LIMA — Vince Koza’s work in the community went well beyond his impact in the coverage of local sports.
Having built a career on TV and radio for 40 years, Koza, who died in January, would volunteer his time emceeing games and events with the Allen County Abilities Baseball League as well as several other events.
Koza also served on the board of the American Cancer Society and Easter Seals of Miami Valley and worked with the Equestrian Therapy program at Fassett Farms.
“He did numerous banquets, reverse raffles and those things,” said Holly Geaman-Koza, the wife of late Vince Koza. “He helped out whenever he could when someone asked him to emcee. In TV and radio, he was about trying to pump up the kids and make people excited about the teams.”
Geaman-Koza said many of those efforts began when Koza moved over to radio full time at 93.1 The Fan in 2008 after working at WLIO-TV as sports director for 27 years.
“When he got into radio, it was less cutthroat to break the story and it was more about these are our kids, these are our coaches, and we should support them and understand their importance,” she explained.
Koza was nominated by Jeff Fitzgerald, current news director and anchor at WLIO-TV. When he started 27 years ago, Fitzgerald would work directly with Koza.
“When I first started, he was already here as sports director. He sort of mentored me because I started helping in the sports department before I got in news,” he said. “He took me under his wing — he had been here a few years and helped me to get how to do the business.”
Fitzgerald saw first-hand how Koza was changing the landscape of local sports coverage.
“Before, there wasn’t much coverage, but he just wanted to cover everything. People in West Central Ohio got used to that so we still do it today,” Fitzgerald said. “He didn’t just cover the major sports, he covered everything and I think that’s why he became a member of the media advisory board for the OHSAA, because he worried and cared about all student-athletes from the last one off the bench to the star player.”
Both inside and outside of the sports world, that caring attitude is what Koza will best be remembered for.
“I definitely think he’s deserving because he was the biggest cheerleader for Limaland in sports and in everything he was involved in,” Geaman-Koza said. “He would be humbled and surprised that he was even nominated … This is shocking and great, I just wish he was still here to know.”
Reach Tara Jones at 567-242-0511.