Coach Ralph “Buck” Weaver Football Coach
Ralph Weaver coached football at Fitch from 1936-1942 and 1947. He moved to California and, in 1948, coached at Pittsburgh High School in San Francisco. He then coached at Redlands High School from 1949 until 1956.
While at Fitch, his teams won the school’s first TMC Championships in 1938 and 1939. His teams hold the record for the most consecutive shut-outs (8), the fewest points allowed in a season (13), and the fewest average points allowed per game (1.4). His coaching record with the Falcons is 49-21-1, and he ranks as the second winningest coach.
At Pittsburgh High School, his team won the championship by beating the #1 school in California (Berkeley). At Redlands High School, he won three league championships and he was inducted into their Hall of Fame. His winning percentage there (75%) in the second highest in Redlands history.
Coach Weaver’s high school coaching record is an amazing 107-36-4. He was also an assistant coach with the LA Rams.
D’Nelle Seiple Basketball / Softball 1988
D’Nelle Seiple was born and raised in Austintown. She began sports at the age of nine, with the love of softball. Raccoon and Libbey Fields were her stomping grounds as she played in the Austintown Softball League until she was 14. From there she found the passion for basketnall. She played roundball during both years at Frank Ohl Middle School and all four years at Fitch. D’Nelle was Co-Captain and Tri-Captain during her Junior and Senior years. She was coached by Richard Hura and Mary Ann McGaghan.
Basketball required self-discipline and it served as a test of responsibility. For D’Nelle, the most important and most meaningful part of playing high school and college basketball was that she had a platform to make her mother, Leah Sabo, proud. During the eight years, her mom missed only four of 190+ games.
D’Nelle felt blessed to receive a full scholarship to Miami University, Oxford, Ohio where she was a four-year starter. In assists and steaks she was ranked in the top five in the country. Following graduation, she coached in basketball camps eat Duke, Notre Dame, Purdue, and Ohio State. Currently, D’Nelle is the Youth Sports League and Program Director at the Central YMCA.
Fred Billock Football / Track 1969
Fred (“Bud,” “Buddy,” “Fuzzy”) was born in Youngstown, over with his family to Austintown in 1954, and graduated from Fitch in 1969. At age 9, he began playing organized sports in the Austintown Little League and continued through the Pony and Colt Leagues. He played for two years with the West Side Colts. At Fitch, Fred earned two letters in football under Hall of Fame Coach Jim D’Eramo, playing both ways as a Senior at tailback and defensive back. Also as a Senior, he was team Co-Captain and was named to the First Team Defense All Steel Conference.
Fred also participated in track, earning three letters under Hall of Fame coaches Mike Garcia and Ralph Roberts. His events were the 440, mile relay, and long jump. As a Junior he helped set the school record in the mile relay; and, in his Senior year, Fitch won the Mahoning County and Steel Valley Conference meets. After Fitch, Fred accepted a football/academic scholarship to Rutgers University, where he lettered two years as a “monster” back, or strong safety. He earned a BS in Electrical Engineering, married Cheryl Babinchak (’70), earned his Master’s in Electrical Engineering at University of Florida, and moved back to Northeast Ohio. Fred has had several positions with Union Carbide and Allen-Bradley (Rockwell Automation). He co-founded Western Reserve Controls and now is its President and CEO. He and Cheryl have lived in North Royalton for 36 years.
Raymond Hartman Football / Track 1945
Raymond Hartman grew up in Cornersburg and attended the original FHS for all twelve years. Although he earned three varsity letters in track under Coach C.P. Stone, Raymond excelled on the gridiron. He spent his Freshman year on the practice squad and as a Sophomore, he was named starting fullback and linebacker under Coach Ralph Weaver. In 11th grade, Ray was named team captained he played right halfback when the offense switched to the “T” formation under new coach Ralph Robinette. In 1944, his Senior season, the Falcons held their opponents scoreless in 8 of 9 contests (outscoring the opposition 244-0). After his senior campaign, Raymond earned FHS’s highest athletic honor when he was selected for the “Outstanding Athlete” award for 1944-45.
