History of the Wildcats
By: Moe Brubaker
Through the early 1930’s, the Napoleon High School athletic teams were known as the “Little Corporals.” Then, when Scotty Florence took over as coach in the fall of 1937, the Napoleon teams became unofficially known as the “Fighting Scots” or “Scots.”
In the late summer of 1940, Napoleon put together a search committee to select a new name or mascot for NHS athletic teams. Cliff Nelson, who had been coach at Swanton, came to Napoleon to guide the football squad that fall.
The search lasted three weeks and the committee voted 4-2 to accept the nomination of “Wildcats” submitted by Dick Speiser. He was awarded the $3 prize.
Coaches in the 1930’s included Carl Adams, Rex Burke, and John Cuff. Florence then was the coach for three years before being replaced by Cliff Nelson. After three more seasons, Nelson gave way to Joe Ayers.
However, Nelson returned to coach Napoleon’s son of the gridiron through 1946-47.
Then in the fall of 1948, a young, handsome Swanton native by way of BGSU and in the U.S. paratroopers who fought in the Battle of the Bulge, Charlie Buckenmeyer, would come on to become a living legend.
From 1948 through 1977, with time out for another stint in the U.S. Army (1951) Bucky became only the second man to rule The Great Maumee Valley… the other being General Anthony Wayne.
Buckenmeyer and the Wildcats become synonymous with football excellence. In 29 seasons, Napoleon won 209 games and 17 times the wildcats were unbeaten or lost just once. During the span, Napoleon won 18 Northwest Ohio Athletic League championships
Since 1977, Napoleon has seen five men guide the Wildcat grid fortunes… Don Morrison, Hip Klotz, Lynn Schrickel, Mike Burke, John Snoad, and now Tory Strock.