Legendary North Canton Hoover football coach Don Hertler Sr. passed away Wednesday with family by his side at the age of 85.
Hertler Sr. compiled a 163-43-3 record as Hoover’s football coach from 1960-1980. He led the Vikings to 10-0 seasons in 1972 and 1975 and his .787 winning percentage is the highest in Stark County amongst coaches with over 100 wins.
He was a winner as a coach, and a winner as a man off the field who always made himself available to students and parents. He served as a role model to his players.
Hertler Sr. never had a losing season in charge of Hoover’s football team. Hoover joined the Federal League in 1968 and Hertler guided them to seven league championships during the next 13 years.
He was inducted into the Ohio High School Football Coaches Hall of Fame in 1987 and the Stark County High School Football Hall of Fame in 2003.
Hertler Sr. coached several players who went onto to play in college, including Dick Snyder, Jeff Logan, Mark Lukens and Todd Blackledge.
Snyder starred at quarterback on Hertler's first two teams in 1960 and 1961. He played at Davidson and played as a professional basketball player in the NBA from 1966-1979 for St. Louis, Phoenix, Seattle and Cleveland.
Logan played at Hoover from 1971-1973 and was an All-Ohio running back before starring at Ohio State.
Blackledge, a television football analyst, was Hoover’s quarterback in 1977 and 1978. He then went onto be an All-American at Penn State and an NFL quarterback from 1983-1989 for Kansas City and Pittsburgh.
Hertler Sr. was open to change as a coach and always prepared. He adjusted his coaching style as football evolved from a running game to a game with a mixture of running and passing on offense. He would utilize different defensive alignments to succeed as well.
Hertler Sr. posted a 21-game winning streak between 1971-72-73 and a 20-game streak between 1974-75-76. His final game as coach was a 24-6 victory over Jackson to end the 1980 season and earn the Vikings a tie for the Federal League championship.
Hoover dedicated its new football field in North Canton Memorial Stadium as Don Hertler Sr. Field in 2011. Hertler Sr. also coached the Vikings baseball from 1954-1970 and won 220 games.
Hertler Sr.’s two daughters and one son were by their father’s side. His son, Don Hertler Jr., is in his 18th season as Hoover’s football coach.
Hertler Sr., a graduate of Bridgeport High School, was born May 9, 1928. He married his high school sweetheart, Nancy. She passed away in 1997. He was preceded in death by a daughter Melinda, who died in 2007 and his second wife Shirley. He is survived by Don Jr., (fiancé Heather Maxwell), Susie Van Vranken (Tom) and Becky Volkmann (Stephen).
A private funeral will be held Sunday. A celebration of life ceremony is scheduled for Thanksgiving weekend with details to follow.
Hoover’s football team will wear a decal on the back of their helmets that reads “DHSr.” for the rest of the season. Hoover hosts Perry tonight.