Former Paxton High School football coach selected for hall of fame

PAXTON — Clint Forsyth, a former head coach at Paxton High School, has been selected for the Illinois High School Football Coaches Association’s 2018 Hall of Fame Class.
 
“Well-deserved honor for coach Forsyth; great man, great coach,” said Jeff Graham, former PHS football player and current Paxton-Buckley-Loda head football coach.
“This is a great honor for coach Forsyth,” added Mike Allen of the PHS Class of 1987 and current Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley head football coach. “He was an offensive genius and is well deserving of this honor. Congratulations, coach.”
 
Forsyth was PHS’s head football coach from 1979-1986, including an 11-2 record and state championship game appearance in 1984.
 
“He was the leader. He kept us all together and kept us going in the right direction,” said Dennis Polson, a team captain and all-state linebacker. He was a good coach. I’m glad he’s in the Hall of Fame. He deserves it.”
 
Clint Forsyth arrived in Paxton when Steve Nuss, who was an all-state running back as a junior in 1984, was in sixth grade. Nuss and Clint’s son, Brad were in the same grade and were managers for the varsity football team.
 
“That meant going to every single practice,” Nuss said. 
 
Nuss and Brad Forsyth watched as the wing-T was introduced to Paxton.
 
“Clint was an offensive tenius,” Nuss said. “We ran the wing-T and we could run the same play out of 10 different formations. He expected the best out of you at every practice and every game.”
 
In the 1984 semifinal game, Nuss recalls his Paxton team rallying for a 42-28 after a halftime deficit.
 
“During the Maroa-Forsyth semifinal game, we went at halftime down, and he pulled the offensive line together and ask what all the defensive guys were doing so we change the blocking assignments. He just had a knack but finding out what was happening, and he changed the game plan in the middle, and it always worked out good for him.”
 
Ken Ingold, who played for Forsyth’s Fisher teams in the mid 1970’s, remembers the simplicity of his former coach’s game plan. 
 
“We didn’t have a lot of plays — we had maybe five or six running plays and, maybe, two or three passing plays, but he was a real stickler for execution, and I thought that was really good,” Ingold said. “He wasn’t really extravagant on offense or defense, but what we did, we did really well.”
 
“He was a winner before he came to Paxton, and he kept his winning ways going,” Polson added. “He brought the winning ways around. He had some pretty good teams.”
 
Memories of Forsyth go far beyond the playbook for his former players.
 
“He affected a generation of young men,” said Rocky Marron, a player on the 1984 state runner-up team. “I admire the way he dealt with his family — he had a great balance between sports and home. He knew his players — which ones he could push and which ones he had to coddle a bit. (I have the) ultimate respect — I used his teachings with not only coaching young men but in raising my sons.
 
“Both he and coach (Jerry) Zimmerman just had an aura about them. They command respect from the moment they walk into a room. They didn’t have to say a word. Honestly, I remember Coach Forsyth raising his voice out of anger one time — halftime of a loss to Princeville in 1985). He was a great communicator who let his players dictate the tempo of the team. Coach Forsyth and Coach Zimmerman were polar opposites when it came to intensity, but I remember it working out very well, it was a nice mix.”
 
The memories even extended beyond the football field, as Forsyth also served as a physical education teacher.
 
“He was a pretty good badminton player,” Polson said. “We used to play quite a bit of badminton.”
 
The emphasis on execution is something that Ingold has brought to his approach as Fisher High School’s girls basketball and softball coach, among other sports.
 
“I’ve tried to keep that same mentality,” Ingold said. “You don’t have to do a lot of things. You don’t have to run a lot of plays, but if you run your stuff well, then you’re still going to be successful. I think that’s the biggest thing I learned from him.”
 
Forsyth’s coaching had an influence on Graham and Allen, according to Marron.
 
“I see a lot of Coach Forsyth and Coach Zimmerman in both coach Graham and coach Allen,” Marron.
 
Clint Forsyth’s Paxton teams also qualified for the playoffs in 1979 and 1985 with records of 8-2 and 9-3, respectively.
 
“He had great football teams every year,” Nuss said. “He was a class act. He was a great coach and, just an all-in-all great person. He raised some good kids. I’m proud to have been a part of him getting into the Hall of Fame. He had some great players.”
 
The 2018 IHSFCA Hall of Fame ceremony will be held April 8 at the Hilton Garden Inn in Champaign.
 
“My dad’s pretty happy and excited,” said Bret Forsyth, son of Clint. “We are as well. We’re just kind of looking forward to coming back down and having the ceremony.”
 
At 83 years old, Clint Forsyth lives in Mishawaka, Indiana, next to South Bend. Bret and his family live nearby.
 
After his last season as PHS’s football coach in 1986, Clint Forsyth coached Bret’s junior high basketball, baseball and track and field teams before retiring from teaching and moving to the Joliet area in 1994.
 
Clint Forsyth lived in Paxton again from the early 2000’s to the mid-2000’s. After the ceremony, which will be attended by Bret along with
 
Bret’s mother, Kathy, and brother, Brad, there is a plan to hold a get-together with Clint Forsyth and his friends in Paxton.
 
“We’ll probably get together with some friends in Paxton that evening,” Bret Forsyth said.
 
Ingold said he plans on going to the ceremony as well.
 
“I’m really happy for him and his family,” Ingold said. “I want to wish him congratulations.”
 
Joining Forsyth in the hall of fame class are Dan Sharp (Joliet Catholic Academy), Dan Sharp (Minooka), John Jackson (Plainfield Central), Dennis Bundy (Lincoln-Way), Dan Appino (Rockford Boylan, Rockford Auburn), John
 
Bothe (Oregon), Dave DeJaegher (Rock Island Alleman), Barry Diest (Staunton), J. Randy Hofman (Richmond-Burton), Ron Muhitch (Wheaton Warrenville South), Bob Pieper (Crete-Monee, Glenbrook North), Rich Thompson (Concord Triopia) and Cully Welter (Aledo, Ridgeview, Monticello) and assistants Jim Hughes (Genoa-Kingston), Len Onken (Chatham Glenwood) and Paul Thomason (Batavia).
Categories (3):Prep Sports, Football, Sports

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