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Felix Latona

Perhaps former Beacon Journal sports writer, Phil Dietrich, said it best in describing Felix Latona. Dietrich wrote, "For a man who has found neither fame nor fortune Felix Latona is one of the richest I've ever know. He's rich in friends, in his huge capacity for good fellowship, in his ability to make others laugh...frequently at his own expense." At the age of 44 and in the midst of his 16th year as head coach of the Central Wildcats, Latona was cut down by a heart attack that ended is fun-filled life on November 7, 1963. As dean of Akron public school coaches in point of continuous service, Latona made substantial contributions to City Series history. He took Central to a championship in 1948 his first season as head coach. Ironically, Latona had served as an assistant under Earl Wright at Garfield in 1946 when it took the title and under Ted Osborn in 1947 he helped guide Central to its first city grid championship in 19 years. However, there was a 14-year lapse between his second. In 1962 his Wildcats shared the title with South following a 6-6 tie in the Thanksgiving Day title game. During the interviewing years, though, Latona made his mark by developing a succession of fine varsities and individual performers. His greatest pupil probably was Don Clark, the swift halfback who went on to become an All-Big 10 gained stardom in Canadian professional football. Latona was a store-house of humorous anecdotes about coaches, games and situations, past and present. Like wine, Latona's stories improved with age and were rare vintage. A man who coached for the fun of it, Latona was paid final tribute by the Summit County coaches who voted him 1963 Coach of the Year.

Inducted 1992 | Coach