The death of Kent Massie on Tuesday shocked football fans around Clark County. He was 48 years old and left behind a wife, Mary, and two young sons, Dalton and Louis. Autopsy results are pending.
Massie, 48, took the Tecumseh High School football programs to new heights during an 11-year tenure as head coach (2005-15). Here’s a look back at his career:
1. New coach: Tecumseh named Massie the head coach in December 2004. He had spent 13 seasons on Bob DeLong’s staff at Tecumseh, 10 of those as an offensive coordinator. The Arrows were 85-49 in DeLong’s tenure.
“I have been given a great opportunity,” Massie told the News-Sun in 2004. “I am loyal to this football program, and this is the only head football coaching job I wanted. It was the only one I would have accepted.”
2. Quick success: The Springfield News-Sun named Massie the All-Area Coach of the Year in 2006, his second season. The Arrows bounced back from a 2-8 season in 2005 to finish 9-3 in 2006.
Here’s an excerpt from a story by Brian Plasters on Massie’s coach of the year honor:
With the regular-season opener against Fairborn less than a week away, Massie took to an alternative form of motivation.
After every game, each Tecumseh player receives a grade and a report based on the film. On the Monday following the Carroll scrimmage, Massie took those notes and a shovel to practice.When practice was over, he had his players dig a hole. When they were finished, he tore up the forms and tossed them in the hole.
Then he lit the notes on fire.
“It was just to let them know that all those things were forgotten about and over with,” Massie said. “I told them, ‘We’re not going to talk about it again, and it’s in the past.’ I never talked about it again.”
But the Arrows never forgot the lesson and played like their season was on fire. They won five straight games to begin the season, finished with nine wins and eventually advanced to the state football playoffs.
3. Friendly rivalry: Shawnee head coach Rick Meeks and Massie first met in fourth grade in the Shawnee school system. They played high school football together, were the best man at each other’s weddings, coached together for one year at Tecumseh in 1993 and coached against each other for many years in the Central Buckeye Conference.
Here’s an excerpt from a 2006 News-Sun story by Brian Plasters:
Just like brothers, they have plenty of stories about the “glory days,” and just like the glory days, some stories never get old.
As teammates, Meeks played center while Massie was a tight end and defensive end.
“When we played together,” Massie laughed, “he was a lot heavier. You won’t believe this, but he was bigger than me in high school. I can show you some pictures.”
Meeks said Massie is always late.
“We call it ‘Massie Time,’” Meeks said. “It takes him an hour and a half to get ready. It takes him five times longer than you would think, because he’s primping and it’s got to be perfect.”
4. Big win: Tecumseh made its first two playoff appearances in 1998 and 2001 when Massie was an assistant coach under DeLong. The Arrows made seven playoff appearances in Massie’s 11 seasons as head coach, including five straight from 2008-2012.
Tecumseh also had success in the CBC, winning the Kenton Trail Division title outright in 2008. A year later, the Arrows clinched a share of the title with an overtime victory at Bellefontaine. It was the first time the program had won back-to-back league titles.
Here’s an excerpt from that story by David Jablonski:
On the winning run, Riley Gault took the snap, ran to the left side, faked a pitch to Dustin Holmes, got a block on the sideline, cut inside and sprinted down the sideline. Near the goal line, he dove toward the front pylon for the score.
“We had been pounding them inside quite a bit, and we figured if we faked it to Holmes, they would be keying on Holmes,” Tecumseh coach Kent Massie said. “Riley pulled it around, and we got some good blocks on the edge there.”
In seconds, an entire football team piled on Gault as the Arrows (9-1, 4-1 CBC) celebrated. Somewhere in the pile, Massie lost his glasses, and they were smashed. The coach said he’s blind without them, but he could see the significance of this victory.
“It means the world to us,” Massie said. “In our history, we’ve won seven league championships, and this is the first group of kids to do it back-to-back. It’s very, very special.”
5. Stepping down: Massie took a leave of absence four games into the 2015 season and didn’t return. He resigned as head coach after the 2015 season.
“It’s a health issue that started with stress,” Massie said then. “I needed to get it taken care of. And I’ve got two young boys (ages 7 and 4), and I want to spend time with them. I want to be their dad.”
Tecumseh moved Chris Cory from assistant to head coach.
“I know that the football program’s in great hands,” Massie said. “He’ll do a great job being the head coach, he’ll get the most out of the kids and he’ll build great relationships with people like he already has.”