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Richard Zaveson

For certain Dick Zaveson will be thanking Dick West tonight. It was West, an Otterbein College baseball coach, who introduced the game of handball to Zaveson. "He had us playing handball off-season as a good exercise," Zaveson said. That began a life-long love of handball for Zaveson, an Akron native who played football and baseball at both Ellet High School and Otterbein. After getting his degree in math from Otterbein in 1957, Dick spent two years in the U.S. Army at the Walter Reed Institute of Research in Washington D.C. It is where he honed his game and captured the handball singles title at Reed for both years. It would be the first of several championships he has won in 50 years of playing the sport. Many of his successes in handball have been forged at the Akron Central, now Canal Square, YMCA where he won the Akron City Singles eight times and the Akron Doubles title 10 times. Some of his other impressive wins came in the Ohio State Doubles, which he captured in 1966 and '70, and the Ohio Super Singles that he won in '95 and '96. In addition, Zaveson finished runner-up at the YMCA National Super Singles in '94 and runner-up at both the U. S. Handball Association Mid-America Regional Singles in '69 and the Doubles in '77 and '81. It is also at the YMCA where Zaveson started and organized the Akron Open Handball Tournament that has now gone on for 27 years. When not playing handball, Zaveson was a teacher of math for 32 years and an assistant football coach at Kenmore High School. Over the 25 seasons, he coached such quarterbacks as Akron Mayor Don Plusquellic and Hall of Fame inductees Eric Schoch and Dave Buckey. In 1993 Zaveson got a big surprise, literally, when he was inducted into the Ohio Handball Hall of Fame.

Inducted 2003 | Handball