May 23, 2014
Coach Hardman: 37 Years of Connections
A “D” in chemistry isn’t usually a good thing. But if it weren’t for a “D” that a Piqua High School student earned back in the late 1960s, we would probably have never known Chris Hardman.
It was Piqua where Ottawa Hills teacher and coach Chris Hardman grew up, spending time in the hallways of the high school where his father, Jim, taught, and on the baseball field, basketball court, and football field where his father coached.
“My dad taught history and English at Piqua. It’s all I ever knew. The school was just part of my life. My dad was ‘the’ coach at Piqua. I played football, basketball, and baseball, but my dad only coached me in baseball. I was a leader on those teams, but in hindsight, I think I was
an average player.”
Average or not, Coach Hardman had only one goal in mind: to go to Princeton. And that dream almost came true—almost. “I was recruited to play football at Princeton. I remember it clearly. On April 1, 1969, the recruiter came to visit me. He said, ‘Tell me about your ‘D’ in chemistry.’ I really didn’t have a good answer. I just didn’t work hard enough. He said, ‘I’ll get back to you, but this could be tough.’”
A few weeks later, Mr. Hardman received a letter from Princeton that, in his words, said, “Thanks, but no thanks.” With the Princeton dream dashed, Coach Hardman’s path to northwest Ohio and Ottawa Hills began to take shape.
“Going to Princeton was all I ever wanted to do, so I didn’t have a back-up plan. It was May 31 of my senior year. My dad threw my good friend and me in the car and said, ‘We’re going to see my friend Frank Shannon at Ohio Wesleyan.’ Frank was basketball coach there. We looked around the campus and I said ‘Let’s go here, it looks good.’” Coach Hardman would go on to play basketball and baseball at Wesleyan, graduating with a degree in health and physical education.
“My dad always told me to get my Master’s Degree as soon as possible. Right before I graduated from Ohio Wesleyan, I got an assistantship at BGSU to coach baseball, so that gave me the opportunity to get my Master’s in health and physical education. I spent one year there. One day, walking th
rough the education building, I saw a posting on the bulletin board that said Ottawa Hills High School was looking for a physical education teacher and coach. I took the number and called.”
That phone call led to Coach Hardman stopping in Ottawa Hills for an interview on his way to Ann Arbor for a good friend’s wedding. “Jim Casper gave me a call soon after the interview and said, ‘We’d like you to accept a teaching position here at Ottawa Hills. I’m sure you have other offers, so take a couple of days to think it over.’”
“I didn’t need a couple of days. I called Mr. Casper back and told him, ‘I’m in.’” And that began the first of two chapters for Chris Hardman at Ottawa Hills Schools.
Coach Hardman recounts those early days. “My faith says I was directed to be here, but it wasn’t that simple. After six years of tea
ching and coaching, I was broke. I had young kids and no money, so I made a decision that I had to leave. There were many people with Owens Illinois in the Village and I was assured I could get a job there, so I resigned from my position. I didn’t want to wear a suit, but I had to make more money. The summer rolled along, but no job materialized, so I was really up a creek without a paddle. Jim Casper told me there was an opening at Toledo Central Catholic.”
“I went to TCC, got my first paycheck, and it was a bit of sticker shock. Now I was making even less money. I loved Central, but I didn’t coach. They knew that as soon as Owens Illinois called, I was gone. Finally, on May 1, I got a call, and though it wasn’t Owens Illinois, I had gotten a job at Libbey Glass.”
“I left Central and started working at Libbey. I was a round peg in a square hole. I knew within hours of walking in the door that it wasn’t for
me. I was a shift foreman. It was a seven-day rotating schedule, working 7 to 3 one week, 3 to 11 the next week, then 11 to 7. I was making more money than ever before, but I disliked it every second I was there. One day, I told my supervisor that I didn’t want to be a shift foreman. I thought I would be a good fit for an opening in personnel. The next day, they called me in and told me I didn’t have a job at all and sent me on my way.”
Coach Hardman notes that, as difficult as the experience was at Libbey, every time he drives by he says a silent “thank you” because that experience made him realize that his heart was in education,
and at Ottawa Hills. He remembers, “I never came back to Ottawa Hills after I resigned. I knew I made a mistake. I was never comfortable coming back. I regretted that.”
A job selling cable for Buckeye Cable was keeping food on the table, but the hunt for a path back to education was on. Coach finished a close second for a teaching and coaching position in Bluffton, which ended up being a good thing for Chris Hardman…and for Ottawa Hills.
