MARCO ISLAND — When Scott Shook saw his first football game as a child, with his Dad, Harry, he was immediately hooked on one of America’s most historical football teams, the Massillon Tigers, from Massillon, Ohio.
“I began to write about sports at the age of fifteen, and I began as a sport writer, all for the love of the Massillon Tigers. It’s a cradle to grave love of football in Massillon,” said Shook, in a recent interview about his newly released book.
Instead, of stopping at writing and publishing his first best-selling book, Massillon Memories, published in the late 1990s, Shook came back stronger, after 10 years into researching and developing this major historical collection of football, “A Century of Heroes.”
Shook’s 1,024 page account of some of the most prominent football players in the early history of professional football, captures the significant “firsts” of football, from the development of team mascots, to the first mascot stickers on the sides of helmets, to the major wins of coaches, and tough losses in the game of football. It all began with the Massillon Tigers.
There were many journeys Shook took to the Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, for many of Shook’s major illustrations and research, “but it’s well worth the trips,” says Shook. He included some of the illustrations, photographs, and original team drawings from the early 1900s, in his most recently published book, with a forward by Chris Spielman, a 2010 College Football Hall of Famer.
In his forward, Spielman starts with detailing the pride he has from playing with the Massillon Tigers, and maintains that Shook captures those traditions, and loyalty of the players to the team, and to their hometown of Massillon, Ohio.
Winning football traditions last forever, Shook explained of his many interviews in the course writing his newest book. “Paul Brown, the namesake of the Cleveland Browns, a lot of people connect with him as the father of modern football. He taught a lot of coaches how to coach,” said Shook.
Most notably, Coach Paul Brown began to think outside of the box in coaching America’s first football players. “He was the first coach to have playbooks, and what he would do, was write the plays down on a chalkboard, and his players would write the plays down. It was all started at Massillon, and he revolutionized football. He brought classroom techniques to the game of football,” said Shook.
Arriving at the cover design of his recent book came from a dear friend Shook knew from a family friendship that began as Shook worked at the Charter Club of Marco Beach for the past 30 years.
“I collaborated on the cover of the book with one of the little kids I worked with at the Charter Club from many years ago. His Dad came up into my office, and said his son worked in book covers in Fort Myers. Adam Pavkov designed the cover of the book, and he did a wonderful job.”
About a year into watching his newly published book celebrated in his hometown of Massillon, and at bookstores, Shook balances his time between book signings. He is an assistant Manager at the Charter Club of Marco Beach, and recently spearheaded a bicycle tour to benefit the Marco Island YMCA. When he is not writing, biking, or working, Shook spends time with his family on Marco Island.
“The book goes decade, by decade. It looks like many mini biographies,” said Shook. “The book includes the mini biographies of the star football players.”
Joe Studer was one of those star players from the Massillon Tigers back in 1975. “The book was so well done, and Shook captured everything perfectly,” said Studer, from his home in Ohio, after reading Shook’s “A Century of Heroes.”
“There’s a chapter about my brother, and one on my Dad, and there was a great game he wrote about, where the Tigers played against McKinley and won with a long touchdown pass, and I was the senior co-captain,” said Studer, whose Dad, Junie, the team historian, painted many commemorative items over the years to honor the hometown team that started it all in the world of pro football. The entire Studer family and volunteers collected and maintain a library of all of the newspaper documents that made Massillon Tigers a winning football tradition.
“It’s a small Midwestern steel town, and they ended up with an excellent football team,” Shook said.
Taking that same excellence, Shook brings the histories alive in his newest historical account.
Scott Shook’s book can be found at Sunshine Booksellers on Marco Island, at acenturyofheroes.com, and at www.amazon.com. Shook said he can be available to talk about his book to local organizations, and he can be reached through his website.