Chris Strine was born and raised in Ashland, the son of Warren and Hallie Strine. Much of his youth was spent on the playgrounds, ball fields, and gyms in and around Ashland County. Name a field, park, or gym, and he most likely spent time with his friends either in a pick up game of in an organized league.
His attraction to sports was natural having grown up in two families well known in the Ashland area, the Strines and the Humrichousers. Both families are noted in the Ashland area for turning out standout athletes who excelled in various sports on the youth and later high school, college, and adult leagues and organizations.
Supported by his family and after honing his playing skills playing whiffleball, baseball, basketball, and football for countless hours in the backyard and all over town, Chris started playing organized sports at a young age, participating in the city’s youth baseball leagues, Minor League, Little League, Pony League, and Colt League, and was named to several All-Star teams that competed in district and regional competitions.
A 1973 graduate of Ashland High School, Chris was a three-year letter winner as an outfielder for the Arrows baseball team. The 1972 Arrows team finished the season with an 18-9 mark, and the 1973 team finished with an overall 16-10 record winning the Cardinal Conference crown with an 11-3 mark.
Later his interest in baseball carried over into fast pitch softball and he played on several city business sponsored teams, starting at the age of 16 for Stahl’s Hardware, and then moving on to the Creative Cartons in his later teens and early 20’s, and ending his Ashland softball career with Faultless. The Creative Cartons teams he played on in the mid 1970s competed in several state and regional tournaments, and the Faultless team in 1979-80 won numerous tournaments, earning a state title and finishing as regional runner-up two years in a row, just one victory shy of the national tournament. During his playing time for Creative, he was named to several All-City teams as an outfielder. After moving to Florida in September 1980, Chris continued to play softball until a few years ago in organized recreational slow pitch leagues in and around Lee County.
Chris also played organized basketball, holding down a spot on the Freshman team at Ashland Junior High School and on the JV team as a Sophomore at Ashland High School.
Chris’ other main sporting interest growing up in Ashland was football, another sport that he started playing while at Ashland Junior High on the seventh, eighth, and freshman Dart teams as a defensive back. At Ashland High School, Chris was a three year letterman for the Arrows, earning his letter as a sophomore on the 1971 7-1-1 Cardinal Conference winning team (5-0-1) participating on the kickoff and kick return teams and seeing a little time at running back. As a junior playing halfback, he helped lead the 7-1-1 Arrows to a second straight Cardinal Conference Championship (5-1 league), rushing for 790 yards on 100 carries. With the Arrows running the option oriented Houston veer offense; Chris and Arrow Senior standout Dan Bowersox amassed over 1,700 rushing years as a tandem. That year Chris earned honorable mention on the All-Cardinal Conference team.
Then in 1973, as a Senior, Chris, a team Co-Captain, had a standout season, leading the 5-3-1 Arrows with 1,284 yards rushing, with 6.2 yards per carry average, and scoring 10 touchdowns. He accomplished the feat by rushing for over 100 yards in each of the nine games the Arrows played that season. His rushing total at the time, and until a few years ago, was the second highest mark in the Ashland High School history, second only to Roosevelt Robinson’s 1,963 yard total from 1964. Following his senior season, Chris was named Cardinal Conference offensive Player of the Year, All-Northwest District, and earned Special Mention All-State recognition. In his high school career, Chris rushed for 2,084 yards, and as a senior he was named Ashland High School’s Male Athlete of the Year.
Chris continued his football career locally, at Ashland College, earning two varsity letters. As a sophomore in 1975, he earned playing time midway through the season and ended up leading the team in rushing with 421 yards. He also led the team in scoring with 30 points. In his junior year, Chris had another strong season, finishing with 734 yards rushing and a team high 44 points in helping the Eagles to a 6-4 season. As a group Chris and teammates Tim Burns (795 yards) and Rich Skoczen (658 yards) combined for 2,187 yards rushing on the year. His two-year rushing total at Ashland College was 1,155 yards, with 74 points scored.
Chris’ interest in sports carried over into his professional career as upon graduation from Ashland College he went to work for the Ashland Times-Gazette as Assistant Sports Editor. He actually started covering local high school sports for the Times-Gazette a few years earlier as a part-timer, and was on the reporting staff of the Ashland High School’s Panorama serving as sports editor his Senior year. Chris served as Assistant Sports Editor for two years, covering local high school sports and Ashland College before moving to Florida in 1980.
Today, Chris is the Editor of the Cape Coral Florida Daily Breeze, overseeing the Breeze newsroom and the news staffs of several weekly publications also published by the Breeze Corporation.
He and his wife of 16 years, Vicky, live in Cape Coral, Florida. Their son Paul David Rich, a 10-year veteran of the United States Army is in the National Guard and is just finishing a tour serving with his Tampa, Florida guard unit in Afghanistan. Their daughter, Sarah is married to Aaron Hardy and they have a son, Caleb, 4 with a second child on the way. Daughter Kacie, 17, is heading into her Senior year at Cypress Lake School for the Arts in Fort Myers, Florida.
Chris’ family members residing in the Ashland area are his mother, Hallie of Ashland, sister Barb and Mark Camp of Medina, brother Doug and Sally Strine of Ashland, sister Debbie and Bob Valentine Jr. of Ashland, and numerous aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews.
Nominator: Mark Camp