“I came home one day from work. When I pulled in, I noticed my kids
sitting on the front steps. Hanging on the mailbox was a pair of tennis shoes and an athletic supporter. My wife, Jeanie came out and told me that Larry Geresy had called and asked if I wanted my job back. I literally dropped to my knees. It was an incredible moment.”
For Coach Hardman, chapter two had begun. He dove back into teaching and coaching with a renewed passion and a fresh perspective.
“It’s hard to say what that experience meant for me. I got a chance to come back. Even after 31 years, I’ll never forget that moment. Every day that I’ve walked in these doors since coming back in August of 1983, I’ve been so thankful to be here. Everything that I have is due to this school system and this community. That moment was life changing.”
During his first six-year stint at O.H., Coach Hardman led the cross country program. “I had a choice of coaching cross country or junior high football. Football would seem like the logical choice, but I wanted to
try cross country. I had two kids and one dog show up for my first practice. It wasn’t long before I had 55 kids on my team. There were no buses, so I would assign mothers to take kids to meets. It was quite a parade of cars traveling down the road. We became very good very quickly. I still see those kids that I coached in cross country back in the 70s. That was a special time. I also coached JV basketball and JV baseball during that time and then became the head baseball coach because Ernie Berg had a heart attack.”
When Coach Hardman came back to Ottawa Hills, he coached cross country for th
ree more years. In his words, the advent of soccer meant that kids wanted to “run with the ball” instead of through the woods and over the hills, and the program was never quite the same again. He was varsity basketball coach for one year, after which he flipped positions with Bob Repp and became the freshman coach. “I coached the freshmen and then became JV coach. I coached somewhere in the basketball program for most of the last 31 years. I have 34 years of coaching basketball.”
It would be hard to find another educator who has invested as much time and energy in coaching as Chris Hardman has. After a two-year stint as JV baseball coach on his return to O.H., he became the head of the program again. His illustrious career includes many tri
ps to the state tournament, with a state title in 1986. In the fall of 1986, he had the opportunity to become an assistant football coach. He would coach with Ottawa Hills legend Norm Niedermeier for 12 years and Paul Yunker for 1 year. He then took the reins of the football program, leading it for the past 16 years. He sums up the experience by simply saying, “I was happy to coach football.”
One would think that 37 years of teaching and coaching would bring to mind a treasure chest of memories, but when asked to pick out a few of the sweetest moments, Coach Hardman is hard pressed to do so. His focus isn’t on moments, but on relationships.
“The sweetest memories of my time here? I would have to think about that a long time. Not because there aren’t any. The greatest serendipity of education is relationships. I run across a number of people who are parents of former students or kids that I coached and taught who are now parents themselves, and it’s special. Nothing beats that. It’s wonderful to experience winning games and titles when it’s happening, but it’s even better to talk about it down the road. It’s easy to point out sports mo
ments, but the teaching has meant even more to me than the sports moments. The sports moments are great, but they’re just a part of the bigger picture of being an educator.”
When Coach Hardman retires from teaching at the end of this school year, he will continue to coach baseball for Ottawa Hills. Other than that, he says, he’s not sure what he will do. “I want to do something, it just hasn’t presented itself. I’m taking that step of faith, but my plans are to continue with more vigor and passion than ever, no matter what I do.”
Coach Hardman will continue to be surrounded by his family, which includes daughters Summer, Courtney, Casey and Jackie—all Ottawa Hills graduates—and wife, Jeanie, who has been his constant supporter.
“Jeanie has been something. Coaches’ wives have to be extremely understanding. Jeanie has been more than that. She has encouraged me to spend time pursuing my passion, sometimes at the expense of her own passions. She is an incredible mother, grandmother, and wife.”
Education is part of the fiber of who Chris Hardman is and what he does. It might have taken him a few years away from education to convince him, but for the last 31 years, there has been no doubt in his mind that Ottawa Hills has been the right place for him to be. Thirty-seven total years of service to the students and community of Ottawa Hills is an incredible investment of time and energy, wrapped in a love for what he has been doing every day. “I watched my father love it,” stresses Coach Hardman. “What a great testament to a profession to watch someone you love, love teaching.”
We’ve been fortunate to watch someone we love, love teaching. It would be difficult, if not impossible, to define who we are and what we do at Ottawa Hills without making Chris Hardman part of that discussion. Our story is reflected in what he has done for Ottawa Hills Schools and our students.
