A few hours before press time, we got word that legendary Oxford coach Elmer Ball passed away on Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2017. He was 86 years old.
Ball coached the high school’s cross country team from 1963-74 and again, from 1995-96. He established a dual meet record of 123-21 and claimed four Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA) regional championships and four league titles.
He served as assistant coach for the track and field team from 1964-80, then took over as head coach in 1981. He stepped down following the 1992 season. Ball’s dual meet record was impressive at 101-18. He captured eight league championships along with the Oakland County co-championship and MHSAA Class B boys track state title in 1991.
In 1988 and 1991, Ball was selected as Oakland County Coach of the Year.
He earned Coach of the Year honors from the Michigan Interscholastic Track Coaches Association in 1983 and again, in 1991.
Over the years, Ball, who served in the Korean War, coached 12 individual state champions, one in cross country in 1969 and 11 in track and field.
From 2002 on, Ball served as a volunteer for the cross country program.
Ball was respected inside the classroom as well as on the field. He taught drafting, woodworking and math for 36 years at OHS.
In 2010, Ball was part of the inaugural class to be inducted into the OHS Hall of Fame.
A funeral service will be held at Lynch and Sons Funeral Directors (39 W. Burdick St.) in Oxford on Saturday, March 4 at 11 a.m.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that memorial donations please be made to the Elmer Ball Foundation, care of Oxford Community Schools.
Look for a full story about Ball’s life in next week’s Leader.