EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the 8th chapter in a 13-part series saluting the 2020 Ashland County Sports Hall of Fame class.
ASHLAND -- James “Jim” Deppen was born in Galion, Ohio in 1956.
His story is told in his own voice:
I am the youngest of four children of Anna and Howard Deppen. The earliest memories of “playing sports” was with my siblings and my parents.
My older brother and the boyfriends of my two sisters would often challenge me in play in various sports. Later in my life two of those boyfriends would coach me in football and track.
Growing up I enjoyed playing baseball, football, “Y” basketball, and throwing in track. A 1974 graduate of Galion High School, I was a letterwinner in football and track, gaining all conference in football.
Inspiration for sports came from the friendships that team sports developed and the joy that came from success. Realizing that success didn’t occur because of who you were but rather how hard you worked and how you applied the talents that God gave you.
Inspiration also came from the coaches throughout my childhood and adulthood. The head coaches as well as the assistant coaches. I have had the opportunity to work with coaches in track, wrestling, and football. I also found inspiration in the athletes that I coached with throughout the years at Galion, Columbus Bishop Ready, and especially at Ashland City Schools.
Being a middle school science teacher in Ashland, I was able to see the development of individuals as they matured from middle school athletes to high school athletes. My recognition comes from my longevity of coaching here in Ashland, and also from the successes of the athletes that I have coached.
Starting in 1986, I began coaching freshman football, middle school wrestling, and middle school track. I coached middle school wrestling and middle school track for two years and then coached wrestling at the high school level for six years (three of those seasons as head coach), track at the high school level for 12 years, and the 2021 football season is my 36th season at the high school level for coaching football in Ashland.
Special thanks go out to the four head football coaches that I had the privilege of working with, Coach Bob Quackenbush, Coach Dick James, Coach Scott Valentine, and Coach Sean Seder. I also have gained much knowledge from Coach Dan Fuller and Coach John Saccomen throughout the years. Thank you also goes out to the many combinations of administrators that I worked with in my years at Ashland.
I would like to thank my wife Ruth Anne for her love and for helping our family to stay connected all these many years. Thank you to my children for their love and support. Their belief in me as a father and coach is how I was nominated for this honor. I hope to always make them proud. My daughter Dr. Krisanna Deppen a 1998 graduate of Ashland High School, my son Joseph a 2005 graduate of Ashland High School, and my son Anthony a 2010 graduate of Ashland High School.
I know that it is cliché, but my go to saying, “Character is who you are when no one is watching” was used more than once in our household. My hope is that as I finish my coaching career and my life that I can live that statement.
Thank you to the Ashland County Hall of Fame committee for this recognition.