The steps of a man’s life are directed by many things—faith, advice, coincidence, choices, and opportunities. And though it might seem like an insignificant incident, it is clear to see, that a “D” in chemistry created a path to Ottawa Hills that led to a lasting and cherished connection between a man, a school district, and a community.
"Art" Coming to O.H. Stage this Weekend
The Ottawa Hills Theatre Department proudly presents the Tony Award winning play, "Art" this weekend. THE STORY: How much would you pay for a white painting? Would it matter who the painter was? Would it be art? One of Marc's best friends, Serge, has just bought a very expensive painting. It's about five feet by four, all white with white diagonal lines. To Marc, the painting is a joke, but Serge insists Marc doesn't have the proper standard to judge the work. Another friend, Ivan, though burdened by his own problems, allows himself to be pulled into this disagreement. Eager to please, Ivan tells Serge he likes the painting. Lines are drawn and these old friends square off over the canvas, using it as an excuse to relentlessly batter one another over various failures. As their arguments become less theoretical and more personal, they border on destroying their friendships. At the breaking point, Serge hands Marc a felt tip pen and dares him: "Go on." This is where the friendship is finally tested, and the aftermath of action, and its reaction, affirms the power of those bonds.
"Art" is the winner of the 1998 Tony Award for Best Play and the 1996 Olivier Award for Best Comedy.
"…wildly funny, naughtily provocative…" —NY Post
"…a nonstop cross-fire of crackling language, serious issues of life and art expressed in outbursts that sound like Don Rickles with a degree from the Sorbonne…Reza is a fiendishly clever writer…'ART' sounds like a marriage of Molière and Woody Allen…" —Newsweek
"Anyone looking for a play that is funny, sophisticated, stylish, stimulating and moving should go to 'ART'." —Independent
Friday May 23 - 7:30 pm.
Saturday May 24 - 2:00 pm & 7:30 pm
Sunday May 25 - 2:00 pm & 7:30 pm
Location: HS Auditorium
Ticket prices are $10 for general admission. There is limited seating for all performances. Tickets are on sale today until noon outside the multi-purpose room. Seating is limited, but standby seating may become available for sold out performances. Tickets are also sold at the door 30 minutes prior to the performances. Tickets can be purchased anytime online by clicking here
. Please note that "Art" is a mature language production.
Tuesday Concert Benefits Carnegie Hall Trip
As we reported in an earlier district newsletter, eighth grader Will Rand
has been accepted to a National Middle School Honor Band on his instrument, the french horn. This group has the amazing opportunity to play at Carnegie Hall this summer. To help defray the cost, Will has organized a benefit concert next Tuesday, May 27, at Epworth U.M. Church on Central Avenue. The concert begins at 7:30 p.m.
The concert is free and features OHJH and OHHS musicians and Instrumental Director Michael Leeds. Donations will be accepted to help Will get to Carnegie. The concert will be less than an hour and will be a great opportunity to support Will and other OH musicians.
The saying goes: "How do you get to Carnegie Hall?- Practice Practice Practice." But your support will also go a long way toward getting Ottawa Hills student, Will Rand, there!
Soccer Opportunities for Villagers
The University of Toledo will be offering summer soccer camps. Half day camps
are offered for ages 5 to 7. Ages 8 to 14 are offered full day camps. The camps ar open to boys and girls. The camp staff is comprised of University of Toledo soccer coaches and players. Online registration can be found by clicking here
. Additional details can also be found in the camp flyer
, which provides information on registering online and additional details about the camp. Flyers will also be available in both school offices.
The Toledo Celtics will also be holding tryouts for their program, June 2 through 5. Flyers regarding the Celtic tryouts are available in both school offices. Information can also be found by clicking here
Girls' LAX Closes Great Season
In only their second season as a varsity sport, the O.H. girls' lacrosse team went through the regular season with an undefeated record of 11- 0. This year posed some early season challenges with weather causing many indoor practices and cancellations of games. The girls, under Head Coach James Petas, were able to hold it together, and as they went through the regular season they realized that this team was something special.
The team secured an excellent seed in the tournament with a first round bye, and home field advantage for the next two games. In the first tournament game the girls performed great, defeating Notre Dame Cathedral Latin 13 -2. Next up for the Green Bears would be state powerhouse Hathaway Brown. Hathaway Brown made the trip to Ottawa Hills to play in the Regional Semifinal this week. The game was filled with excitement as they battled back and fourth. Ottawa Hills eventually fell to Hathaway Brown 13 -10 in a very close contest.
