If a coach’s record speaks for itself, then another word need not be spoken for John Piai. John’s Tiger football teams were the toasts of this town for so many seasons that the electricity they generated still burns brightly in our collective memory. The number “29” flashes before us. John was Head Football Coach at CFHS for 29 seasons (1962-1990). He was an assistant coach for the first season and Head Coach for the next three of a 29-game undefeated streak from 1961 through the first game of the 1964 season. Then, there was the 29-game win streak from 1970 through 1973. All told his teams won 175 games. Included were eight conference championships and four undefeated seasons. He was Conference Coach of the Year eight times, and in 1972 he was selected the Greater Cleveland Coach of the Year. In 1987, his team reached the Division IV State Playoffs, and John received the Lee Tressel Award from the Cleveland Touchdown Club. An all-around athlete at Thiel College, he was elected to that college’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 1992.
Anytime Dale touched a football, he was a threat to score. The line of scrimmage didn’t matter much. With sprint speed and moves that dazzled, this elusive tailback was an integral part of the Tigers’ 29-game undefeated streak in 1961-1964. During his junior year, he was the Northeastern Ohio District scoring leader in football with 148 points. He remains Chagrin’s all-time rushing and scoring leader. In football, he won All-Conference and Press Star honors. In track, he set a school record in the 220 yard dash with a 22.2 mark. He tied the school record in the 100 yard dash with a 9.9 clocking. Dale also lettered in basketball at CFHS. He was awarded a football scholarship to Kent State University, where he was a 2-year starter and letterman.
Esteemed by his peers for his masterful game preparation, Glenn guided Tiger teams to 352 victories during his long reign (1960-1988) as Head Basketball Coach. His victory total ranks as one of the highest in the history of boys’ basketball in Ohio. Glenn’s teams won three district titles, eight sectional crowns, and seven conference titles. Three of his teams were in regional competition. He was selected Conference Coach of the Year seven times, and in 1987 he received the Greater Cleveland Coach of the Year Award. As head baseball Coach, his teams won two conference championships. He served as Athletic Director at CFHS from 1983 through 1991. Glenn was the Director of the Chagrin Valley Recreation Center from 1964 through 1988.
Anyone who saw Bill perform athletically, remembers the great determination of this former Tiger standout. Known as a “fighter,” he starred in three sports at CFHS. By the time he was a senior, he was regarded as one of the finest football players to ever wear a Tiger uniform. He was a fullback and linebacker who was selected for the Western Reserve All-League team three times. Bill was also a Press Star and Plain Dealer All Star in football. In basketball, he was All-League two years and a Press Star. In track, he was a State qualifier in the mile run.
One of the finest distance runners in CFHS history, Dan was instrumental in his team’s capturing the Cross Country State Championship in 1971. It was the first team from Chagrin to be hailed as State Champions. Dan placed third individually. He held his school’s 2-mile record for more than a decade. For two years in Chagrin Valley Conference competition, he was undefeated in the 2-mile run. Dan also established several meet and course records in Northeastern Ohio. As a senior, he won the Vern Lockemer Award in track and was named All-Ohio in cross country and track during his junior and senior years. At Purdue University, he lettered two years in both cross country and track.
Bob’s tenacious play and athletic accomplishments earned him numerous awards in three sports at CFHS. During his senior year, he was Captain of the football, baseball, and basketball teams. He was the league’s Most Valuable Player in both football and baseball. Bob was named to All-State teams in both football and baseball. During his senior year, the Tigers were League Champs in football and basketball. He was the Cleveland Touchdown Club’s Player of the Year in the Chagrin Valley Conference. The Cleveland Press and Plain Dealer named him All-Scholastic in football. Bob earned two varsity letters in football at Bowling Green State University.
Tom was the optimal blend of intelligence and athleticism. His capacity to set the course of a ballgame was brilliantly illustrated in the 1975 District Basketball Championship. Stealing the ball at mid-court on several straight possessions in the opening minutes, he set the tone for the game, propelling the Tigers to a District title in convincing fashion. Tom was All-Conference in basketball, baseball, and football. In baseball, he lettered four years as an infielder and catcher. In basketball, he was named a Plain Dealer All-Scholastic. He earned All-State honors in football. At the University of Virginia, Tom lettered three years as a flanker on the football team.
While she was an outstanding athlete in volleyball and track, it’s the basketball wizardry of Jane Phend that few will forget. She dominates the CFHS record books as she once did her opponents. Among her career records are total points, assists, and steals. She scored 43 points in a single game and 39 points in a state tournament game, also school records. During the 1983 season, when the Lady Tigers were State Runners-up, Jane averaged 24.9 points a game and 27.0 in tournament play. As a senior, she was UPI First Team All-State and Player of the Year AA. She was also AP First Team All-State. Jane played in the McDonald’s All Star Classic and was invited to try out the for Pan American Games in 1983. She went on to star in basketball at the University of Cincinnati, where she was a 4-year letter winner. In 1987, she won the Helen Norman Smith Award for her college’s Most Outstanding Senior Female Athlete. Also during her senior year, she was First Team All Metro Conference.