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Football season kicks off honoring legend

Aug 18, 2010

Coach RobersonOhio Northern University kicks off the 2010 Division III football season against Wisconsin-River Falls on Thursday, Sept. 2., with a number of activities, including a tribute to ONU’s revered former head coach Arden “Stretch” Roberson. The ONU game is the first game of the collegiate football season at any level.

After graduating from Ada High School, Roberson attended OSU during summer 1943 and the fall and winter quarters of 1943-44. He then served in the U.S. Navy until spring 1946 before returning to Northern to earn his Bachelor Science in education in 1949. He earned his Master of Arts in education from Kent State University in 1956.

During the 1950s, Roberson pursued a successful coaching career at several institutions. From 1950-56, he was the head basketball coach and backfield football coach at Mentor High School in Mentor, Ohio. The following year, he served as head track coach and backfield football coach at Massillon High School in Massillon, Ohio. During 1958 and 1959, he was head basketball coach and backfield football coach and training coach at Baldwin-Wallace College in Berea, Ohio.

In 1960, Roberson returned to Northern as head football coach, a position he held until 1969. From 1969-74, he served as an assistant professor of health and physical education.  ONU’s new football stadium was dedicated as the Dial-Roberson stadium, in honor of the Roberson family, in 2004.

The celebration to honor Roberson begins with an open practice on Wednesday, Sept. 1, at 4:30 p.m. at Dial-Roberson Stadium. After practice, there will be a reception at the stadium from 5:30-7:30 p.m.

The festivities continue on Thursday, Sept. 2, with the football team’s pre-game meal in the McIntosh Center Dining Hall at 11 a.m. After this meal, Roberson will be recognized in the English Chapel.

Before the game, guests will create a “spirit tunnel” in the tunnel of Dial-Roberson Stadium as the team prepares to take the field for the game’s 3 p.m. kickoff.

For more information, please contact Sarah Prasher, assistant director of alumni relations, at or 419-772-1943.

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