Strahm made a ‘bond of brothers’ on the football field
By Kevin Scrock
Some students go to college to get away from their parents. For anyone who played football for former Findlay coach Dick Strahm, they found another one. The 2004 College Football Hall of Fame Inductee led the University of Findlay to four national championships, but more importantly, he left a lasting impact on every player he coached.
“What made him very special was the ability he had to take kids from the inner city to the country and put them all together,” said former honorable mention All-American linebacker Mike Powers. “He made a bond of brothers.”
Strahm, who coached the Oilers from 1975-1998, collected all four national titles in the programs history. His desire to win was evident.
“When I went there as a freshman his big thing was that he expected to win championships,” said Powers. “When you went to Findlay you knew up front that Coach Strahm expected greatness and he didn’t accept anything but that.”
DeMya Wimberly, the team’s quarterback from 1989-1992, meshed with his coach instantly.
“Where Coach and I hit it off was our competitiveness because I’m the same way,” said Wimberly. “He’s one of the most competitive people I’ve met in my entire life. That passion to win was infectious and it rubbed off on us.”
Still, for a team that hadn’t won a title since 1979 and hadn’t even made the playoffs since 1985, Wimberly and Strahm knew that their work was not done when they simply reached those playoffs in 1991. There was only one thing on the agenda entering the 1992 season.
“We talked about winning the national championship from the time we got to practice that year,” said Wimberly. “From two-a-days until the day we did it that’s all we talked about.”
The team did do it. For the second time in the history of the school and for the first time in 13 years, Findlay was holding the national trophy.
“I remember one of our defense lineman just balling at our post game press conference,” said Wimberly. “That summed it up for everyone.”
However, what Wimberly took from his coach went farther than all those practices. It went farther than all those two-a-days and farther than the national championship.
“To me he was like another father or role model. I took lesson’s I learned from him into my administrative and professional life,” said Wimberly. “I took his principles into my career as far as motivating people, holding people accountable, and how to successfully lead teams as a manager.”
Wimberly, who is currently the academic success coach for all student athletes at the University of Toledo, still meets with Strahm from time to time.
Powers, who was a freshman on the 1992 team, also had a chance to play on the 1995 national championship team.
“You strive to become that man,” said Powers. “He’s someone to look up to.”
Powers, now a football coach himself, still leans on Strahm’s principles.
“I’ve coached football for over 12 years and a lot of the things I say and do I learned from that man,” said Powers. “I feel like at the end of the day if I can be 10 percent of the coach he was, I’ll be a great coach.”