Tom was born in Cleveland but his family moved to Ashland when he was five years old. The son of Frank and Kathryn arrived with his two brothers and two sisters to reside in their current home on Sandusky St. This is the key to the story, as much as his start in sports originated across the street at Brookside Park. Hours were spend playing little league baseball for the championship team Dairy Dolly, swimming, playing basketball, tennis, and golf. For football, there was the “Fowler” field next door, which was turned to mud early each season because of such heavy use. Ashland Junior High was the start of organized sports where he excelled in football swam for the YMCA team under newcomer coach Robert Henikman, and ran track. Tom’s track career began as a distance runner during the eighth grade, set the school record in the three quarter mile run. It was toward the end of the season when he discovered the high jump pit and by the end of the ninth grade, while setting the record of five feet eight inches, he knew this was the event for him.
High School proved to be more successful in both football and track. Tom was a two-way starter for the Ashland Arrows in football both in junior and senior years, playing tight end on offense and safety on defense. Tom Was named Defensive Back of the Year and made Second Team All-Conference during his junior season. His senior year he again repeated as Defensive Back of the Year and was named First Team All-Conference. He lettered each of his three years in track while establishing school records in the high jump at six feet five inches, and the long jump of twenty-one feet eleven inches during his junior season. By the end of his senior year he had improved upon each record several times with final measurements of six feet ten inches in the high jump and twenty two feet ten inches in the long jump, and his name attached to seven individual and relay records. The pinnacle of his high school jumping as third place finish in the high jump at 1978 State Track and Field meet.
Tom is one of the accomplished athletes in the family of seven children. Frank, a strong runner in cross-country and track, and Jim, who excelled in football and track were always there to help field a team or train him. It was Jim, having extended his athletic career in football at Baldwin-Wallace, who helped convince Tom to join him at the division three school in Berea. Tom played football two years and was a member of the Division Three National Championship Team his freshman year. Competing in two sports at the collegiate level became quite a challenge and track ultimately won out. During his college years, Tom lettered four times in outdoor and indoor track, was named the outstanding field event performer junior and senior years both indoors and outdoors, was named outstanding events performer in several championship meet and was instrumental in helping the Yellow Jackets to an undefeated four year record in dual and three way meets. Tom was a four-time qualifier for the National Meet in both events and was an All-American in both the long and high jumps in 1981. He was elected captain of the team in 1982 and was awarded Senior Athlete of the Year during graduation ceremonies at Baldwin Wallace College.
After graduation, Tom moved to Pittsburgh and started a career in medical sales. He remains in the medical field currently working business development for a California based biotechnology company. He has lived in Pittsburgh since 1982 except for a year that he spent in California and Chicago. Tom married his wife Kim in 1986. They have a son Brendan, and two daughters, Madeline and Hannah. The family enjoys travel, but no matter where they go, the children still favor their trips to Ashland and look forward to spending time with their grandparents, and when possible, their aunts, uncles, and twenty one cousins.
Tom recognizes the gift of growing up in a close family, in a wonderful community and realizes the great example that his parents and siblings set for him. He also feels fortunate for the quality of men who coached him throughout his athletics. Namely coaches McFadden, Henikman, Smalley, Bush, and Lederle.
Nominator: Dave Smalley