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Tony DiRe - phenomenal Grade School coach by Ray Rocene

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Tony DiRe - Phenomenal Grade School Coach by Ray Rocene

Missoulian sports reporter Ray Rocene often wrote about almost anything sports related. His sports interests covered a wide spectrum, from professional tennis to major league baseball to fishing on the Blackfoot with Norman ‘Paul Bunyan’ Means, the originator of the ‘Bunyan Bug.’ Given that Rocene’s career spanned a half century’s worth of Missoula sports it’s not surprising that there are many gems left to discover in reading his thousands of posts. One of these came when reading what he wrote about a grade school coach who had phenomenal success in Missoula. The following is from Rocene’s July 12, 1956 column:

Tony DiRe, who has for four years been a member of the Missoula public grade school staff and served as sports coach at Franklin and Jefferson schools with exceptional records for producing talent and victories, is ending his work in that field to go into the insurance business.

His grade school touch football teams had a record of 51 won, two lost, his grade school basketball teams a 71-2 record, and his grade school softball teams a 46-6 record. His Franklin teams went through four seasons, 1948-1952, without a defeat in touch football, basketball and softball. His Jefferson teams were undefeated in all sports the past school year.

Outstanding Franklin athletes started on their sports career by DiRe include Bob and Jim Powell, Naseby Rhinehart Jr., Montana Brockman*, Dan Magstadt, Lief and Harold Larson, Roger Johnson, Harry and Jim Baur, Gerald Luchau, Jim Sayler, LeRoy Bolin and Owen Schmautz from the Franklin, Bill and George Thomas, Chuck Hutchins, John Knight, Russell Huggins, Jack Roske and Merton Stephens from the Jefferson.

*[Montana Brockman here is likely a misspelling of Montana Lee Bockman, who went on to play  Grizzly football. He died in 2009 and his obituary from the Missoulian can be found at the following link: http://missoulian.com/news/local/obituaries/05thu/montana-lee-tana-bockman/article_00c680af-2e53-5386-a039-5f379c559ac1.html]

Born in 1922, Anthony Guy DiRe hailed from Anaconda, Montana, where his father settled after immigrating from Italy. He was a WWII Navy veteran who attended the University of Montana, graduating in 1948. He received a Master in Education degree at U of M in 1955 after writing a thesis that focused on reading comprehension in grade school children. He left Missoula and moved to the Seattle area where he still lives. Several of his children and grandchildren entered the medical profession.


Master’s Thesis – U of M – 1955





Last Updated on Wednesday, 17 January 2018 17:23