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Withrow-the first 50 years – Football-Angus King and The Early Coaches

by Bob Linnenberg ’63

Angus King
Anyone visiting Withrow these days will see ANGUS KING STADIUM in big white letters on the green artificial turf sideline of the playing field.  Most of these visitors would be unaware that honoree Angus King was the football coach from 1931 to 1945 and the foremost winning coach in the first 50 years of Withrow’s existence. With a record of 98 wins, 30 losses and 5 ties, the Withrow “King’s Men” had an undefeated season of 9 wins in 1934 and a winning season of 8 wins and one tie in 1941. The teams of 1932 and 1939 had 8 wins and suffered only one defeat each. In all, Withrow garnered 10 city football championships during Mr. King’s 14 years of coaching. In the 1934 season alone, Withrow’s opponents scored only a total of 18 points while coach Kings’s Tigers scored 206.

Angus King was a 1922 graduate of Ohio University in Athens, where he lettered in basketball and baseball. For a short time after college, he played pro baseball in the minor leagues before beginning his high school coaching career in Mt. Vernon, Ohio. Upon arriving at Withrow in the fall of 1931, Coach King found that his first team had only two returning lettermen and over 70 inexperienced recruits. Nevertheless, he shaped up his squad and finished the season second in the league.

In addition to the coach’s prowess on the gridiron, Mr. King was also the baseball coach during his tenure at Withrow. His 1934 baseball team won the state championship, the first Cincinnati area team to claim that title. The record of 34 runs for Withrow versus 5 runs for their opponents in the finals evinces the strength of the team. In all, the Withrow baseball teams won one district championship, two state titles, and seven league championships under coach King.

In 1945 Mr. King left Withrow and coaching to become assistant director of physical education for Cincinnati Public Schools. He was promoted to supervisor of athletics in 1948, a position he held until his retirement in 1966 after 45 years advancing high school sports. As director, he developed programs in the public schools that promoted all sports for young men, not just football and basketball. Stressing physical fitness in all forms, Coach King was quoted as saying, “Not everyone is going to become a big star, but that’s not the point of high school athletics, anyway”.

One of his final acts as athletics chief was to see that lights were installed in the Withrow stadium. Up until that time, the only public high school football night games had to be held at Trechter Stadium (Named for Howard Trechter, a 1928 Withrow graduate) at Central Vocational High School (now Cincinnati State, ed.).

Mr. King served as president of the Southwestern Ohio High Athletic Board of Control for many years. He was named an All-Ohio Coach by Scripps-Howard newspapers in 1938 and posthumously inducted into the Buddy LaRosa Sports Hall of Fame in 1984. Mr. King was a scout for the Cincinnati Reds from 1947 to 1965. He died in July of 1969.

William Gilliand

Upon coach King’s departure in the fall of 1945, returning WWII veteran William Gilliland was selected to head up Withrow’s football program. Coach Gilliland had been a star athlete at Western Hills High School and played football under coach Dana King, Angus King’s brother, at the University of Cincinnati. President of the senior class of 1933, Mr. Gilliland was “Honorary Captain” of the UC football team and an all-Ohio fullback. After graduation, he coached at Crescent Springs High School for several seasons, assisted as a line coach at UC and was football coach at Wilmington College. Prior to serving in the war, he was football coach and athletic director at Walnut Hills High School.

Coach Gilliland ran the Withrow football program from 1946 through 1953 and sustained a record of 49 wins, 20 losses and 3 ties.  The 1952 season of 8 wins and one loss was his most successful one; his teams copped the Public High crown in 1951 and shared the top with Hughes in 1953.

In 1954 coach Gilliland stepped down from coaching but remained as head of football as the athletic director at Withrow.  He retired in 1972 after 27 years at Withrow. He passed away in January of 1973.

Nelson Walke

Prior to Angus King’s arrival at Withrow, the football coach was former United States Marine veteran Nelson Walke. Coach Walke, a Hughes High School graduate, was at East High/Withrow High from 1922 to 1931. His 1928 team, with 8 wins and one tie, scored 325 points to the opponents’ 51. When Mr. Walke took over from coach Arthur Reisner, he established the practice of early pre-season games with strong teams from central and southern Ohio. Coach Walke felt that this competition would give his boys experience and toughness for when they met city teams in league play. In his first year as coach East High won the city championship. Mr. Walke’s teams continued to have winning seasons, garnering the city championship again in 1929. A multi-talented individual, coach Walke assisted the new band director, George G. Smith, in organizing a student variety show which they called the Withrow Minstrels in 1930. Coach Walke’s name appears on the program above Smitties’.