Congratulations to Coach Petas and our LAX players on an outstanding season!
Time to Transition for Sixth Graders
Last Friday, the sixth graders made their way across campus for their first official visit to the junior high school. Their first stop was on the 50 yard line at Niedermeier Stadium where athletic director Tim Erickson greeted our newest Green Bears. After a quick tour of the junior high school they met in the library and were welcomed by K-8 guidance counselor Darcy Browne, assistant principal Jackie Patterson, technology assistant Brooks Spiess, and principal Ben McMurray. Sixth graders were informed about OH Global, the rotating schedule, the roles of support personnel, important study and organizational skills, and overall expectations. Lastly, the students were given some “sage” advice from current eighth graders Claire McLean, Darion Wimmers, and Adit Mukherjee.
Moon Jellyfish and a Live Mermaid Make Prom Magnificent
The 2014 Prom Committee transformed Belmont Country Club to a “Shipwrecked” adventure with their simple but elegant decorations. As guests walked in they were greeted by a live mermaid and a view of a three dimensional sculpture of moon jellyfishes created by artist and parent Patty Koury. Centerpieces included aquariums filled with Siamese fighting fish floating votives. Congratulations to junior class advisor Stephen Bobak and class officers Bea Koury, Katie Kropp, Luke Dangler, Liz Navarre, Dan Reilly, and Katherine Shockey on a planning a sophisticated and successful prom.
The decorations, food, entertainment, and music made for an exceptional evening. Thanks to master DJ Jeremy Nixon for providing the music. Thanks to chaperones Jackie Patterson, Mary Kate Hafeman, Tom McCarthy, Lauren Hurst, Tom Hurst, Jessica Temple, Jon Corbett, Rebecca McLean, Darrin Broadway, Ben McMurray, and Jeanine Bailey. Thanks to officer Dana Mullins and Wood County Sheriff Mark Wasylyshyn for ensuring the safety of our students. Thanks to the staff at Belmont Country Club for providing exceptional service for our faculty and students.
Students Enjoy the Big Chill
The junior parents created a magical experience for over 160
participants in After Prom. Students began their magical night of fun in the auditorium thinking that they were about to embark on a night at the “beach” only to have their introductory video interrupted by local weatherman and Village resident Jay Berschback. He informed the students that a freak winter storm had dumped 10” of snow on the school, creating a crisis for the After Prom planning committee. Students were quickly shuffled through the multipurpose room where they were greeted by two “Abominable Snowmen” and ushered into the main hallway, which had been transformed into an ice cave. Students spent the evening playing games, competing for prizes, watching highlights from Prom, riding a mechanical bull, and dancing in the foam pit.
After-Prom Co-Chairs, Becky Hauck and Katherine Navarre noted, "To be able to hold After-Prom at the school is special. Each year, there is a debate among steering committee members about taking it to another site, such as the UT Rec Center, where we would not have to decorate to the extent we do at school. In the end, the school always wins out, even though it's a monumental task to transform the hallways and different areas. When the students walk the halls that they don't even recognize where they are; it becomes a little magical for the
m. Thank you for allowing us to use the venue which allows us to be 'home.'"
Many thanks to all of the sponsors and to Jay Berschback. Special thanks go to After Prom Co-Chairs Katharine Navarre and Becky Hauck and to all of the junior parents for their time and creativity. Many of the committee members are pictured here.
Boys' Tennis Team Marches On
The Ottawa Hills boys' tennis team advanced to regional semi finals in state team competition to face Shelby. The team plays today at 3:30 at Shelby. With a win, the team would mostly likely play Lexington on Tuesday or Wednesday of next week, with the winner qualifying for the the state team championships on Sunday, June 1 in Columbus.
Also, the doubles team of Matt Gargas and Ryan Simon qualified for the District Championship on Saturday in Bowling Green. By doing so, they have punched their ticket to the State Championships on Friday, May 30 and 31, at Ohio State University.
Congratulations to our team and to Matt and Ryan. Best of luck as you continue down the tournament trail!
Science Expo is a Hit
OHES held their second
annual Science Expo this past Wednesday. Students became scientists many weeks ago, selecting science experiments that interested them. They then executed their experiments with integrity, paying careful attention to their controlled and independent variables and their effect on the outcomes of their field tests. Students collected data to support or disprove their hypotheses, and created presentation boards and portfolios to represent their results. The complexity of many of the selected experiments was impressive, and the dedication of students to science was amazing. Several experienced professors of science spent time as “feedback specialists” providing students with guidance on various elements of each experiment. Thank you professors!
