When you played football at Fairmont East, only one thing mattered: beating Fairmont West.
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East is long gone, having since merged with West to reform Fairmont High School. What remains are scrapbook memories from those who performed so well in the Columbia blue and red as Falcons.
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Opened in 1963 and tucked in the eastern corner of Kettering next to Beavercreek, Fairmont East initially struggled athletically in most sports, including football. But under head coaches Doug Schmidt (1969-74) and Rusty Clifford (1975-82) that dramatically changed.
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A 3-0 Week 6 upset of Beavercreek in the 1970 season is regarded as the program’s kick-start win. That led to East’s first winning season in 1971 and its first defeat of rival West. In 1972 East beat West again, lost only 36-33 in three OTs to Troy and earned its only Western Ohio League co-championship with a program-best 9-1 season.
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Here’s who we consider the all-time seven best football players at Fairmont East High School, the 11th in a continuing series. Have something to say about this alphabetical list? Email your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Location: Kettering, Montgomery County.
Affiliation: Western Ohio League.
Merged: With Fairmont West in 1983 to become Fairmont High School.
1. Tom Adams, QB/DB, 1972: A football, basketball and baseball standout for the Falcons. The starting QB, switched to receiver following an injury, which allowed Mike Wagner to assert himself under center. Swept all honors as a senior DB, including third team All-Ohio. Led team with seven INTs and returned one for a TD in the first defeat of West in 1971.
Just as successful in baseball and was a starting outfielder as a junior for the Class AAA state runner-ups in 1971. As a pitcher he was 7-0 as a senior and struck out 16 in a game against Springfield North. MVP in baseball at Dayton and also was an academic All-American in 1974.
Longtime high school football coach, serving as head coach at Sycamore and Springfield South. Continues to be active as an assistant football coach in a career that has spanned 43 seasons.
2. Russ Compton, OL/DL, 1974: Unblockable nose guard influence on the 1972 title team. Team MVP as a senior, All-Ohio and first East rep to play in the OHSFCA North-South All-Star Game at Canton. Also was team MVP in wrestling and track as a senior, finishing third in state wrestling as a heavyweight.
A four-year starter at OL for Indiana. Voted the Hoosiers’ most outstanding senior. Switched to center and played three seasons in the USFL for the Tampa Bay Bandits (1983-84) and New Jersey Generals (1985). At the time of his induction into Fairmont’s athletic hall of fame was a firefighter and paramedic for the Hoover Fire Department in Hoover, Alabama.
3. Brady Hoke, OL/LB, 1977: Long before he landed the head coach job at Michigan he was a two-way Falcons standout. A rare nine-time varsity letter winner in football, wrestling and baseball. Captain and football MVP as a senior center and linebacker.
Followed older brother Jon Hoke and played four seasons at LB for Ball State. The Cardinals captain as a senior and among the team’s leading tacklers for three seasons. Graduated with a criminal justice degree, but pursued football coaching instead.
Returned as Ball State head coach and was the MAC coach of the year in 2008. Left to become head coach at San Diego State, where he was the Mountain West coach of the year in 2010. Was the Big Ten coach of the year in his first season at Michigan in 2011. That meant he was coach of the year in three different conferences in a span of four seasons.
Currently a defensive line assistant at Tennessee after being Oregon’s defensive coordinator last season.
4. Jon Hoke, DB, 1975: Brady’s older brother. MVP in football as a senior. Also outstanding in baseball and starred for a WOL title team as a sophomore. Walked on to play football at Ball State, where he started as a DB for four seasons and played on MAC title teams in 1976 and ‘78. All-MAC as a junior and senior. Played in the NFL with the Bears in 1980.
Has been coaching football since, including 19 years in college and 15 years in the NFL with the Texans, Bears and Buccaneers. Currently in his second season as Tampa Bay’s DB coach.
5. Jeff Long, QB/DB, 1978: Best known as the guy who fired Bobby Petrino as the Arkansas head football coach and serving as the first chairman of the College Football Playoff Selection Committee.
Before all that was a football and baseball Falcons standout. As a QB guided East to consecutive seasons of 6-3-1 and 7-3. More importantly, his two TD passes beat top-rated West as a junior. Trumped that with a 26-22 defeat of West as a senior when the Dragons were unbeaten and unscored upon.
Earned seven letters in football and baseball at Ohio Wesleyan. Initially went into college football coaching, but gave that up to pursue college athletics administration. Good call. He’s been in high ranking positions at 10 institutions and has been the vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics at the University of Arkansas since 2008. Remains a selection committee member and often is the go-to member for national media.
6. Jim Schumann, OL/DL, 1978: An outstanding offensive tackle, was team MVP as a senior and the WOL lineman of the year. Also a second-team All-Ohioan, played in the North-South all-star game at Canton. Considered East’s best O-lineman in program history and was a rock on the left side. Also played tennis at East.
Accepted scholarship to play football at BGSU, where he majored in biology. A three-year starter, a senior on the 1982 team that won a MAC title and lost 29-28 to Fresno State in the California Bowl. Helped BG senior teammate Chip Otten gain 131 yards rushing (to go with 11 catches) and score once in the bowl game. Otten is now Coldwater’s ultra-successful head coach.
7. Mike Wagner, QB, 1973: An outstanding passer in an era of mostly off-tackle football. Under center for the program-defining teams of 1971-72. Team MVP and first team All-Ohio as a senior. East was a football co-champion and basketball champ in the WOL his senior season. Backup to Sherman Smith on 1974-75 MAC title teams at Miami.
Completed postgraduate work with honors in Osteopathic Medicine at Kirksville College in Missouri. Maintains a family practice at Tawas City, Michigan.
Special mention, Rob Taylor, OL/DL, 1978: Yet another massive member of the great Class of 1978. Stood 6-6 and 293 pounds. No wonder he was All-WOL in football, basketball and baseball.
All-Big Ten at Northwestern when Wildcats football had flat-lined in the Big Ten, going 1-42-1 in his four seasons there. Taken in the 12th round of the 1982 NFL draft by the Eagles. Asserted himself in the USFL with the Chicago Blitz, Birmingham Stallions, Arizona Wranglers and Houston Gamblers (1982-85).
Upstart Tampa Bay took a chance on him in 1986 and the rest is Buccaneers’ O-line history. Had 91 career starts as an anchor at right tackle from 1986-93. Ballooned to 340 pounds after retiring and participated in six-month research study that promoted weight loss for former NFL players at Tampa General Hospital and USF Health Bariatric Center, losing 93 pounds.
Entrenched in Christian ministry, he’s a pastor at Idlewild Baptist Church in Tampa. His bio includes: “The titles that Rob cherishes the most are Christ-Follower, Susan’s husband and Kelby, Kelley, Kent and Kyle’s dad …”
Honorable mention: Mike Baker, QB, 1968; Terry Bell, RB, 1980; Tom Bell, RB/DB, 1980; Scott Keifer, RB, 1983; David McMichael, OL/DL, 1970; David McVey, LB, 1981; Randy Tamaska, TE/LB, 1972; Terry Tamaska, WR/DB, 1974.
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