ATHENS, Ohio — A longtime Mason County sports standout, coach, and educator was recently recognized for his sports career at Ohio University, during halftime of a basketball game in Athens.
Ralph M. Sayre of New Haven was brought to the basketball court at halftime of the O.U. versus Miami Ohio game in the Convocation Center on Jan. 11. At that time, sports photos of Sayre’s time at O.U. were shown on the big screen scoreboard.
Sayre earned 10 letters in the three sports of football, baseball and basketball while attending Ohio University from 1945 to 1948. Following graduation from Wahama High School, where he had numerous notable sports accomplishments, Sayre agreed to play basketball for O.U. The university did not have a football program at the time, as it was postponed due to World War II.
Sayre made the starting basketball team as a freshman, and was the second highest scorer on the team. He also made the varsity baseball team as a freshman, where he played second base and outfield. During his sophomore year, Sayre started playing football on the first team as a halfback and quarterback in the T-formation.
Sayre became the first Ohio University athlete in 31 years to letter in three sports, with a total of 10 letters. He was honored by the Phi Delta Theta fraternity by being named on the All-American Football Team, and was a member of the prestigious Varsity “O” Club for four years. As a junior, he was selected to be a member of the J-Club, and during his senior year to the Torch Club, both honorary organizations.
Following his college graduation, Sayre was hired as a teacher and coach at Wahama. He coached football for 14 years, basketball for nine years, and baseball for 14 years. Sayre’s other coaching achievements included forming the first athletic boosters club at Wahama, the first Little League baseball program, the first Pony League and Pee Wee programs, an elementary basketball program, and the first junior high school football team.
Sayre also served as maintenance supervisor for Mason County Schools, a guidance counselor at Wahama, principal at Wahama Junior High School and Point Pleasant High School, assistant superintendent in Mason County, and superintendent of Southern Local Schools in Racine, Ohio.
Sayre’s tribute at O.U. was arranged by the Wahama High School Hall of Fame. About 25 friends, family members, and hall of fame members accompanied Sayre and sat with him at court level for the game.
Mindy Kearns is a freelance writer for Ohio Valley Publishing, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.