After graduation he served an 18-month term in Troop D, 42nd Constabulary Squadron in the European Theater. He supervised and directed the activities of a section i patrolling and guarding occupied territories in the waning days of World War II. Raymond began his career at the Ohio Bell Telephone Company in 1947, retiring in 1989. He celebrated 61 years of marriage to Edna; has four sons, nine grandchildren, and five great grandchildren, and resides on nine acres in Canfield.
Rex Luckage Wrestling 1978
Rex Luckage grew up in Austintown. In the eighth grade he began wrestling with the Freshman class – a year earlier than his peers. He was fortunate enough to participate in a few matches for Fitch despite his age. In Rex’s freshman year, he was on the Junior Varsity team and, due to the injury of another wrestler, he was able to wrestle in several varsity matches and earn his varsity letter. During his sophomore year he wrestled varsity at 155 pounds. This was a challenging year, but also a very good learning experience. As a junior, Rex was able to place 4th in the Ohio State Tournament. His senior year was a success with a few ups and downs. He ended up taking 5th at the Ohio State Tournament.
In his Freshman year of college, Rex wrestled varsity for Slippery Rock State University which helped prepare him to continue his wrestling at Youngstown State University. After “red shirting” his Sophomore year at YSU, Rex went on to participate in the NCAA Tournament as a junior, taking 8th place and earning “All American“ status. After working in construction for several yeras, Rex found his niche working as a ranger for ten years at the Fellows Gardens/Davis Center at Mill Creek Park. His Mill Creek, master gardner experience led him to employment as a salesman for Nordlies Wholesale Flower Company in Trumbull County.
Rex has been happily married to his wife, Debra. Together they enjoy their four children and four grandchildren. They continue to live in Austintown.
Bill Beinecke Football 1967
Fan Austintown and Class “B” baseball standout, Bill Beinecke transferred to Fitch from Ursuline after his Freshman year. After lettering in his junior year, Beinecke, along with other Fitch Hall of Famers, Ron Pavlechko and Randy Bokesch, led Fitch to an 8-1 Senior season record. Although he had played football for only two years, Beinecke received several Division 1-A football scholarships. He eventually chose the University of Pittsburgh over the Purdue Boilermakers.
Bill was promoted to the starting left tackle position in the third game of his Sophomore year and remained as a starter his entire career. He started 28 consecutive games for the Panthers and logged more playing time and career starts than any of his teammates. He had the distinction of playing in what was selected as the greatest game in the 75-year history of Pitt Stadium. On October 17, 1970 the once-beaten and #15 ranked Pitt Panthers hosted Bobby Bowden’s West Virginia Mountaineers. Before a capacity homecoming crowd, Pitt scored just before half time to make the score West Virginia 35, Pitt 8. Ten thousand people left the game at half time thinking it was over. Pitt scored 29 points in the second half with the last coming with 45 seconds left in the game. Pitt won, 36 to 35.
Beinecke turned down professional football contracts with the Buffalo Bills and Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian football league.He returned to the Youngstown area and has retired as General Manager of Operations for RG Steel. He is a member of the Pitt Golden Panthers and Pitt Varsity Letter Club. Beinecke and his wife Barbara live in Howland, have have 4 children, and 9 grandchildren.
Football Team 1992
FRONT ROW: Mike Polder, Jason Fritz, Darren Burgy, Dale Sullivan, Nike Harris, Eric Orwell, Narc Presley, Hoe Ferraro, Nick Siciliano, Steve Cox, Bill Valas, Jason Kokoski, Jason Cochran, and Wally Hurdley.