Coach Walke left Withrow in 1931 to further his education. He coached and taught at the Pennsylvania State University and Columbia University and obtained his doctorate from Columbia in 1937. The author of a college textbook on health and physical education, Dr. Walke retired as Professor and Chair, Department of Health and Physical Education, at Brooklyn College, New York. He died in 1974, and he and his wife, who was also a Physical Education teacher at Withrow, are buried here in Cincinnati.

Early coaches of other sports: Reuter, Wirth, Nimmo, Sherman and Huheey, left to right below:











No article on Withrow’s early coaches would be complete without following Angus King’s dictum that ALL sports are important, not just football. Legendary coach Fred “Doc” Reuter, one of the original phys-ed faculty members, ran the track program from 1923 to1942 and served as cross-county coach until 1947. Ray Wirth, who taught at Withrow from 1931 to 1972, coached the swimming team from 1932 to 1954, cross country from 1948 to 1950 and volleyball 1935-1937. Popular Phys-Ed teacher Lomond Nimmo coached basketball 1939-1941, track 1943-1956, cross-county 1951-1956, and assisted coaches King and Gilliland with football 1939-1948. Another polymath, he also entertained generations of Withrowites with his bagpipe playing. Social studies teacher Harold Sherman coached the tennis team on and off from 1941 to 1960.  Many fine coaches served at Withrow in the first fifty years. One man in particular, basketball and baseball coach John Huheey, will be the subject of a future article.

Class of 1972 50th Reunion-Thur, Fri & Sat-Sept 15, 16 & 17, 2022

Class of 1972 WHS 50 Year Reunion Itinerary

For Registration Form, click HERE.

September 15, 2022   6PM – 9:30 PM   Admission Free
Meet and Greet Social (food/drinks available for purchase)

Firehouse Grill & Brewery
4785 Lake Forest Drive, Cincinnati, Ohio 45242

September 16, 2922   6:30pm – 10:30pm   $40pp
50 Years Reunion Banquet Dance
Mill Race Banquet Center
1515 W Sharon Road
Cincinnati, Ohio 45240

September 17, 2022   10am – 12 noon  No cost
Withrow High School Class picture @ 10am Meet atTower
Campus Tour @ 11am
2488 Madison Road
Cincinnati, Ohio 45208

   Immediately following….
     September 17, 2022   1:00pm – 6:00pm  $ TBA

Farewell Picnic with Alumni DJ Hankerson
Kemper Meadows Park Shelter
1280 W Kemper Road
Cincinnati, Ohio 45240

For Registration Form, click HERE.

For out of town attendees some of Reunion Committee members will be staying at the
Hampton Inn Cincinnati Northwest Hotel in Fairfield, OH (
430 Kolb Drive
Fairfield, OH 45014

Class of 1981 40th Reunion-Fri & Sat-August 5 & 6, 2022

OK class, it’s time for our Withrow Class of ’81 “40th + 1” Reunion, since last year’s event was canceled due to the pandemic.

Friday, August 5, 2022 starting at 6 pm.

  • – Mix and Mingle at an informal reception at The Summit Hotel, 5345 Medpace Way, Cincinnati, Ohio 45227.
    •      Food will be provided and cash bar will be available.
  • – Please indicate your interest in bowling at the Madison Bowl after Friday’s Mix & Mingle using this Registration Form linkBowling costs to be paid by attendees.
  • – Let’s continue to Mix & Mingle after leaving The Summit Hotel at the Esoteric Brewing Co., 918 East McMillan St, Cincinnati, OH 45206.
    •      Optional event – All costs to be paid by attendees.

