Lessons for Life: Sports in Geneva

March 22nd, 2019

1978 Geneva High School Sports Award Banquet.

In conjunction with the current exhibit Panthers & Saints: High School Sports in Geneva, the Geneva Historical Society is hosting a panel discussion, “Lessons for Life: Sports in Geneva” on March 26 at 7 pm.  Planned panelists for the program are Nan DeMuth, Mike Hanna, Steve Muzzi, Carl Wenzel, and Aliceann Wilbur. The panel members will discuss their experience with sports and organized athletics in Geneva’s past, as well as take questions from the audience.

A physical education teacher at Geneva and DeSales High Schools, Nan DeMuth was a pioneer in women’s sports. She graduated from Auburn High School in 1946 and went on to Cortland where she earned her bachelors and masters degrees. Nan founded the AAU-affiliated Finger Lakes Track and Field Club in 1964, which gave girls the chance to compete in track events before Title IX required equal athletic opportunities through schools. She also taught kindergarten in Dundee schools and coached their girls basketball, softball, field hockey, and track and field teams.

Mike Hanna grew up in Corry, Pennsylvania, the son of a high school football coach. He graduated from Hobart College in 1968, serving as co-captain of both the Statesmen football and lacrosse teams his senior year. After a three year stint in the U.S. Army, Mike embarked on a 47-year career in higher education and college athletics. After coaching stops at Johns Hopkins, Navy, and Princeton, Hanna was named Director of Hobart Athletics in 1981 and retired from the Colleges in December 2017. He and Geneva native Mary Anne (Duchaney) married in 1972; they have three adult children and five grandkids.

A 1972 graduate of DeSales High School, Steve Muzzi returned to his alma mater as a teacher, athletic director, and girls basketball coach. His basketball teams won three sectional and three league titles as well as a western regional title over 20 years. Steve also coached the Geneva High School varsity girls’ basketball team for eight years and coached cross country at both schools. An early member of the Geneva Sports Hall of Fame board of directors, Steve is currently the secretary for the organization. Steve taught economics and global studies at Geneva High, retiring in 2018 after a 43-year teaching career.


DeSales High School’s 1953 YMCA Girls Basketball League Team

Carl Wenzel coached the Geneva High School boy’s basketball team from 1980 to 2001, winning three Finger Lakes East titles and two Section V championships. Over that period his teams won 265 games, and he received several awards, including the New York State Coaches Association Honor Award in 1999. Carl also coached baseball and boys tennis at Geneva High. Carl grew up in Syracuse and played basketball for St. John Fisher College. He and his wife, Ann (Buckley), have three children, Andrew, Caroline, and Maureen. He retired from teaching business and accounting at Geneva High School in 2008.

Aliceann Wilbur grew up in Penn Yan and has been soccer coach for the William Smith Herons since the team’s start in 1980. She is the first woman in collegiate soccer history to earn 400 career wins, and her 555 wins put her in first place on the NCAA Division III Women’s Soccer all-time list. An exceptional mentor, Wilber has coached more Division III first-team All-Americans (25) than any other Division III women’s coach.

Our spring lecture series will continue on April 24 with the presentation “Women and the 19th-Century Culture of Fitness” by FLCC professor David Hughes and on May 13 with Geneva Historical Society curator John Marks’ program “Forgotten Geneva Sports Stories.”

This program is supported in part by the Samuel B. Williams fund for programs in the Humanities and is free and open to the public. For more information about the program, call the Geneva Historical Society office at 315-789-5151.

Want to know more about sports in Geneva? Visit our latest exhibit or watch the newest episodes of Geneva’s Stories.  


Tagged With: , ,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *