By CHRIS LARICK
For the Star Beacon
Kids in Tim Coy’s generation didn’t always have the best of equipment to play sports with.
If a baseball lost its cover, they adapted, covering it with black friction tape. If a bat started to splinter (this was pre-aluminum bat times), they drove in a few well-placed nails.
They played whichever sport was in season — baseball in the spring and summer, football in the autumn and basketball in the winter. That’s just the way it was, and in their minds, how it should be.
Coy, who will be inducted into the Ashtabula County Touchdown Club’s Hall of Fame on Dec. 10, remembers those days fondly.
“We always played baseball in my neighborhood,” he said. “We played whatever was in season, every day. Neighborhood parents put in a field on North Myers Road (in Geneva Township). My cousins lived next door and my sister, Candy, was one of the better players. My dad passed away when I was 4, but there was always someone to take me to my Little League or minor-league games. I played for Pruden’s Chicks.”
Coy pitched and played first base. With family finances tight, he couldn’t afford a first baseman’s mitt, so coaches Tom Koehler and Al Graper chipped in and bought him one.
In football season, those kids played at Kiwanis Park and Carraher Field in Geneva. The Geneva Midget Football League had been formed and usually pitted four teams against each other each Saturday morning.
For some reason, the Geneva school district didn’t have junior high football teams, as Coy remembers, so his first school football began when he was a freshman. He played tight end and defensive end on Geneva teams under legendary head coach Bob Herpy and Koehler, the defensive coordinator.
“They were real good guys,” Coy said.
“In my senior year (the 1972 season), we did real well. We lost one game, the last game of the season to a Cleveland team. I think we won all four years against Ashtabula. That was big. I played offense, defense and special teams, never came off the field.”
The Eagles had great players at the time, players like running back Don Craine, quarterback Randy Carter, who later went to Yale and place-kicked for the Elis, Robert Perkins, John Askew and Jeff Mohrman. Coy recalls once in the final-game loss, Carter complaining to a referee.
“The ref said, ‘We play big-time football in Cleveland. We’ll call the game,’” Coy recalls.
“They were a great group of guys that I went to high school with, really good athletes.”
Coy himself stood out as a receiver. Though he doesn’t recall how many catches he made, he did set the school record, which lasted about 25 years.
“We didn’t throw as much then as they do now,” Coy said. “I thought that was pretty good.”
Coy has taken college business classes from time to time, he never attended college on a full-time basis. Instead, after graduation, he played minor-league baseball in the Philadelphia Phillies organization for a year.
“My brother had been in Texas a little while, so then I moved out there and hung out with him,” he said. “I got tired of Texas after a while and I thought Colorado looked like a cool place, so I loaded my car. I decided to run a construction company, so I had a job when I came here with $50 in my pocket and some things in my car.”
As it happened, the first person he met upon reaching his destination would eventually become his wife.
Knowing one person in Colorado, Kay Chapman, who had been a cheerleader at Geneva and graduated a year later than Coy (1974), he looked her up when he first arrived. But her roommate, Valerie, answered the door.
“She was younger that I was,” Coy said. “I said, ‘I just stopped by to say hi.’ I kept asking her out.
“She was a native of Colorado, who was a gymnast in high school and got a full ride (scholarship) to Arizona State. When I met her, she was a Denver Bronco cheerleader and was working for a modern dance company in Dallas. She flew back and forth.”
His first years in Colorado, Coy ran a construction company as superintendent. The company moved to Colorado Springs and did business with the government, building on five military bases near there. First, though, he took classes and seminars in preparation for the job. The company built such things as chapels, hangars and theaters for the Air Force and renovated buildings.
It was always Coy’s intention to own his own company, though. About 15 years ago, that became a reality when he formed a company called Riverwood Homes of Colorado.
“I subcontract everything out,” Coy said. “I manage the jobs and my wife does all the bills. We build up to five houses a year. They’re all high-end homes. I start next week on one that will go for about $2 million. We just finished two that are about $600,000.”
Tim and Valerie have been married for 31 years. They have three children. The oldest, Adam, 25, is a third-year medical student now at Emery University in Atlanta and a graduate of the University of Colorado. Adam played football, basketball and hockey in high school and is now a triathlete.
Tim calls Alex, 21, his “free-spirit son.”
A junior at Western State in Dennison, Colorado, where he is studying psychology, Alex “found his niche in climbing,” according to Tim. “It’s scary sometimes, but he does real well in school. I think he’s going to start taking business classes.”
The Coys’ youngest child, Amanda, is a senior at Palmer Ridge High School in Monument, Colo., just north of the Air Force Academy, where the Coys live.
Coy is glad that he played organized sports in high school.
“High school sports is a really positive experience,” he said. “It prepares you for life.”
Coy himself is still active in outdoor sports, including mountain biking, fly fishing and backpacking.
“I still run and work out every morning,” he said. “I lead an active life.”
Larick, a retired Star Beacon sports writer, is a freelance writer from Geneva.
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