The word “TRADITION” is described in Webster’s Dictionary as any long-established custom or practice. Because the dictionary doesn’t specify how long a custom or practice has to be established to justify using tradition to describe it, the word has become a term overly used on television, in the papers and yes, even high school football.
In Piqua, Ohio the word “TRADITION” is a respected term and one guarded with care. After all, it embodies what Piqua Football is all about…a long-established custom or practice.
Over 100 years worth of football memories have been generated in the town of Piqua and those who have paved the way for the next century of football look at tradition not as a punch-line, but as a word describing their legacy.
Nobody has left a legacy in Piqua football more than the 15 coaches who have been fortunate enough to lead their respective groups to battle on the gridiron. One look at the numbers these coaches put up with their respective teams is enough to justify their places in Piqua football history.
No coach in the history of Piqua football has had the impact of legendary coach George Wertz. Even though it has been over 50 years since he has stalked the sidelines, coach Wertz is the standard by which all Piqua football coaches are judged.
Coach Wertz coached for 26 years from 1925 to 1950 and accumulated an amazing 165-63-21 record. He is the only coach in school history to record two perfect seasons as his 1926 team went 9-0 and the 1947 Indians went 10-0. He also had another team finish the season without a loss. The 1929 Piqua team finished with 8 wins, no losses and 1 tie. In 26 years of coaching he only had four losing seasons, a remarkable accomplishment considering his longevity. Because of his legacy, Piqua named Wertz stadium after the legendary coach.
Although coach Wertz is widely considered the greatest coach in school history, there are other coaches who have had significant impacts on the gridiron.
Coach Bailey became the first Piqua coach to record a perfect season in 1910 with a 7-0 record. Although he only coached 4 seasons, coach Baily managed to win 23 out of 34 games.
Only one other coach recorded a perfect season and that was coach Ditmer in 1915. His Indians dominated the competition in recording a 10-0 season, one of only two teams to achieve this accomplishment prior to the implementation of the playoff system.
After some lean years from 1951 to 1963, the Indians acquired a coach in 1964 that turned the program into a winner again. Coach Chuck Asher took over the controls in 1964 and recorded a 9-1 record. He continued to coach for 13 more seasons and accumulated a 77-55-7 record, second to only coach Wertz at the time he left the program.
After coach Asher’s departure, the Indians recorded only one winning season in the next eight years. Finally, coach Steve Magoteaux turned the program around in his third season with a 6-4 record. Magoteaux turned the Indians into a powerhouse with an 11-2 record in 1990 and a 11-1 record in 1991.
Current coach Bill Nees took over in 1992 and has had a run like no other coach before him. Coach Nees’ tenure has included a 10-3 season in 1992, 11-2 record in ’93, 12-1 record in ’94, 10-1 record in ’99, 12-3 in 2000, 10-2 record in 2001, 13-2 in 2006, and 8-4 record in 2007. Coach Nees has coached his teams to the state playoffs in 8 of his 19 seasons, including an appearance in the state finals in 2000 and a state championship in 2006.
Coach Nees has tallied a 149-65-0 record in his 18 seasons, putting him on track to surpass the legendary coach Wertz .
As the Indians look to the future, they have a tradition to live up to…much more than many of the other schools in the state of Ohio.