Trustee Achievement Award
Jim was a graduate of Mansfield High School where he excelled in athletics. He was a member of the four year undefeated Tyger football team for 1931-35. When legendary Mansfield Senior High Coach J. Russell Murphy was interviewed, he named Heiser as one of his top all team selections since he began coaching there in 1925. Heiser also excelled on the basketball court for the Tygers where he played center on the undefeated 1934-35 team.
After high school, Jim enrolled at University of Wichita, Kansas where he started at tackle and earned a varsity honor sweater as a freshman. While at Wichita, he was featured in a 1937 news article advertisement for Steffen’s Dairy where he is pictured in full football uniform and holding a bottle of milk saying, “Those Pigskins had better be tough. The training diet of Steffen’s Milk is giving us plenty of gridiron power.”
Jim transferred from the University of Wichita to Ashland College where he earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Education. Heiser played fullback and tackle for the Eagles. While at Ashland College he was named All-Ohio Conference Football Honorable Mention. After graduation, Jim served in the United States Army during World War II. Upon returning from service, he played on several community basketball teams including Miller’s Dairy, Augstines, and the Reformatory.
Jim began his teaching and coaching career in 1948 in the Perrysville Schools. He was an assistant coach on Perrysville six-man football team until 1952, when he became their head coach until 1961. He had many successful teams and won numerous county championships. Jim was also a successful track coach from 1949-61 at Perrysville.
The hours Coach Heiser spent beyond the school day were many. He gave of himself both physically and financially in a time when pay was inadequate. He always transported the team in his own vehicle. When special equipment was needed, many times he purchased it with his own money as extra funds were not available and many athletes could not afford it. Coach Heiser always displayed a positive attitude. His dedication is a characteristic we look for today, yet become more and more difficult to find. His compensation for teaching and coaching was the satisfaction he received in working with young people and providing them with rewarding experiences. To him winning was very important but he possessed the best sportsmanship in defeat. Jim and his wife, Miriam, are both deceased while Jim Jr. still lives in the Perrysville area.
Nominator: Robert C. Hughes