~John D. Sulsberger #70

John Sulsberger image

John D. Sulsberger lost his battle with cancer at age 18, just months after graduating from Zanesville High School in 1963. John had been awarded a football scholarship to Ohio State by legendary Buckeyes coach Woody Hayes. John’s death on December 20, 1963, left the community shocked and devastated.

In his honor, Dr. and Mrs. Sulsberger donated the funds to build what is now known as the John D. Sulsberger Memorial Stadium on the ZHS campus. Community members were also given the opportunity to contribute to the stadium funds. The facility was dedicated on November 13, 1964 – less than six months after the groundbreaking – in a game against archrival Newark to decide the Central Ohio League championship. Woody Hayes, the dedication speaker, gave an inspiring and emotional message to a capacity crowd of 8,000. The stadium continues to serve the community as an outstanding athletic complex.

Blue Devils fans know the legend — John Sulsberger once pointed out to his football teammates where a nice stadium could be built on the ZHS campus — and that’s exactly where one was built following his tragic death in 1963. On Aug. 28, 2009, prior to the Blue Devils’ game with Newark, a special donor recognition area was dedicated and it includes a life-sized statue of John Sulsberger, created by local sculptor Alan Cottrill.

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