By Scott Halasz
BEAVERCREEK — Gene “Big Daddy” Koverman was always quick with a story or joke.
So it was only fitting that former Beavercreek boys basketball coach Larry Holden had a whopper of a ditty when remembering the long-time Beavercreek teacher, scorekeeper and scoreboard operator, who died Jan. 9 at age 84.
According to Holden, Koverman was in the hospital years ago after getting robbed and beaten while leaving a pizza restaurant. Holden took his entire team to the hospital to see him and asked “Big Daddy” talk about his adult softball escapades, one game in particular.
Koverman was a pitcher but moved to first base in his later years. With his team facing a forfeit for not having enough players because he was injured, Koverman acquiesced and said he would play right field.
A couple innings into the action the opposing coach saw Koverman in right field with a first baseman’s glove, which was against the rules. The umpire asked Koverman for an explanation.
And Koverman did what he always did best.
“Well I’m playing first,” Holden quoted Koverman as saying.
The umpire responded, “What position is that guy playing,” pointing to the player at first base. Koverman indicated that player was the right fielder.
“How can that be,” the umpire questioned.
According to Holden, Koverman said, “I’m playing deep at first base and he’s playing shallow in right field.”
And the game continued.
“They all laughed,” Holden said of his team. “It brought a smile to his face telling that story.”
In reality, it was Koverman who always brought smiles to the faces of others with his humor, storytelling ability and fatherly presence around the school.
“I know the kids loved him,” said former Athletic Director Rex Warner, who first hired Koverman in the 1960s. “He was always quick with a joke. We had a lot of fun together. I was sorry to hear him go.”
Koverman taught in Beavercreek for 30 years, and in addition to running the scoreboard for 53 years, he started an intramural program at the high school.
“He completely built the Beavercreek High School intramural program from scratch,” said former Beavercreek player and boys basketball head coach John Ahrns. “Just a tremendously well-respected man. He was just one of those pillars of Beavercreek boys basketball that you always knew was there.”
Having Koverman around was something Holden continually expected on game day.
“Between the junior varsity and varsity game, our team would always go up and warm up for that 20 minutes,” Holden said. “He’d always come down and I’d be nervous. I would be in my office. He’d come down and sit down with me. Every single time, he would tell me a joke. Sometimes he told me the same joke over, but I didn’t know it because he might tell the same joke five times over but tell it five different ways. I wouldn’t know until he got to the punch line.”
Added Ahrns, “That sort of thing I always remembered as part of the pre-game ritual for that time period.”
Another pre-game ritual was between Koverman and announcer Dr. Roger Coy, also a Beavercreek legend.
“He always reminded me that I was older than he was because my birthday was in March and his was in April,” Coy said. “He loved his job at that scorers table. It kept him in touch with the kids.”
Visitation was held Friday. Mass of Christian Burial is 10:30 today, Jan. 14, at Immaculate Conception Church, 2300 Smithville Rd., Dayton.
Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.