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Published: Sunday, 3/29/2009

Sports Letters: Komives' legacy will long be remembered

In early 1960s, I knew what Scott High School basketball coach Andy Kandik was going to say to me before we played Woodward. I didn't want to hear it.

"Smythe, you guard Butch Komives."

It was an intense rivalry between two successful, highly ranked basketball teams. Two of the greatest players in Toledo basketball history were on the floor. Komives leading Woodward and Ray Wolford leading Scott. A couple of years ago, I was quoted in The Blade stating Butch was the third best player of that era behind Wes Jones and Big Ray. Wolford told me in 2005 that Butch was the best pure shooter in Toledo history.

In 1964, when I played for the University of Findlay and Butch led the nation in scoring at Bowling Green State University, I knew what coach Jim Houdeshell was going to say to me before we played the Falcons. I didn't want to hear it.

"Smythe, you guard Butch Komives."

I have never been around a player as intense as Butch. One day at the Toledo YMCA, I stood under the basket and threw the ball back to him as he hit 50 straight free throws. His skills were nothing short of sensational and he was all business even in pickup games.

Toledo has produced some of the great athletes in America. I predict that 50 years from now people will hear stories about Howard "Butch" Komives, a basketball legend, who carved a unique place for himself in high school and college basketball history.

Mike Smythe

VP/General Manager

KFVS-TV

Cape Girardeau, Mo.

Congratulations to the Start Spartans girls basketball team and their coaches for a fantastic season which culminated in their playing in the Division I state championship game in Columbus.

It has been 28 long years since a Toledo City League public school has appeared in the state final, and an even longer 33 years since Toledo Woodward brought home the hardware in the inaugural state girls basketball championship in 1976.

Ever since Woodward's surprising victory (we won 63-59 against a favored Columbus Bishop Watterson team), I had hoped that Toledo would be a powerhouse in girls basketball in the state in future years.

Unfortunately, that has not been the case, but Start's appearance in the championship this year just might be the spark to show other City League public school teams that the dream of playing in a state championship is not only a possibility, but also a definite reality.

Let's hope that next year another City League girls team will be playing in the final game.

Work hard and believe in yourselves, ladies. It is, indeed, possible.

Susan Sweet

Defiance

Former Woodward coach (1971-76)

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