Obie Mouser: A Lima icon

By Mark Altstaetter - Guest Columnist

There are coaches that coach a sport. There are coaches who live the sport.

For many years, Obie Mouser has poured his time and passion into distance running at Defiance High School.

The 1964 Lima Senior graduate’s name has become synonymous with Defiance distance running.

Mouser’s resume is impressive.

In his tenure at Defiance High School, Mouser has sent 14 teams to the state cross country meet. In 2013, his squad won the Division II state title. In 2012, the Bulldogs were D-II runners-up.

Mouser’s teams have amassed 14 district championships and four regional titles.

Individually, there have been 71 state qualifiers (track and cross country) under the tutelage of Mouser. Forty athletes have earned all-Ohio status, including five state champions.

For his long list of coaching accomplishments, Mouser will be inducted into the Ohio Track and Cross-Country Coaches Hall of Fame Friday night in Columbus.

The fiery veteran coach has always pushed his athletes to be the best they can be.

For most people, Mouser is simply known as “Obie”.

Yes, Mouser expects a great deal from his athletes. However, there’s another side of the hall of fame coach that many people do not see.

I personally have coached cross country for 19 years. Over those years, I’ve learned to appreciate the other side of this legendary coach.

Mouser has always been quick to share his knowledge with other coaches in hopes the information will help take their programs to the next level.

Personally, I don’t think I’ve ever met another coach who studies and researches distance running more than he does.

However, it hasn’t always been just track and cross country for Mouser, who graduated from Defiance College, and then began teaching at Defiance High School in 1969.

In his early years as a social studies teacher at Defiance High School, Mouser began to coach basketball at the junior high level. He eventually became the high school boys’ head basketball coach in the late 1970s, a tenure which lasted for three years.

In 1973, Mouser started coaching cross country at Defiance. He has coached cross country for 28 years and track for 37 years. He also had a four-year stint at Defiance College, coaching track and cross country.

Despite having a great deal of success over the years coaching cross country, some of Mouser’s best teams were arguably during his early years when Defiance normally competed in the Division I postseason tournament. The Defiance boys’

team does currently compete in D-I, but many of his teams in the 2000s were D-II, including the 2013 state championship squad.

Coach Mouser helped his son Patrick (class of 2002) make it to the Division I state cross country meet four times. He placed fourth at the state meet in 2000 and 2001. In track, Patrick was a Division I state qualifier three consecutive years. Patrick went on to compete at Auburn University.

Mouser has always entered his teams in some of the most competitive regular-season invitationals, in an effort to get his athletes prepared for the postseason.

When most coaches are tapering their runners for the league tournament, Mouser’s athletes are still logging high mileage; and it has definitely paid off.

Mouser does not like to lose.

It’s a sure thing Mouser’s passion for winning has kept the Defiance program at the top of the Western Buckeye League for many years. During his long reign, Defiance has garnered 19 WBL team titles, including winning the last four seasons.

Mouser remembers his roots. He often reminisces about the great run that Lima Senior had in baseball in the 1960s, under legendary head coach Joe Bowers. He also reflects on some of the great basketball teams and players at Lima Senior. Mouser has a lot of pride in Lima Senior, both past and present.

Mouser still makes frequent trips to Lima to have lunch with his fellow Lima Senior classmates, usually donning his finest Defiance sportswear.

One could say that Mouser is a very proud man.

Both Lima and Defiance should be very proud as well.

By Mark Altstaetter

Guest Columnist

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