Saturday, August 6, 2022

  • – 11am – Withrow High School Tour. Please arrive at 10:45 am and enter parking lot behind Withrow using Dana Ave entrance.
  • – Please indicate your interest in a Class of ’81 Top Golf Outing using this Registration Form link. Details to follow based on interest. Top Golf costs to be paid by attendees.
  • – 6 pm –  Reception and Dinner Dance at The Summit Hotel, 5345 Medpace Way, Cincinnati, Ohio 45227.

Fill out a Registration Form for the Class of 1981 40th + 1 Reunion by clicking HERE.

Check out our FaceBook page:
Or, please contact:
Vicky Luke at or
Nece Jones at

Withrow High School “Class of 1981” is also taking action to “Give Back”; some of our classmates from ’81 are always on the move! We are focused on a good cause and working to give back to the Withrow High School Band (WHSB).

As members of the class, we have decided to support the WHSB; we will volunteer with FCC Cincinnati and participate in their fundraiser, which allows us to give a portion of money earned to our band. Additionally, we will also use some of our fundraising efforts to help with the planning for our 40th year class reunion to be celebrated in August 5 and 6, 2022 (Withrow Class of ’81 “40 + 1” Reunion) since this year’s event was canceled due to the pandemic. We will also work on more fundraising events in the future.

If you would like to contribute to our fundraising efforts for WHSB or for your upcoming Class of ’81 Reunion, you may do so by contributing through


Cash App  $withrow81reunion.

Please indicate if your donation is going toward WHSB or class of ’81 reunion efforts.

Cincinnati Tennis Foundation Improves Courts, Teaches Skills & Impacts Lives

The Cincinnati Tennis Foundation is dedicated to impacting lives through tennis and education, and Withrow University High School has been the epicenter of action this summer. Seeking to find a location that allows players throughout the city access to quality courts, the Foundation raised almost $100,000 to resurface the courts and add accessible ramps for wheelchair and adaptive players to better utilize the space. With this new central location, CTF created opportunities for both Withrow students and youth across the city.

The courts were first built in 1929 and throughout their history they were home to Withrow players who went to The Ohio State High School Championships and moved on to college tennis teams.

Programming on the courts this summer included Foundation-led Summer Scholars Tennis with Jerry Howard ’75 (who was a Withrow State Championship player) helping the CTF team to get kids out trying something new. CTF will be working with administration to develop a plan to get a Jr High team back in action that will grow into a high school tennis program.

The summer kicked off with over 300 youth from across the district coming out to play this May. State Senator Cecil Thomas ’71 and Principal Gray swung the ceremonial first hit. Over 1,000 players have now stepped out on the newly refinished courts. All programming is free or income based, designed to make the sport accessible to all players. Just over 80% of CTF’s players are economically underserved. Tennis equipment is provided to those in need.

Executive Director Matt Dektas and program coaches have coached more than 300 NCAA athletes and look forward to bringing that energy to kids that haven’t had the opportunity to play before.

The Foundation offers weekly wheelchair tennis clinics and monthly Adaptive tennis classes led by a three-time Paralympian, Emmy Kaiser. We are excited about growing these programs with CPS youth. The third annual Cincinnati Wheelchair Tennis Open brought 35 players and 10 juniors to Withrow from across the country for the weekend. Tom Porter ’76 stopped by for the event. “It was like coming home. I swung at my first tennis ball on these courts. My mother taught me the basics here. Watching these tremendous athletes play was an experience I will not forget. I was honored to meet several of them,” Tom said.

To offer more opportunities to players, CTF includes educational enrichment during camps and afterschool programs. Curriculum has been designed by leaders from Xavier’s early childhood education department and has now been delivered to over 150 students at four locations this year. At Withrow, the summer LEAP program (Life and Education Advancement Pathway) impacted 30 youth during full day camp during the month of July. In addition to tennis and educational opportunities for area youth, three Withrow students were hired as paid interns with the support of the Withrow Alumni Association to lead players both on and off the court. Awa Seck, Adeline Niyonkunda, and Kynnedy Wiley spent the month guiding children ages 6-12 with the financial support of the CTF team, practicing both their tennis and leadership skills. Both Awa and Kynnedy shared that they hope to be leaders on a Withrow tennis team in the future.

