By Tom Nader
Publisher and Editor
It was a two-week-old newspaper article that originally connected Rich Brumbaugh to Mogadore.
The article announced the retirement of a business teacher in the district, which prompted Brumbaugh to pick up the phone and make a call to see if the position had been filled yet.
“Can you come in tomorrow?,” Brumbaugh remembers principal Tom Murphy asking.
Brumbaugh swiftly answered, “Yes.”
That meeting with Murphy, which also included administrators Norm Lingle and Pat Clayton, opened up a lot of doors for Brumbaugh.
By the end of it, Brumbaugh was hired as the district’s newest business teacher, with a focus in accounting and typing.
But that wasn’t all.
He had been named the new girls basketball coach and the assistant volleyball coach. In his hands was an Apple 2E laptop and keys to the building.
Clearly during the interview process, Mogadore recognized someone that they did not want to lose.
Rich Brumbaugh was officially a Mogadore Wildcat.
That was in the summer of 1989.
Now, approaching the summer of 2023, Rich Brumbaugh is still a Mogadore Wildcat.
He has spent the last 34 years as an educator, administrator and coach.
His career has included 14 years as a volleyball coach, four years as a basketball coach, more than 10 years as a track and field coach, 10 years as a golf coach, 15 years as an assistant athletic director to Lingle and 12 years as the school’s athletic director.
He also was the high school’s acting principal in 1995 and was the union president for the teacher’s association.
Now, it is time for retirement.
A bittersweet decision that Brumbaugh recently announced.
“I always really enjoyed what I was doing, and I loved the kids. I discovered I had a joy for kids that came from all types of backgrounds,” Brumbaugh said between pauses to compose his emotions. “Even on your worst day as a teacher, you will still be a kid’s favorite teacher. You could be the most important adult figure in their life. That daily interaction, which happens at Mogadore every day, is hard to leave. It is just a special and great place to work at.”
For Brumbaugh, teaching was a career that almost never started.
Despite having an instinctual feeling that he wanted to be a teacher even when he was in high school at Kenmore (Class of 1980), he pursued and obtained an accounting degree at the University of Akron (Class of 1985), where he also walked onto the basketball team and earned a roster spot as a 6-foot-6 wing.
Brumbaugh’s professional career actually started as an accounting for Price Waterhouse in Cleveland, where he worked for two years (1986-1987).
Ultimately, the work was not fulfilling and motivated Brumbaugh to return to his original desire to be a teacher. It took another two years of college classes, but Brumbaugh received his teaching degree in 1989 and never looked back.
All the evidence you need is the result of that first meeting with the school’s top administrators.
Since day one, Brumbaugh has been fully committed to the Wildcats and that has never wavered.
If anything, it only strengthened over time through the parallel passion the community and Brumbaugh shared for athletics.
“Athletics are cherished in the village. It is incredible,” Brumbaugh said. “Friday nights in Mogadore are intoxicating. It wasn’t until 2019, when I resigned from my position as athletic director, that I realized there is a life that happens outside of those fences on a Friday night.”
Maybe so, but Brumbaugh has spent too many Friday nights under the cascade of those lights to know that there is a similar emotion.
Just like there is not a comparable emotion to saying goodbye to 34 years in education.