Bob Huelsman
Bob Huelsman

Bob Huelsman is a former high school teacher, coach and administrator, serving for more than three decades at Covington High School, in Miami County. In his 13 years as head basketball coach at Covington, Huelsman won 228 games and five times guided the Buccaneers to the regional round of the state tournament. Currently, he serves as the associate athletic director at Newton High School, and treasurer for the Southwest District Athletic Board. A former member of the Ohio High School Athletic Association Board of Control, Huelsman’s broad background in athletic administration has won the respect of his peers statewide.

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Time passes on, and so do the men and women who shaped your life and made profound impressions.  Like the old Reader’s Digest series, Paul Maltinsky was one of those people…a great coach and a most unforgettable character.

I was saddened when I got the news last week that my old high school football coach, Paul Maltinsky, passed away.

Although, he only coached me my freshman and sophomore years (like many coaches, he probably knew the talent pool was low), he was, and is,  the “Father of Minster Football”.

Coach Maltinsky came to Minster and started the football program in the late 1940s and coached football through the 1961 season, winning the old Tri-County League championship in 1960.

He came to us out of Ohio State, having lettered 3 years in football (1943, 44, 45).  The 1943 Buckeye squad was coached by the legendary Paul Brown.  In my view “Coach” was Paul Brown and Woody Hayes all rolled into one…one mean “son-of-a-gun”.

Coach Maltinsky had this mean look on his face and kind of stared at us with one eye. Being a puny little freshman, I tried to keep my distance.  He was the coach…the only coach!  Take him or leave him.  I had no choice…I kept him!

Looking back in admiration, he was “old school”.  Of course, “old school” was the flavor of the day everyday!  In those days, one coach for the team was more common than not.  It meant “Coach” coached the centers, guards, tackles, ends, running backs, quarterbacks, kickers, punters, defensive linemen, linebackers, defensive backs, and the water boy.

No, I’m mistaken. He never coached the water boy, because we didn’t have one, as we were not permitted to drink water back in those days. We had to be tough!

Nowadays, we have at least a dozen guys coaching these same positions. Coach Maltinsky coached the all, all the time, all at the same time.  He never had to delegate any responsibilities. He was THE MAN!

I was a freshman quarterback going against the varsity each and every day in practice.  Somehow, I came down with a mysterious arm ailment, and went to see the doctor.  The “Doc” told me to take a few days off, and that was music to my ears, until I found out who the doctor really was.  Coach told me “he” was the “Doc”, and not to go see the doctor ever again, unless I asked permission.  I never asked to see the doctor after that scary moment!

Those were the days.  We did not have two-a-day practices every day, just on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

We only filmed our home games, and loved watching them in the shower (darkest place that “Coach” could find).  I don’t remember if we learned anything from them, but it was hilarious to watch the film in reverse.  Never saw anything quite so funny as that back then.

He “permitted” us to take the varsity players football shoes home every Thursday to clean and polish them so they looked good on Friday.  Have you ever tried to clean six pairs of football shoes and polish all six pairs?  Boy, was that fun!

I saved the best for last, though!  This is the God’s honest truth.  During the season, we had training rules, one being no smoking. Right? Smoking cigarettes must have been a big thing back then because “Coach” promised the team that if they didn’t smoke during the season, we could smoke on the way home, on the bus, after our last game.

So all the players loaded up their duffle bags with cigarettes and cigars for our trip to Versailles, and after the game, on the way home, everyone smoked cigarettes and cigars, like they were going out of style.

As we traveled home on Route 47 and 66, “Coach” was at the wheel of the bus (he was also the bus driver) smoking his usual pipe.  Just imagine a bus with 30 kids and a coach smoking up a storm, windows down, and a trail of smoke rolling out the back.  Newport probably thought we were “fogging” for mosquitoes.

“Coach” was a “Smart Dressed Man”, just as ZZ Top sung about in their song:
Clean shirt, new shoes,
And I don’t know where I am goin’ to.
Silk suit, black tie,
I don’t need a reason why.
Gold watch, diamond ring,
I ain’t missin’ not a single thing.
Cuff links, stick pin……

You see, “Coach” also owned and operated a clothing store, Maltinsky’s Men’s Wear, in Minster.  He was the sharpest dressed man in town and he was our coach.  “Coach” was one of those guys who you thought would never die. Well, he did at the age of 92.

On behalf of all the players who played for Coach Maltinsky, we all owe him a debt of gratitude.  In many ways, it was “Coach” who made us grow up before our time.

 

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