Poly's Waibel wore emotions on sleeve

People's lives, victories sculpted by his influence

High Schools

January 08, 2001|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,SUN STAFF

Former Poly football coach Augie Waibel, who died Saturday, was a lot of things to a lot of people.

To former player Obie Barnes, Forest Park's athletic director and football and lacrosse coach, Waibel was "the reason I became a physical education teacher and coach. ... He also coached my brothers, Harold, Gregory and my son Chris."

To Fallston football coach and athletic director Dave Cesky, 47, Augie Waibel "was the first person in line at the first viewing session" when Cesky's father, former Bel Air coach Al Cesky, died in 1985.

To 3-year-old Paige Durkee, one of his six grandchildren, he was "Grand-Augie.""[Paige] said, `I miss my Grand-Augie' - that's what they call him," said Betty Waibel, the coach's wife of 44 years. "We told her, `He's in heaven with the angels.' Probably lining them up and running his four basic plays: guts, trap, blast and counter."

Waibel, 67, whose teams won 14 conference crowns and spawned such NFL players as Charlie Pittman, Antonio Freeman, Mike Pitts and Greg Schaum, was found dead Saturday afternoon, slumped on the porch steps in front of a farmhouse in northern Baltimore County.

Waibel, who was on a hunting trip, was discovered by residents of the house. He had apparently walked to the house after his truck had stalled about a quarter-mile away. Betty Waibel, 68, said medical examiners have determined that her husband, who had no history of heart trouble, suffered a massive heart attack.

In 35 seasons (four at Edmondson) before he retired in 1997, Waibel's teams won 280 games, which left him third on the state's all-time winning list for coaches. He had only two losing seasons.

"I could give you a hundred stories about Augie," said Loyola coach Joe Brune, 67, who played against Waibel as a Loyola High senior offensive tackle when Waibel, a Pigtown native, was a Southern High senior center-linebacker. "I think I went 18 straight games without beating him, and when we finally did, it was like he couldn't believe it happened. I was like, `Augie, aren't I entitled to win one every once in a while?' "

Waibel was known as much for his sideline attire - which might include a wool knit cap, cutoff shorts over sweat pants and a plaid shirt thrown over a hooded jacket - as much as for his bludgeoning coaching style.

Betty Waibel, who said she fell in love with Waibel as a teen-ager after he picked up a glove she accidentally dropped, said once that her husband "wore grunge before the grunge look was popular."

Waibel attended the viewing of Sun columnist John Steadman on Thursday night. "We stood outside, and it took about 35 minutes for us to get in [to the viewing]. Augie really admired John," Betty Waibel said.

Waibel and former Poly assistant Bucky Kimmett had a chance to see his former star, Freeman, play for the last time a week earlier. "He and Bucky Kimmett had just come back from Green Bay, to see their game against Detroit. He was a guest of Antonio Freeman's. I'm so glad he got to see that," she said.

Services will be 10 a.m. Thursday at St. Ursula's Catholic Church on Harford Road in Parkville. Viewing is tomorrow and Wednesday, 2 to 4 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. each day, at Evans Funeral Chapel, also on Harford Road in Parkville.

In addition to his wife, Waibel is survived by his daughter, Stacey Durkee; sons Bill Waibel and Michael Waibel; and six grandchildren.

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