Morning Huddle: Wrestling coach Kallai dies unexpectedly on vacation


JJ’s Morning Huddle: A daily dose of News, Notes & Nuggets from around the state

• Wrestling says goodbye to tireless advocate
• Tallmadge girls basketball coach resigns

• Sportsmen and Sportswomen of the Year announced in Cincinnati area

• Strongsville’s Hamilton bound for Iowa

• Westerville’s Vannett picks Ohio State

Sad day for wrestling: Longtime Wadsworth assistant wrestling coach Mike Kallai, Sr., died from a massive heart attack while vacationing with his family in Tennessee. Funeral arrangements are pending. Kallai was instrumental in drumming up support for OHSAA’s incorporation of a state dual-meet team championship to begin 2013, and he was soon to takeover as president of the Ohio wrestling coaches organization for 2010-11. “He was someone to go to for advice, good or bad,” says Medina wrestling coach Chad Gilmore, who wrestled under Kallai as a member of the Grizzlies. “You knew whatever he was telling you was true. He taught life lessons. He was my go-to guy in high school, on and off the mat.” Kallai also served as Barberton’s Chief of Police, but his love of wrestling was always apparant. “He was doing the dirty work, the details that most people don’t want to be involved in,” says Bob Pruesse, a longtime writer for Amateur Wrestling News. “He was low key, but you could always count on him. His passing is too soon. Definitely too soon. There aren’t too many people like Mike Kallai. He will be greatly missed.” Read more in The Medina County Gazette.

Focus on the family: After six successful seasons, Tallmadge girls baskeball coach Jeff Manion is stepping down. “My wife and I are expecting our third child,” Manion says. “The time is right to step aside.” He led the Blue Devils to sectional titles in 2009 and 2010. “A nice underclass group is coming into the program and in terms of consistency they deserve to have the same coach with them for four years,” Manion says. The school is currently accepting applications for the spot.

Sportsmen/Sportswomen of the Year: High school sports fans in the greater-Cincinnati area have voted on their choice for the athletes who best exhibited the highest standards on and off the field of play in electing the Sportsmen/Sportswomen of the Year for the Cincinnati Enquirer. Athletes in sports from bowling to basketball are represented on the list. Matt James was among those who made the list: “Matt James, like the rest of us, wasn’t perfect,” the Enquirer writes. “On the football field, the former St. Xavier High School student was in a class that many aspire toward, but few reach.”

“I’m a Hawkeye”: The 6-foot-5, 225-pound tight end from Strongsville, Ray Hamilton, has committed to play football at Iowa: “I think I’ve heard all the way to 12 (tight ends from Iowa in the NFL),” Hamilton says. “I don’t know the exact number, but I know they’ve put a lot of tight ends in the NFL.” In six games last season, Hamilton caught six passes for 300 yards, and he had at least 20 scholarship offers, including some from top-notch programs like Michigan, Notre Dame and Oklahoma. Hopefully, Hamilton can keep Iowa’s string of sending tight ends to the NFL alive.

Tight ends in demand: Speaking of tight ends, Ohio State football got some good news yesterday when Westerville Central’s Nick Vannett committed to the team. At 6-foot-6 and 225, Vannett has a blocker’s frame, and he held offers from some major programs, too: Notre Dame, Michigan and Penn State among them. “He has the athleticism to stretch the field as a legitimate passing threat,” writes the BBC. “We will see what Ohio State does with that.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *