Homer Hanham                  Inducted 1984 - Teacher/Coach

Homer Hanham made his mark in Toledo athletics as the highly successful coach of Woodward High School basketball teams. But of more far-reaching and long-lasting impact was the influence he exerted, both as a Woodward coach and a long-time executive director of the Boys' Club of Toledo, upon the young people he worked with to make the most of their lives. To him, the building of character was of primary importance, and success in the athletic arena followed naturally from his pursuit of that goal.

 

A graduate of Ypsilanti Normal College (now Eastern Michigan State University), Mr. Hanham came to Woodward as a physical education teacher and junior varsity basketball coach. In his first season as head coach, his 1935-36 team won 15 of its 16 games and the city championship. In his 11 years as varsity coach, his Woodward teams compiled a record of 143 victories against only 49 defeats. In three of those years, his teams won the city championship outright; in four other years, they tied for the city championship.

Under Coach Hanham, four Woodward teams made it to the final rounds of the state tournament in Columbus; his 1944 team came within a hair's breadth of winning the state championship, losing to Middletown in overtime in the finals.

 

There is a long list of Woodward athletes coached by Mr. Hanham who went on to star in college basketball, play professional basketball, teach, coach, or make their mark in other fields. Among those who played for him were two Woodward Hall of Fame inductees, John Payak and Bill Copeland.

 

Mr. Hanham left Woodward and coaching in 1948 to become executive director of the Boys' Club of Toledo, a position he held until his retirement in 1967. This work with and guidance of young people, many of them underprivileged, was for Mr. Hanham a labor of love. Such was his influence on the generation of youth who passed through the Boys' Club during his years as executive director that when the club built its new headquarters on Detroit Avenue, the structure was named the Homer Hanham Building. The program for the dedication of the building in 1976 contains this tribute: "Hidden deep in every man is some of the divine. For some like Homer Hanham this greatness comes to the surface. Because of men like Homer, others were inspired to give beyond the normal measure . "

 

Mr. Hanham died in July, 1972. His successor as Boys' Club executive director, says of him: "Certainly Homer was one of Toledo's outstanding citizens--not only that his leadership reached well beyond our town, for he is known to Boys' Club and youth leadership professionals and laymen across the nation. I'm certain that to educators, especially in the coaching ranks, he also enjoys a special niche."

 

In 1981, the state board of control of the Ohio High School Athletic Association selected Mr. Hanham for enshrinement in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, for "meritorious service to high school athletics."

©2020 Woodward Alumni Hall of Fame

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