Friday night, Oxford Academy’s varsity football team entertains Sidney in the school’s home opener. The Blackhawks, though, will step off of center stage for a few moments to honor one of the most revered coaches in school history.
During halftime, Blackhawk Stadium’s gridiron will be renamed Tony Abbott field, in honor of the retired teacher and coach. Abbott taught in the Oxford school district for 29 years, and was the varsity football coach from 1971-1995. According to Evening Sun records, Abbott won 134 games, the second-highest known victory total for a local football coach behind New Berlin legend George Seiler.
But Abbott meant so much more to the students of Oxford Academy than simply his ability to draw X’s and O’s on the football field. Abbott’s former players, Todd Hall, Jeff Locke, and Mitch Cluff have been instrumental in the renaming of the football field, and gained approval from the school district this year. “I cannot think of a person/coach/teacher that has meant so much to a community,” Hall said. Hall played for Abbott on the 1979-1981 football teams. “He would literally take the shirt off of his back for you. Rich or flat broke, if you showed some moxie, he was on your side. That includes after graduation. He helped kids get placed in different settings whether it was college or a work assignment.”