This week on Senior Voices, 90-year old Kenneth Sommer recalls the high school football coach who made an impression on him at Chaminade High School back in 1945. Kenneth shared his story with Dayton Metro Library interviewer, Jennifer Hicks.
Kenneth Sommer: Mr. Gerard “Fuzzy” Faust. He was a mentor. He was a marvelous man. He was a real man, he was a man that boys looked up to. He had a great degree of respect for girls, and he gave us respect for girls. He taught us to play like a team. He taught us discipline. He was kind of a father for me, and he told me I was pretty good, and that made me better. He was an extraordinary example.
But the greatest remembrance I have, is we were undefeated and were playing another team that was undefeated, maybe the best in the state. And at the half time, they were beating us badly, and badly and not only score-wise, but they were beating us bad physically. And we come in at the half and we’re all crying. We’d never been this way ever all year.
Fuzzy Faust came over, said, “All you boys come over here. Gentlemen, we had a great season, I’m proud of every one of you, you’ve done everything I’ve said. I’m proud of you. But this is very hard for me to say.”
He was a graduate of Notre Dame, by the way, and he said, “And I don’t like what I’m saying, and I wish, I don’t want to say this, but I’m going to say it. I don’t care boys, I want to tell you, I don’t care whether we win or whether we lose. I want each and every one of you to know I’d be proud to call you my own son.”
POW! We went out of that locker room and we massacred ‘em. Where did we get that other energy? Where did we get that…we did things we never knew we could do. We had collectively and personally reached down in our souls and did something that was heroic and we never knew we had it, and we had it, and we knew we had it, and we wiped ‘em out and we beat ‘em and we beat ‘em bad. That’s a good one, isn’t it!
This interview was edited by Community Voices producer and Senior Voices project coordinator Jocelyn Robinson. Senior Voices is a collaboration between the Dayton Metro Library, Rebuilding Together Dayton, and WYSO. This series is made possible through the generous support of the Del Mar Healthcare Fund of the Dayton Foundation.