The Cole Family finally had a chance to meet one of their father's players, Leonard Kouse, who is the last living member of the 1940 New Carlisle High School Tigers basketball team. ANDY GRIMM | PHOTO

Hubert Cole's children grew up hearing stories about their dad's glory days as the coach of New Carlisle High School's championship-winning basketball team, but up until recently, they'd never met any of the players.

On Thursday, January 18, the Cole Family finally had a chance to meet one of their father's players, Leonard Kouse, who is the last living member of the 1940 New Carlisle High School Tigers basketball team. The Coles and Kouses came together at the Lake Avenue Retirement Center to accept a proclamation and resolution issued both from the Ohio Governor's Office as well as the City of New Carlisle.

Three of Cole's children, Jerry, Barbara, and Kathleen, were present on Thursday to meet Kouse and reminisce about the late Cole, who passed away long ago at the age of 62.

"My dad loved you guys as much as he loved his own kids," Jerry told Kouse. "None of us kids were born yet during this (championship game), so all we have are his memories," he said, adding that the 1940 championship victory occurred during Cole's first year coaching at New Carlisle High School.

Cole's daughter Barbara said her father continued to coach after leaving New Carlisle, and remembered her mother referring to Hubert's coaching time as their "Camelot years." She told Kouse that her father possessed a deep admiration and pride for all of the teams he coached throughout the years, especially the 1940 NCHS Tigers.

Kathleen Cole, who works for the Governor's Office, found a news article online about Kouse's activities in New Carlisle, and reached out to Mayor Ethan Reynolds to see if a meeting could be arranged. Reynolds then made contact with New Carlisle Historical Society President David McWhorter, who coordinated the meeting between the families so that they could come face to face with each other as they received the official recognition from State and local entities.

The Governor's resolution acknowledges the overwhelming odds overcome by the NCHS Tigers to emerge victorious in the 1940 championship, stating that Kouse and his team mates "inspired a community in need of hope."

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