SECOND ROW: Scott Airato, Keith Deeds, Jason Bokesch Bobby Moore, Sean Fitz-Patrick, Jeremiah Felton, Shawn Kamrad, Head Coach Dave Hartman, Rob Senn, Don Tul, Chris Inglis, James Treharn, Dan Inglis, Bill Goldner, and Don Sherwood.
THIRD ROW: Brian Vail, Mike Rossell, Scott Fitz-Patrick, Jon Miller, Ken Zapko, Assistant Coach Joe Brooks, Assistant Coach Don Houser, Defensive Coordinator Jack Kenney, Assistant Coach Paul Cassano, Marshall Silvernail, Mike Fairbanks, Bill Minter, Andrae Turner, Shawn Davis, and Chris Ciolli.
BACK ROW: Nick Wren, Jason Hill, Jim Hlinka, Brian Senvisky, Kevin Burgy, Assistant Coach Wally Ford, Assistant Coach Alan Kimmel, Assistant Coach Mike Rasor, Assistant Coach Mark D’Eramo, Bill Smaltz, Derek Yost, Cliff Duke, John Zimmerman, and Sam Swogger.
The 1992 OHSAA Football Playoff format selected four teams per division. Although he Falcon’s Steel Valley Conference schedule was rough, as usual, they outscored their SVC opponents 108-20. Wins over Massillon Washington (Coach Hartman’s alma mater) and Lakewood St. Edward along with three shutouts and holding three opponents to fewer that 100 yards of offense, insured the playoff appearance. Concluding the season with a 39-0 victory over Boardman and a 29-6 win over Ursuline left no doubt about the season’s outcome.
The week one playoff game against Massillon Perry at Paul Brown Stadium resulted in a 27-6 Falcon win. In week two, Fitch dismantled 11-0 Pickerington in a 49-7 victory. The season ended with a loss to St. Ignatius, 31-7. They went on to the state championship. Thus, the 1992 season ended with a 10-3 record and the Falcons outscoring their opponents 306-125. Many players Coach Hartman earned many post-season awards.
Bob Alleman Football 1971
Bob Alleman, Fitch Class of ’71, played offense and defensive tackle, was named to the 1970 All SVC Team at defensive tackle, and was selected to play in the Ohio North-South All Stat Game as an offensive guard.
After graduation, Bob served for two years in the U.S. Marine Corps where he began playing rugby for the Kansas City Rugby Club. He is a charter member of the Youngstown Rugby Club, serving as captain for five years. In addition to Kansas City and Youngstown, he played for the Dallas Harlequins and completed one international tour with the Rochester Rugby Club.
Bob graduated from Youngstown State University in 1977 and began teaching and coaching in Austintown Schools. He now teaches science at Canfield Middle School. He has a 30 year coaching career in Austintown and Canfield. He also coached and managed the Austintown Girls Softball League for 10 years. He was selected to the AGSL Hall of Fame in 2007.
Bob and His wife, Nancy, reside in Austintown. They have two children.
Tim Shina Football 1983
Tim Shina is a Class of ’83 graduate of Austintown Fitch. He played with the Austintown Little Falcons. At Fitch he earned two letters in football and was a two-way starter and Co-Captain in his Senior year.r He was named to the All-Steel Valley Conference team in his Junior and Senior years, the All-Northeastern Ohio team, the All-Ohio team, played in the North-South All Star Game, and received the R&R Mack Truck Award.
After Fitch, he played college football at Westminster College and then transferred to and played for Youngstown State University. He lettered at both schools. He was invited to play American football for the Nottingham Hoods in Nottingham England for a year. He was Offensive Line Coach, Defensive Coordinator and player for the team. His YSU degree is a BA in Art History with minors in computer science and math.
Tim and his wife, Kyong, live in High Point, North Carolina. They have three sons. He is President/Owner of Moon-Shina Insurance Solutions, Inc. He has officiated high school football games for ten years.
Mike Bugar Football 1964
Mike Bugar was quarterback and linebacker, earning two varsity letters for the Falcon Football Team. In 1963 he was Tri-Captain made All-Steel Valley Conference, and received Honorable Mention on the All-Ohio Team. He was a member of the 1962 Steel Valley Championship team.
