Rainelle. Ansted and Gauley Bridge before he returned to Morris Harvey in 1935. In 1937. he became coach at Thomas Jefferson Junior High here in Charleston and later moved up to the administrative end of the school system, where he stayed until his retirement * * it Program A Record Book To cover Rezzy's athletic career in detail would be to write a book because he was so active on so many fronts for so long. But we best remember him as a true friend and one who was never reluctant to lend a hand. One thing Rezzy did. which might seem insignificant to many, was to produce the program for the first Victory Awards dinner here back in 1945. To get out a program for such an event wouldn't seem to be a project of any great dimensions. But for Rezzy it was. And the sports writers of this state can long be grateful for the job he did because the program he turned out actually became a record book of great and lasting value. His researching brought out a list of all champions--individual and team--up to that time. And in the years that followed, the writers simply had to add to them to keep them current and to retain them as a valuable record book. This was one incident which brought out the intensity of this man who thrived on being useful to others.... English Prince Triumphs DUBLIN AP) - Priaee and Imperial Pnaee made Saturday a graad day for the Williams family at Ire- laud's famous Curragh racecourse by running 1-2 in the £50,000 Irish Sweeps Derby. British Col. Hue Williams might be a little disappointed tteat his 115 favorite linpenaj Priaee fiaisbed seeoad But be had to be happy far the wianifig owaer -- fats wife Vera. The race is certain to bring joy to at least 36 people, the holders of winning tickets in ifce Irish Hospitals S*$*p- staJkes. They will win prizes of $24 000. $48.000 dollars or a jackpot of $125.000 dollars for the holder of a ticket on English Prince. His Boys Win Track Title Little of the credit will go to Rezzy, but Oak Hill people can thank him personally for devel- _ f oping a track team at their school which won SOltbaH 1 OUFIieyS the state championship. That was in 1930, a year after Rezzy had moved out. But the boys who made it possible-fellows like Joe Sawyers, Olis "Hootch" Terry and Bill Burgess--were products of the Rezzonico coaching touch. .; ART REZZONICO Dead But Not Forgotten Oak Hill, under new coach H. K. Gavin, scored 39 '* points to take the state meet, beating Huntington's 25'if points. Parkersburg's 23. Charleston's 14 and Triadelphia's 14. Sawyers, later to coach at Sissonville, was high point man with 13' i points while Terry picked up 10. Terry won the discus and javelin and tied for first with Patsy Slate, of Weirton, in the high jump. Sawyers won the pole vault, the 100 and 220 yard dashes. Burgess, despite a sprained ankle, won third places in both the mile and half mile.. .. * * * 1920 Team His Favorite If there was one particular football team and one particular football game Rezzy mentioned often, it was the 1920 Morris Harvey team, when he was the star running back and his pal. "Muley" Walker, was his blocker. There are only four of these players still living. Besides Walker, they are John Thompson and W. W. Westfali who played guards, and Hollis "Deacon" W e s t f a l i , who played tackle. Golden Land, right end on tharteam, died just recently. That team will long be .remembered as the one that DR. WALKER crushed Marshall College, 47-0. in one of Morris Harvey's greatest football victories, and Rezzy, who was later to be named on the all-time Morris Harvey all-star football team, played a most prominent part in this victory. Those were happy days for Rezzy but there were even happier days to come--especially at Oak Hill, where he started an athletic program which was to take its place with the best in the state. Also while coaching at Oak Hill, Rezzy won the greatest prize of all when he was married to a pretty little school marm named Myrtle "Sunny" Lowry, who was to become a great inspiration to him down through the years. Rezzy will long be remembered by all West Virginians as one of our greatest contributions to athletics and as one who stood up for the highest principles of honesty and fair play. .. . 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