(7-22-17) The Mercer County Library has provided a great site for those who attended/graduated from Celina or Mendon Union High Schools. Numerous editions of yearbooks are available for view and it is a quality site.
One non-yearbook item is the 1944 History of CHS which details the very early years of the school, including the first boys basketball and football teams. Looking back almost ninety years gives some interesting information that most Bulldog fans might not have known.
above 1924-25 Celina High Boys Basketball
Interesting to note that Celina had no no gym for the first Bulldog team back in 1922. According to the history story games were played at IC, that would be the gym currently located at the current elementary school, since IC High School was not built until the 1930’s. So where did they practice, according to the history, ‘baskets were hung in the large corridor in the high school‘.
The first gym, thanks to Celina taxpayers approving one, used by Bulldog teams was built soon after that first season, it is the auditorium currently located in the Celina Ed Complex, the current auditorium was once a gym as well with a 60′ x 40’ floor and seated 300 fans, another 100 could be added when bleachers were placed on the stage. That floor would be used for 12 years and hosted the county tournament during that stretch.
The next step was the building of the Fieldhouse, which continues to be the home of the Bulldogs. In the 1930’s it was one of the top gyms in the area and the State of Ohio.
How successful was the basketball program? It helped to finance both the newer football and track programs at the school.
above, 1924 Celina High football team, the second team ever in school history
One year after basketball became a sport at Celina, football was added. According to the history, the playing field was ‘ a cow pasture of the north side of town’. According to the author of the history, if the Bulldogs could beat Rockford it was a successful season.
The sport continued to grow when the playing field was relocated at the high school on East Livingston Street. In 1930 fences (cost $2,208) were added, it made the ticket-taking process go a lot smoother. The school board would not pay for the fence, lights or some new seating…but the Celina School Superintendent and Principal said they would make sure it was paid for.
Celina was one of the first schools to play night football in the State of Ohio, but some schools didn’t like the idea and declined the opportunity and others wanted a higher guarantee to play under the lights.
For almost 80 years Celina athletics has used the same sites for both basketball and football, thanks to some needed changes and additions over the years. The future seems to remain the same with no changes coming very soon.
Related: Visit the Mercer County Library Web site