The Foundation dreams to build an indoor facility on campus with university quality courts, additional classrooms, and community spaces to be used by Withrow and tennis players throughout the community. They are currently in the fundraising stages pursuing an anchor donor and potential tenants to support the project. The expected funding requirement is $7-8M. Initial designs were completed by the USTA to ensure the space is adequate for a structure, but specific designs have not yet been created. The Foundation is working closely with the administration to ensure a design that creates opportunity for the community while respecting the space and current needs of the community.

As you can see it is an exciting start! We hope that you will join as we move forward to provide much more than just a love of tennis for children in Cincinnati!


Withrow-the first 50 years of Principals Who Shaped Our School

by Bob Linnenberg ’63

Edmund D. Lyon 1919-1933
The son of a Methodist minister, Edmund Daniel Lyon was born September 6, 1862 in Martinsburg, a small town in northeastern Ohio. After graduation from Ohio Wesleyan University, Mr. Lyon spent his early tears teaching, and as superintendent in Cuyahoga County and other northern Ohio districts.

He was hired by Cincinnati Public schools in 1901 as superintendent of Madisonville High School. In 1906 Mr. Lyon was appointed principal at Woodward High School and in 1912 was made principal of Hughes High School. When the new East High School in Hyde Park opened in 1919, Mr. Lyon was named its first principal. East High replaced Madisonville High where he had begun his career in Cincinnati.

An avid fisherman and reader, Mr. Lyon was also known for his interest in music and his fine singing voice. His interest in art manifested itself with his formation of the Art League at Withrow, which purchased, through student donations, many fine paintings and pieces of artwork to beautify the halls. Having guided East/Withrow High from its infancy into a modern first-class institution, Mr. Lyon concluded his 32 years with Cincinnati public schools, retiring from Withrow in 1933. Ohio Wesleyan University, of which he was a trustee, awarded Mr. Lyon an honorary master of arts and doctor of pedagogy degree. He was also so honored by Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. A resident of Madisonville, Mr. Lyon was president of the Ohio Teachers Association and was active in the National Association of High School Principals. He was a Mason and a trustee of Madisonville Methodist Church. Mr. Lyon passed away in November of 1944 at the age of 82 and is buried Laurel Cemetery in Madisonville. Perhaps the highest honor bestowed upon him was the 1957 dedication of Edmund D. Lyon Junior High School, also in Madisonville.

Walter Peoples 1933-1947

A native of Clark County, Ohio, northeast of Dayton, Walter Peoples was born in December 1881 and raised on a farm. He was a graduate of Juniata College in Huntington, Pennsylvania. After post-graduate work at Wittenberg University, Ohio State, and the University of Wisconsin, Mr. Peoples received a master of education degree in 1933 from the University of Cincinnati. His early teaching career was at Madisonville High School until he was named assistant principal of the new East High School in 1919. When Mr. Lyon retired in 1933, Mr. Peoples was made acting principal and was officially made and greeting each teacher as they came to school. A noted bowler and golfer, he took time from his duties as principal to be the advisor for the Withrow bowling team. In 1930 he was elected president of the Ohio State High School Athletic Association. He was also a president of the Southwestern Teachers Association and a member of several educational organizations. Noted for his friendliness and his laugh, Mr. Peoples was greatly mourned when he died in November of 1947, while still principal of Withrow. The school closed at 1:00 p.m. so that faculty and students could attend his funeral. He is buried in Clark County. In 1971 Walter Peoples Junior High School in Hyde Park was dedicated by Senator Robert Taft, Jr. A resident of Madisonville, Mr. Peoples and his family lived just up the street from his predecessor Edmund Lyon. All three of Mr. Peoples’ children were Withrow graduates.

