Timeout with Tambo: Education needs more ‘old school’ guys like Tony Prasher
By Bill Tamburrino
Anybody who knows Tony Prasher knows what the term old school means.
Tony is Old School. He is a World War II vet. He is a retired teacher, coach and athletic director — in that order. He is a member of what Tom Brokaw calls “The Greatest Generation.” We can read in English because of Tony and a million other GIs.
On Oct. 4 Tony and his wife of 41 years, Trish (a former employee of the Ramona Sentinel), traveled to Ohio, and Tony was inducted into the Summit County Sports Hall of Fame.
To be eligible for induction into the SCSHOF, one has to have been outstanding in one or more organized sports. Inductees must have been a member of a championship team, recipient of an individual athletic reward or honor, or have been elected as a member of an honorary athletic team on a state, conference, league, national or international level.
Tony joined such notables as Ara Parseghian (Notre Dame), Bo Schembechler (Michigan) and Jim Tressel (Ohio State) in the SCSHOF.
He met all of the qualifications as a high school and college football player and a high school football coach. He was a three-year varsity letterman at Akron Kenmore High School. His team won the Akron City Series Football Championship in 1942.
Tony achieved the ultimate dream of all linemen (in those days players played both offense and defense) when he recovered a fumble in the end-zone for a touchdown in the championship game. The TD was the margin of victory in a 25-21 game. He earned all league as a lineman for Kenmore High School.
After helping his high school team win the championship, Tony enlisted in the Navy in 1944 and helped his country win the war. Following his discharge, he enrolled at Heidelberg College and earned four varsity letters as a guard in football. His teams went 32-4 in four seasons, and in 1948 went 9-0 to win the Ohio Conference Football Championship. He was an All Ohio Conference Guard and received All Ohio Honorable Mention.
Tony then embarked upon a 30-year career in education. During his tenure at Norton High School, NHS became the dominant school in the Metro League in Summit County. His NHS teams won three Metro championships in seven years.
During his tenure Norton won 19 straight games and went undefeated in 1959. For his efforts Tony was selected the Summit County Coach of the Year, and he was chosen to serve as an assistant coach to Coach Leo Stang in the 1960 Ohio North-South High School All Star Game.
When asked what he taught at Norton High School, Tony answered, “I taught PE and history.”
When pressed, he also stated he taught at risk students and helped them learn job skills and get jobs.
It was difficult writing this article because Tony would rather talk about his family, children, grandchildren, former players and coaches. He told me to do the research. Tony is a selfless individual.
I have known Tony for over 30 years and I have never heard him talk about his won-loss record or his success as a coach. He has, however, on many occasions bragged about the successes of his students, players and coaches.
Upon moving to Ramona after retiring — “I love Ohio but I don’t love the weather” — Tony served as a substitute teacher for the RUSD. He got the nickname of “Easy Money” from Jose Cobian because he loved teaching and interacting with the kids of Ramona and called substitute teaching easy money. For most people it is not, but for Tony it was. Tony is also a charter member of the Ramona Bulldog Boosters Club.
Tony knew that sports would be in danger, so he got involved.
“In Ohio no taxpayer money is used for sports,” he said. “I knew that if sports were to survive Ramona would have to raise money to help the student athletes.”
The winning spirit generated by the success of the Norton teams had tremendous impact upon the school system, the Norton community, and the Summit County athletic experience, he said.
For nearly 50 years the accomplishments of Tony Prasher continue to stand tall in the annals of Norton High School, Norton High School football, Metropolitan Football League and Summit County coaches.
For these reasons, Anton “Tony” Prasher stands among the Summit County Sports Hall of Fame esteemed 2011 Inductee Class,” reads the SCSHOS citation about Tony.
Tony has been a contributing member of two communities: one in Ohio during his career and one in Ramona during his retirement. He is a member of the Ramona Veterans of Foreign Wars post and is an active member of the Spirit of Joy Lutheran Church.
Our schools need more Old School guys and gals like Tony Prasher.
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