Multiple Teams · MHS Celebrates 50th Anniversary of 1965 District Basketball Championship

The 1965 Panther basketball team was NLL co-champions, sectional champions and district champions. From left, Rick Conrad, Jim Fording, Chris Spychalski, Ron Hoag, Don Tumblin, Dennis Hammernik, Don Waggoner, Bob Baldwin, George Chapman, Pat Harrison, Gary Balusik, Lynn Olman, Rick Wegner, Gary Olson, Bill McPeek, Dennis Lehman, Ted Motter and Mike Ducey.

BY KYLE DUDLEY | MIRROR SPORTS — During halftime of the boys varsity basketball game against Napoleon on January 16, Maumee High School honored one of the best basketball teams ever to wear the purple and gold. The 1965 basketball team was a Northern Lakes League co-champion, sectional champion and Class AA district champion, finishing with a 17-5 overall record and 7-1 conference record. Ron Hoag, starting guard on the team, was part of a starting lineup in which all five players received all-league recognition. Hoag also went on to play collegiate ball at Adrian College in Michigan with teammate Pat Harrison. “It was a great group of guys,” Hoag said. “It was great to talk to them again.” The team was coached by Paul Muenzer, who was assisted by Bob Kristenak and Ray Horstman. Of the 13 players on the varsity team, 12 were in the 1965 graduating class that year, creating chemistry on the court that was unparalleled. Indeed, Muenzer was one of the primary motivators for the team. He had announced his plans to retire as coach prior to the season, prompting an emotional response from the players as well as the student body. “Muenzer brought out everything in all of us,” Hoag said. Mike Ducey, who started as the other guard on the team, was inducted into the Maumee Athletic Hall of Fame in 1993 and was also quick to give credit to the team’s coach. Ducey went on to become an all-Mid-American Conference tennis player at The University Toledo. “(Coach Muenzer) was phenomenal,” Ducey said. “He really understood how to mold a team. Everything he did had a purpose. Even if it was a layup drill, he was teaching us something.” Although the team was undersized by today’s basketball standards, everyone on the roster played a crucial role in the team’s success. With so many players being able to contribute productive minutes, the team utilized stifling defense and a “run and gun” type of offense to wear teams down late in games. This mentality proved to be beneficial down the stretch, as Maumee’s last four wins in the sectional and district tournaments were decided by five points or fewer. The ’65 Panthers’ season eventually ended with a 72-69 loss to Lorain Admiral King in the regional tournament. The tournament included victories over Rossford, Norwalk, Perrysburg and Fremont Ross. Maumee beat a Rossford team that featured Jim Penix, who was the 59th player chosen in the 1970 NBA draft by the Portland Trail Blazers. “We were a smaller team, so we pressed from the word go,” Hoag said. Hoag’s favorite memory of the season was during the team’s 46-45 district title-capturing win over Fremont Ross, during which senior reserve player Chris Spychalski came off the bench and scored 10 straight points for the team. “He had such a high arching jump shot that dusted the rafters,” Hoag said. Nearly the entire team was in attendance during the halftime ceremony. MHS athletic director Matt Szyndler and principal Matt Dick presented each player with a plaque commemorating the team’s historic season. The team, including reserve players, consisted of seniors Hoag, Ducey, Harrison, Spychalski, Bob Baldwin, Gary Balusik, George Chapman, Jim Fording, Robert Hawkins, Dennis Lehman, Lynn Olman, Gary Olson, Don Waggoner and Richard Wegner; and juniors Rick Conrad, Dennis Hamernik, Bill McPeek, Ted Motter and Don Tumblin. “It was great to see them – it was very special,” Ducey said. “Some of those guys I haven’t seen since high school.”

Celebrating a 50th reunion, the 1965 Panther basketball team re-created the photo from their winning year. Pictured are Ron Hoag, Don Tumblin, Dennis Hammernik, Bob Baldwin, George Chapman, Pat Harrison, Gary Balusik, Lynn Olman, Gary Olson, Dennis Lehman, Ted Motter and Mike Ducey. PHOTO COURTESY OF WOODARD PHOTOGRAPHY