A.O. Mathias 1947-1956

In 1907 Anthony Ottis Mathias, who preferred to be known as A.O., began his teaching career in Adams County, Ohio, where he had been born. While teaching there for several years, Mr. Mathias received his bachelor’s degree in 1916 from Ohio University in Athens, majoring in biological sciences. He came to Cincinnati and began his local teaching career at Woodward High School. When East High opened in 1919, he was appointed to teach agriculture. After that program was phased out in 1926, he turned to teaching mathematics at Withrow. In 1946 he became assistant principal and, upon the death of Mr. Peoples in November 1947, he was made acting principal. Mr. Mathias, who would rather have remained a teacher, was persuaded by his fellow teachers to make the job as principal permanent. He retired as principal in June 1956 after 37 years at Withrow. He served as president of the Schoolmaster’s club in 1935 and of the Ohio Education Association in 1945. In 1923 he helped create Teachers Group Insurance Co., which provided benefits to teachers in case of accidents or illnesses. In retirement he became president of Ohio Retired Teachers Association. Mr. Mathias, who for 13 years had a fruit and poultry farm in Indian Hill, also served as president and clerk of the Indian Hill Board of Education. He was honored by his alma mater Ohio University in 1969 for his “outstanding leadership in the field of education.” Mr. Mathias died in March 1982 at age 92 and is buried in Adams County. He was a resident of Mt. Lookout, and all five of his children were Withrow graduates.

Rayburn Cadwallader 1956-1960

A 1922 graduate of Wilmington College, Wilmington, Ohio, Raymond Woods Cadwallader began his teaching career at Withrow in 1927 in the commercial department. His mother and father, three of his grandparents, and eleven aunts and uncles were teachers. After a brief hiatus, he became assistant principal in 1933. He remained at Withrow until 1946, when he was made principal of Western Hills High School. He returned to Withrow as principal in 1956. Mr. Cadwallader left Withrow for a research position at the Board of Education in 1960 and retired in 1962 after 35 years with Cincinnati Public Schools. He had also served as assistant principal of East Night High School and as principal of the YMCA night school. He was president of the Schoolmaster’s club and secretary of the Southwestern Ohio Teachers Association. “Mr. Cad”, who enjoyed fishing, bowling and golf, was also a member of many civic and fraternal organizations. In addition to having a master of education degree from the University of Cincinnati, Mr. Cadwallader was the recipient of an honorary doctor of laws degree from his alma mater, Wilmington College, in 1955. A resident of Hyde Park, Mr. Cadwallader died in February 1964 and is buried in Spring Grove Cemetery. All three of his children graduated from Withrow.

Joseph Ayer 1960-1967

Before becoming principal in 1960, Joseph Charles Ayer’s only connection with Withrow was as a student teacher of civics and history in the fall of 1940. He was then a recent graduate of Otterbein College in Westerville, Ohio, and working toward a bachelor of education degree from the University of Cincinnati. The son of a Congregational Church clergyman, Mr. Ayer was born in Windham, Connecticut, in April 1916. He served as an Army officer during World War II and was badly injured by a land mine in 1944. He was awarded the Purple Heart, Combat Infantry Medal, and Bronze Star. Mr. Ayer left Withrow in 1967 to become coordinator of Student Affairs at the Middletown campus of Miami University. He was named Director of Student Affairs in 1975 and retired from that job in 1977. Mr. Ayer, an elder in the Presbyterian Church, also held a master of education degree from Xavier University. He died in December 2005 at age 89 and is inurned at Dayton National Cemetery. He and Mrs. Ayer had no children.


Marvin Renshaw 1967-1971

Born in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, Marvin R. Renshaw was a graduate of Norwood High School and had bachelor and masters degrees from the University of Cincinnati. He was a Lieutenant in the Army Air Corps and served in the south Pacific as a navigator in B-29s. Mr. Renshaw taught American History as a student teacher at Withrow in 1946 and taught English and journalism as a full-time teacher from 1947 to 1958. Before returning to Withrow as principal in 1967, he served at Lyon Junior High, Taft High and Cutter Junior High schools. After serving at Withrow for four years, Mr. Renshaw was made principal of Western Hills High School in 1971 and retired there after nine years in 1980. There was quite a bit of student unrest during his tenure as principal of both schools and he was praised for his even-handedness and calm. During his years of teaching at Withrow, Mr. Renshaw was an avid bowler and golfer, coached the bowling team, worked with the Interfraternity Council, and was president of Schoolmasters.  He was the popular advisor to Tower News for more than 10 years and built it into a perennially All-American paper. He also led Kiwanis and served as a Deacon, Trustee, and Elder of the Presbyterian Church. Mr. Renshaw was married to his high school sweetheart, Connie Crew Renshaw, for 45 Years.  His two daughters graduated from Withrow. He died in February 1988 and is buried in Spring Grove Cemetery.