By Greg Gulas
As an Ohio Athletic Conference football official, Brian Meenachan has worked his share of Mount Union games over the years.
He remembers vividly how his crew on occasion would have to explain a call to Purple Raiders coach Larry Kehres, adding that the coach always remained professional and mostly accepting of the explanation that was given.
The two shared the same stage Sunday at the 44th Curbstone Coaches Hall of Fame induction ceremonies at Mr. Anthony’s Banquet Center.
Kehres, who has compiled an impressive 303-23-3 overall mark with 10 NCAA Division III championships and 19 undefeated seasons in 28 years at Mount Union, was the banquet’s guest speaker. He said it comes as no surprise that Meenachan is a hall of fame honoree.
“Brian is one football official who cares enough to put the game above anything else when it is being played,” Kehres said. “As an umpire, he’s in the trenches on every snap and does everything in his power to make the right call.
“The most impressive thing about him, however, is the excellent relationship that he has with both the players and the coaches,” Kehres said. “That to me is special.”
Sixteen were inducted and there was no shortage of stories, kudos and thank yous.
“Coach [Kehres] didn’t question many calls over the course of a game,” Meenachan said. “He is someone who knows the rules so when he does ask about a call, you better have the explanation for him.
“His record speaks for itself, but more than his record he I a man of great integrity; someone who cares about his players way beyond what they do for him on a football field,” Meenachan said.
Matt Giambattista, former Ursuline High baseball coach and one of three diamond inductees, recalled the many friends, teammates, coaches and players over the years who helped him remain passionate about America’s pastime.
“It is not what I have done for you that has given me satisfaction; rather what you have done for me in return that has made me what I am today,” Giambattista said.
Paul McFadden, former YSU and NFL placekicker, credited Bill Narduzzi, the late YSU coach for giving him the opportunity to play football.
Jeff Wilkins, who broke all of McFadden’s YSU kicking marks less than a decade later and enjoyed a successful 14-year NFL career, called McFadden a friend and mentor every athlete should have the opportunity to enjoy.