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Basketball Before Marty Hill

1942 Windham Bombers Basketball Team

The 1941-42 Windham Bombers team of coach David Thomas won the Portage County Championship that season, recording the best record since the Garrettsville team of 1932 which made it to the state tournament. They are just one of the legendary teams which sports historian George Belden will discuss on November 15 at the Windham Historical Society.

Windham - The history of the legendary Windham High School basketball program will be relived on Monday, November 15, as sports historian George Belden speaks to the Windham Historical Society, at a meeting co-sponsored by the Windham Bicentennial Committee.

This talk is being presented to the public at Katherine Thomas Elementary School, 9032 Maple Grove Road in Windham, with the doors opening at 6:30 for meet and greet and the talk commencing at 7:00 PM.

The title of the presentation is “Basketball Before Marty Hill.” Hill is the current Bomber coach who has taken Windham to statewide fame with his squads which seem to dominate the local small-school hardwood scene.

This will be the first in a series of talks about the great basketball legends of Windham High School.

Belden has spent much of the last year interviewing the greats of Windham’s basketball past, and has spent months in the newspaper archives at Kent State University reading every article ever written about the teams he will present.

His research reveals the origin of Windham basketball in unassuming fashion in the late 1920’s, then jumps to the early 1940’s Bombers of David Thomas, which ruled northeast Ohio in both basketball and six-man football. His 1940 squad featured three boys who were first team All-Americans in football and were just as talented on the basketball floor.

The second coach he will honor is Clayton West, whose early 1950’s teams blitzed through the PCL. His 1951-52 Bombers were undefeated through their first 25 games, the longest winning streak in Ohio that season.

The final coach in this first installment of basketball speeches will be Dick Schlup, whose late 1950’s teams were forced to play an independent schedule against much bigger schools. Schlup’s squads lost only six regular season games in three years.

Many of the boys who played for those three coaches will be returning for the talk, and anyone who remembers their heroics or wants to relive great times in Bomber sports history will not want to miss Belden’s talk.

The Windham Historical Society meets the third Monday of every month to review and discuss new acquisitions and research on this small town on the cusp of its Bicentennial, which will fill Windham with activity in July of 2011. The Society is heavily involved in all the Bicentennial preparations, and is selling a multitude of 200th Anniversary items at the talk.

The Historical Society is always interested in obtaining, whether permanently or on loan, any object with relevance to Windham. Items of special interest include films, pictures, scrapbooks, ephemera, newspapers, advertising, tokens, school items, sports items, or family genealogy.

The society has extensive facilities for copying paper items.

The Society is continuing to sell Ralph Pfingsten’s lavish new book, “The History of the Ravenna Arsenal,” newly published and containing over 900 pictures. The Society and Bicentennial Committee receive a stipend for every copy sold. These books make wonderful Christmas gifts, especially for that  person who has everything. They are available for purchase at the upcoming meeting, by contacting President Lynnea St John at 330-326-6061, or emailing her at lynnya45@yahoo.com.

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