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Published: Wednesday, 8/29/2007

Illustrious Maumee graduate will present school with copy of his 1951 Heisman Trophy

Dick Kazmaier carries the ball for Princeton in 1951. Dick Kazmaier carries the ball for Princeton in 1951.

MAUMEE - Nearly 60 years have elapsed since Maumee High School's most famous athlete dominated his opponents on a college gridiron.

Dick Kazmaier won the 1951 Heisman Trophy at Princeton University after a standout high school career in northwest Ohio.

His records have been surpassed. The details of his legendary exploits in college athletics have been consigned to yellowing newspaper clippings.

But on Sept. 21, Mr. Kazmaier will donate a coveted memento from his Princeton days to his former high school.

Now 76 and a resident of Key Largo, Fla., Mr. Kazmaier will present Maumee High his one and only Heisman duplicate. He received it in 1971. The original was donated to Princeton in 1952.

As Princeton University's star tailback, Mr. Kazmaier was presented the original - college football's highest individual award - by New York's Downtown Athletic Club in December, 1951.

The copy he is presenting to Maumee High is to have a starring role in the Panthers' rich athletic tradition.

Reached last week, Mr. Kazmaier said he wants to show students how much they can achieve in their lives, either in athletics or some other field.

Dick Kazmaier won the 1951 Heisman Trophy at Princeton University after a standout high school career in northwest Ohio.
Dick Kazmaier won the 1951 Heisman Trophy at Princeton University after a standout high school career in northwest Ohio.

"It says that there can be achievement and there can be accomplishment at any level," Mr. Kazmaier said. "My feeling about any award or standard is that [it] inspires people or encourages them to say, 'Hey, I could go on and do more with my life than I'm doing in this town of 16,000 or 17,000 people. Maybe I'm going to be a very successful scholar, maybe I'm going to be successful in some other sport.'"

Mr. Kazmaier was the last Ivy League football player to win the award.

A 1948 Maumee graduate, Mr. Kazmaier won 17 varsity letters during high school in football, basketball, baseball, and track.

At Princeton, Mr. Kazmaier was a two-time All America football player and the lynchpin in a high-powered offense that averaged 38.8 points per game and led the Tigers to two straight undefeated seasons.

Drafted by the Chicago Bears, Mr. Kazmaier passed on the NFL to attend Harvard Business School. He later founded Kazmaier Associates, Inc. in Concord, Mass., a family investment company.

Maumee Athletic Director Brent Swartzmiller said a special trophy case is being built for the Heisman replica.

"It will definitely be our most prominent award. It will be our centerpiece," Mr. Swartsmiller said. "When we say we're one of only four high schools in the county [with a copy of the Heisman Trophy], I think that's pretty special."

Money for the new trophy case came from private contributors, Mr. Swartzmiller said.

The original at Princeton continues to be displayed in Jadwin Gym there, a university spokesman said.

"In 1951, they only gave out one [copy of the trophy], and I gave all of my awards to my father. He brought them all to Maumee, and then, in the spring of 1952, gave that trophy to Princeton," Mr. Kazmaier said.

The Downtown Athletic Club began presenting two trophies to its Heisman winners in the late 1960s.

Mr. Kazmaier said it sent him his duplicate in 1971.

When Mr. Kazmaier presents the trophy, the school plans a pep rally involving the former standout student-athlete that will allow him to speak to his counterparts today, Mr. Swartzmiller said.

"I think kids do appreciate the Heisman Trophy and what it means," the athletic director said.

Contact Larry P. Vellequette at: lvellequette@theblade.com or 419-724-6095.

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