After graduation, he went to Florida State University in Tallahassee. He earned a B.S. in physical education with a minor in science and graduated in 1969. He earned three varsity letters at Florida State while playing defensive tackle, nose man, and defensive end. He played in the 1964 Gator Bowl, the 1966 Sun Bowl (Outstanding Defensive Player), 1967 Gator Bowl, and in the Inaugural Peach Bowl in 1968.
His coaching experience is extensive. He was in thirteen bowl games and one FCS playoff game. Mike was a graduate assistant under Bill Parcels and he coached at Clemson, University of Florida, Arizona Wranglers, West Georgia College, Louisiana State, Baylor, University of Mary Harden, Jacksonville State University, University of North Texan, and Texas State.
He has two daughters, is married to Jeanne Johnson Bugar, has two daughters, two stepsons, and three grandchildren.
Coach Chris Flauto Football / Track Coach
In 1974 Coach Chris Flauto graduated from Struthers High School where he lettered in football and baseball. As a Junior catcher, in 1973, he led the Wildcats to a Steel Valley Conference Championship and the state semi-finals. He also earned back-to-back Golden Glove Awards in baseball in 1973 and 1974. As a senior walk-on, with the Wildcat football team, Chris earned the Most ValuableDefensive Lineman Award.
After graduating from Youngstown State University in 1979 Chris was hired by Austintown Schools where he taught health and physical education. His football coaching career began under John Savage at Austintown Middle School in 1982. From 1983 through 1989 his middle school football teams went undefeated four times, with four Steel Valley Conference Championships for a 39-10-1 record. The 1988 championship team went undefeated with an 8-0 record which still stands.
In his only year as head track coach, in 1997, the Austintown Middle School team was undefeated, Steel Valley Conference Champs, and Mahoning County Champs. He helped coordinate the red and blue AMS football teams. In 2013 he resigned from his football coaching position with 33 years experience. He currently is Boys’ Assistant Coach at AMS. Chris and his wife Donna reside in Poland with their two children.
Gary Kohl Basketball / Baseball 1983
Gary (Gee) Kohl was born and raised in Austintown. At Austintown Middle School he played 7th and 8th grade basketball under Coach Dan Bokesch. The 8th grade team was undefeated (18-0) and Gary earned MVP honors. He also played football in 8th grade under Coach bob Alleman. That team captured the league Championship, too.
At Fitch, Gary played two years of football. Then he decided to concentrate on basketball and baseball. He earned two letters in basketball under Coach Rich Denaman. He loved to shoot from the outside (without benefit of the three-point arc). Baseball was his favorite sport. He lettered in each of four years under Coach Rich Coppola. As a Senior, he was honored as an All Steel Valley Conference selection. As captain of the team, he helped lead the 1983 team to the state championship game. The state runner-ups were inducted into the Austintown Athletic Hall of Fame in 2009. Gary is the first Fitch player to reach 100 hits for a career.
After high school, Gary went to Kent State University to continue his baseball career. There he became a four-year letter winner and an All-MAC selection in his last 3 years. Following graduation with a bachelor’s degree in physical education, Gary coached baseball in Front Royal, Virginia for the Collegiate Valley League.
Gary and his wife, Mary, have three daughters and live in Mentor, Ohio. He is a licensed realtor working for Remax Traditions. He is also the Athletic Director at St. Mary of the Assumption School.
