Hard-nosed two-way football player to enter Avon Lake Sports Hall of Fame

Avon Lake

By Michael Fitzpatrick

A hard-nosed running back who won conference MVP honors and went on to a 30-plus year career in education will enter the Avon Lake Sports Hall of Fame next month.

Gary Wetherill, a 1967 graduate, earned three varsity football letters, was co-captain and won a slew of postseason awards, including the Southwestern Conference Running Back of the Year for 1966, as well as being named to the All-Conference team that year. He was also named the Plain Dealer’s Player of the Week for the first week of the 1966 season.

“In that era, he was just a very throwback, hard-nosed player,” said Danny Houdeshell, who nominated Wetherill. “He went both ways, played defense and offense.”

Wetherill also lettered in baseball for two years, track for three years, wrestling for two years and was named the ALHS Senior Athlete of the Year for the Class of 1967.

He earned a scholarship to Miami of Ohio and played his freshman year, then transferred to Baldwin Wallace, where he lettered in football for two more years.

He ended up in the U.S. Marines where he rose to the rank of captain and served as a platoon commander in Vietnam.

He went on to work for 34 years in education as a teacher, coach, athletic director, assistant principal and principal and co-founder of a charter school in Venice, Florida, where he lives today.

“He’d do anything for anybody,” Houdeshell said of Wetherill. “Just really kind with a big heart and a hard worker. He’s had four back surgeries and seven knee replacements and he still gets around,” Houdeshell said.

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