TORONTO - Alumni, staff, students and fans will get their final chance to say goodbye to the gymnasium that's served the high school since 1939 with a special program dedicated to the gym's history during a basketball game at 6 p.m. Feb. 23.
The Toronto Red Knights will take on the Wellsville High School Tigers.
The game and program, which will be broadcast live on the school district's website, at www.torontocityschools.k12.oh.us, will feature distinguished alumni, special guests and a celebration marking the gym's legacy, according to Maureen Taggart, high school principal and district communications coordinator.
ERA ENDING — Toronto High School is getting ready to celebrate its last varsity high school basketball game in the George J. Kunzler Memorial Gymnasium beginning at 6 p.m. Feb. 23.
-- Mark J. Miller
"Feb. 23 will be the last home basketball game ever played in the George J. Kunzler Memorial Gymnasium," Taggart said. "Because it's the last home game ever, we're hosting a special program called Lights Out Knights."
Taggart said the evening will include past players and coaches who distinguished themselves in Toronto sports history and "to be there for that final game."
"It's been a truly humbling experience talking to some of these (Toronto sports) alumni who were involved in basketball over the years," said co-organizer Andy Reeves, Toronto High School athletic director. "People that deserve the recognition don't want the accolades. They feel they owe it to Toronto to be there that night regardless if they are mentioned. They are saying that this is something bigger than themselves."
The gymnasium was built as an addition to the high school in 1939, while the school itself was built in 1925. In February 1973, the gym was named after George J. Kunzler, a Toronto sports legend, according to Taggart.
"He was a lifelong Toronto resident, and he worked in the Toronto School District for 43 years as a teacher, coach and athletic director," she said. "He also was an outstanding player in his own right. He was the captain of the baseball, basketball and football teams. He passed up a professional baseball career to return to teach at Toronto."
Former coaches, 1,000-point scorers and other Toronto basketball alumni will be recognized, along with a pep band performance and students singing the national anthem, Taggart said.
"We're also going to do a ceremony where senior boys and girls varsity players cut down the nets before the lights are turned out for the last time," said Reeves.
Those attending will receive a commemorative event ticket and event program while supplies last, said Taggart. Tickets are $5 for adults and $4 for seniors and students and can be purchased at the gate.
(Miller can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.)