Vic Kuchmaner Football / Baseball 1982
Vic, a 1982 Fitch graduate, began playing organized sports at the age of nine – playing with the Austintown Little Falcons and the Austintown Little and Pony Leagues. While at Fitch, he was a three-year starter on the varsity football team. As a sophomore, under head coach Jim Patti, he started as a defensive back and returned kick offs on special teams. During his junior and senior years, under new head coach Keith Wakefield and offensive coordinator and Austintown Athletic Hall of Fame inductee Dave Hartman, he became the starting quarterback. He continued to start as a defensive back and return kick offs and punts. Vic also performed the kicking duties for the team which included kicking off, field goals, and extra points. He was honored as the teamMVP in his senior year. He was named to the second team All-Steel Valley quarterback in his junior and senior years. In addition, he was named to the first team All-Northeastern Ohio and the All-Ohio Team as a defensive back. Under Austintown Athletic Hall of Fame Head Baseball Coach Rich Coppola and Assistant Coach John Rorick, he was a three-year letterman, starting in the outfield. During those there years, the Fitch baseball team won the Steel Valley Conference championship each year. In his senior year, the Fitch baseball team was ranked nationally for home run hits during a season. During that same year, Vic led the team and set the single season home run reborn (11) while batting .481. The 1982 team had so much success as a team that every player was named MVP. Vic was also honored by being named to the First Team All-Steel Valley Conference as an outfielder.
Vic accepted an athletic scholarship to continue playing baseball at the University of Ajkron. There he set a school single season record for triples and was named Most Outstanding Freshman. He finished his collegiate baseball career playing for Youngstown State University. At YSU, he tied the school record for home runs, while batting .365 in his senior year. That same year, he was named to the All-Ohio Valley Conference Team as an outfielder.
After graduating from YSU, Vic earned his Doctor of Chiropractic degree and established a practice in 1991. After twenty years in Austintown, Vic and his wife Susan relocated their practice to Charlotte, North Carolina. They have four children.
Marine Sergeant Jim Prommersberger Football 1962
Honorary, Inducted Posthumously
Jim graduated in 1962 and was a member of the Austintown Fitch football team. His positions included starting running back and safety. On the field, he was described as “fearless.” He was known as a “Silent Leader” because he led by example. He was 5’6’’ but played like a giant. He was named to the All-Steel Valley Conference Team and was chosen MVP. As a member of the football team, he displayed integrity, character, and leadership. After high school, he enlisted in the military. He was a Marine and stationed out of Camp LeJeune, North Carolina.
The young Marine graduated 3rd in his class of Engineering and had been trained as a demolitions expert. He was sent to Vietnam. His job was to protect his fellow soldiers and diffuse explosives so his platoon could move on. He went in first. He was known to volunteer and act as a body shield for wounded soldiers until gunfire ceased and he could bring them to safety. Veterans Administration documents verify the countless lives he had saved. Him was hit by mortar and killed in action while lying on top of a comrade on April 16, 1966 at the age of 21. He left his wife, Dana, and two children, James and Kristin. He was awarded both the Silver Star and Purple Heart for his heroic actions. He is being sponsored for “The Congressional Medal of Honor.”
As a Fitch football player and a Marine, Jim is an inspiration to all. His qualities were evident in both his high school career and as he served his country.
Army 2nd Lt. Charles Brown Football 1962
Honorary, Inducted Posthumously
Chas played for the Austintown Fitch Falcon football team during his entire high school career as a defensive and offensive end. His teammates describe him as dedicated, motivated, and a team player. After high school, Chas entered the Army. The qualities that he displayed on the football field were evident as he served his country.
Chas was a second lieutenant and platoon leader with the 9th division stationed out of Fort Riley, Kansas. During active duty in Vietnam, he encountered heavy combat. While attempting to save the lives of his comrades, he provided medical assistance and protection to all of those in need. At this time, violent combat existed. His entire platoon perished in this conflict including Chas. He was killed in action on March 20 1967 at the age of 23. He left his wife, Karen, and a six-month old daughter, Heather.
Chas was a leader and showed outstanding character in the military, just as he did on the football field. He received the Silver Star, Bronze Start, and Purple Heart. Because of the way he lived his life, he is an inspiration to others. He iOS now being sponsored for “The Congressional Medal of Honor.”