Austintown Fitch High School's Hall of Fame committee is jumping with excitement this month over a newly established scholarship in memory of longtime teacher and Fitch athlete, William B. Knight.
"What makes this really cool is that this scholarship will last a lifetime at YSU because it is with the YSU Foundation as an endowment and it is already fully vested by Dr. Chris Knight," said Fitch HOF chairman Tim Kelty. "It is the intent that this scholarship goes to a Fitch student interested in the field of education. William B. Knight was a teacher and it is our hope that someday our scholarship recipient will be a teacher in the Austintown Local Schools also."
Kelty said Knight was a devoted Austintown teacher. He was born in West Austintown, the son of Bert and Mildred (Goist) Knight, and was a lifetime area resident. He graduated from Austintown School and received his bachelor's and master's degrees from Kent State University. He was president of his 1940 Senior Class.
Photo special to the Town Crier
Marty Dyer, Fitch Hall Of Fame committeeman and Fitch class of 74 alumna; Dr. Chris Knight, Fitch class of '72; and Timothy S. Kelty, chairman of Fitch Hall of Fame and Fitch Class of '86 met at Youngstown State University recently to begin a new scholarship: The Austintown Fitch High School William B. Knight Athletic Hall Of Fame Scholarship.
While at Fitch Knight scored 22 touchdowns, and a 2 point conversation in 16 games as starting halfback of the Falcon football team. Along with Ray Hood, he was known as one of "The Touchdown Twins". He holds the record for the longest interception for a touchdown: 99 yards in the 1938 game with Fitch vs. Wilson at the first night game at South Stadium.
As a three-year starter on the basketball team, Knight averaged 10 points his senior year, which was over half the team's points. His football team was the first to win any championship (two years) in the TMC League.
Knight was also a football coach for five years after college at Fitch and also ran the football scoreboard for 40 years at Fitch. He was inducted into the third AFHS HOF class in 2010.
Off the sports field, Knight was a teacher for 37 years for the Austintown Local Schools in industrial arts, retiring in 1983. He was a member of the West Austintown United Methodist Church, Youngstown Masonic Lodge F&AM, Youngstown Shriners Club, served as past lieutenant governor and past president of the Austintown Optimist Club where he started the Tri-State Meet.
Knight proudly served his country in the U.S. Army during World War II. He is survived by his son, Dr. Chris Knight of Boardman, and his daughter, Kathy Hausser of Atlanta. He is also survived by grandchildren, Lindsay, Lee and Greg Knight, and Haley, Brooks and Reed Hausser.
"This is a very special and unique scholarship that no other school system has throughout the tri-county area," Kelty said. "We are extremely proud to present it."
The Austintown Fitch High School William B. Knight Athletic Hall Of Fame Scholarship was developed through a partnership with The YSU Foundation and President Paul McFadden. Kelty said the intent is to recognize and reward the members of the Austintown Fitch community who have excelled in athletics and have made outstanding community contributions.
Kelty said others can make tax-deductible donations to the scholarship fund and if all goes well, he said it could blossom into a four-year scholarship down the road.
"The support of this scholarship will provide the next generation of Austintown Fitch student athletes with an opportunity to pursue their academic dreams at YSU," he said.
The Fitch HOF weekend this year will take place on Sept. 21 and 22 at the banquet hall at Immaculate Heart of Mary in Austintown. That weekend's football game will have the Falcons taking on rival Boardman. Tickets are available at Fitch High School.
"We the HOF are truly investing in our local future," Kelty said. "The spirit of the 'Fighting Falcons' will live on through our William B. Knight Scholarship. Can't say it any better than that."