The original goal of the expo was to create excitement for science for OHES students. This was undoubtedly accomplished! Students in younger grades who visited the Expo received stickers in their “passports” which could be turned in to their teachers in exchange for a lollipop. Amidst the 5th
grade scientists were several STEM-focused sponsors, including Build It, Toledo Zoo, Ottawa Hills 7th
grade scientists, and a NASA scientist, who actually shot off a rocket, that needed to be recovered from the school roof after its landing!
O.H. Students Honored at Claire’s Day
This past Saturday, several students were recognized for their success in
reading at the annual Claire’s Day celebration at the Maumee branch of the Lucas County Public Library System. Students were honored by the creators of the Claire’s Day award, and took the stage, giving high fives to their teacher and principal. Congratulations to Chris and Geneva Howard, Riley Nixon, Claire Rotman, Mia Feeback, Ethan Cotterman, Daniel Williamson, and Zachary Amonett. Zachary was unable to attend as he was battling it out in the state chess tournament that weekend.
"Green Bear Nation Celebration" Entertains All
Last Friday’s elementary carnival, sponsored by OHSPA, was a huge hit. Hundreds of OH students gathered on the elementary field to play games, jump in bounce houses, and feast with friends. Though a bit chilly for this time of year, the cold did not keep people away. Thank you to everyone who pitched in to make this year’s event a success.
Students Enjoy Green Bear Ball Experiences
On Friday, May 16, the Ottawa Hills Schools District was led by a new face as third-grader Darin Croy was "Superintendent for a Day." It's a right that was
purchased by his parents, Mark and Susan Croy, at this year's Green Bear Ball.
As superintendent for the day, Mr. Croy helped to put the finishing touches on the district newsletter, approved over $125,000 in expenditures, and read to the kindergarten classes. He visited a variety of other classes and took pictures of students and teachers for use in the end-of-year slide show that Dr. Miller creates for the staff's closing day breakfast.
Other Green Bear Ball auction items were recently "cashed in" when Rhys Francis served as "Principal for a Day" at the elementary and Micah Walker presented the morning announcements for a week.
Many students are enjoying activities that were provided as silent auction items by staff members of the school. Examples include Mrs. Zake offering a breakfast bash for a class; a first grade movie, pizza, and popcorn party after school one day; and the opportunity to design and sew messenger bags with Miss Bright.
No matter how many times we are able to thank everyone who played a
part in organizing and hosting the Green Bear Emerald City Ball this year, it would not be enough. In addition to putting in countless hours to raise tens of thousands of dollars to advance our school’s STEAM programs, the event brought many happy experiences to students who won auction items sponsored by our own school staff!
Sixth Grade Parents Invited to Tour OHJH
The sixth graders recently toured the junior/senior high school. However, Guidance Counselor, Darcy Browne, has also been providing tours for parents of students who will be entering seventh grade next school year. The tours provide a visual for parents to see the classrooms where their children will be spending their time next year. The tours also give Mrs. Browne a chance to provide many insights into the junior high experience for parents. Parents are able to ask questions and become more informed about their child's transition to the junior high.
If you would like to have a tour of the junior high, contact Mrs. Browne at firstname.lastname@example.org
||Boys Varsity Tennis
State Team Tournament
||Coed Varsity Track and Field
Fremont Ross HS
||Boys Varsity Tennis
OHSAA District Championship
Bowling Green State University
||Memorial Day Schools Closed
Elementary, Junior High & High Schools
||Boys Varsity Tennis vs. Lexington HS
OH Tennis Court
(With win on Friday, 5/23)
||Boys Varsity Baseball vs. Toledo Christian
OH Baseball Field
||Girls Varsity Softball @ Gibsonburg HS
||Boys Varsity Baseball @ Saint Francis HS
||JH/HS Choir Concert
||Booster Club Meeting
HS LMC Library
||6th Grade DARE Celebration
OHES Old Gym
||Boys Varsity Tennis Players in OHSAA State Tournament
Ohio State University
||All District Band Concert
Ottawa Hills Parent Association: http://ohspa.digitalpto.com
In partnership with our community,
Ottawa Hills Local Schools
will challenge and inspire each student
to realize his or her unique potential;
to embrace learning as a lifelong process;
and to become an active, responsible citizen.
Thinking is the hardest work there is,
which is probably why
so few people engage in it.