Tobias Funeral Home - Far Hills Chapel

5471 Far Hills Ave, Dayton, OH


James A Spoerl

21 December , 193218 April , 2019

SPOERL, James Arnold (Coach Spoerl), age 86 of Dayton, passed peacefully at Hospice of Dayton on Thursday, April 18, 2019 surrounded by family. On Thursday, family, friends, and former football players visited him. He waited for a quiet room before he departed to be with the love of his life, JoAnn (Ruhlman) Spoerl. JoAnn passed on September 5, 2006. Jim was preceded in death by his parents, Clarence (also known as “Cack”) and Helen (Kreke) Spoerl, his two brothers-in-law, Tommy and Robert (Charlene) Ruhlman and his in-laws Robert and Helen Ruhlman. He is survived by his brothers, Gene (Pat) of Hamilton, OH, Jude (Louise) Spoerl of Fairfield, OH, sister, Diane (Vince) of Media PA and many nieces, nephews, and cousins. He is survived by his 9 children, 25 grandchildren and 18 great-grandchildren. His children are: Nancy (Rick) Vogel, Mike (Sybille) of Germany, Sue (Rob) Smith, Maureen (Jack) Hamby of Columbus, OH, Jim (Valerie) of Avon Lake, OH, Diana (John) of South Carolina, Theresa (Grant) Stumpf, Patty Bergman and Kathy (Bill) Lyons of Wyoming, OH. His children attended Dayton schools, Immaculate Conception School and Carroll High School. His grandchildren are: Brian (Carrie) Vogel, Renee (Tom) Cope, Brenda (Mike) Helsel, Marcus (Connie) Spoerl, Emily, Julia, and Nick Smith, Josh (Lauren) Hamby, Tony (Laura) Hamby, Angela (Jake) McSurley, Michael Hamby, Jennifer, Allison and James Spoerl, Maria (Jamie) Burkhardt, Johnathan (Kristina) Frebis, Emma, Beth, Grant Jr. Stumpf, Tom, Greg, and Jimmy Bergman and Kelly, Meghan and Billy Lyons. His great-grandchildren are: Nicholas and Leo Spoerl, Reagan, Maggie and Tim Cope, Annie and Charlie Helsel, Jonah and Eliza Vogel, Parker, Griffin and Charlotte Hamby, Addyson and Harper Hamby, Isaac, Isabelle and Ava McSurley and Jackson Frebis. Jim grew up in Hamilton, Ohio, where he attended an all-boys Hamilton Catholic High School. He excelled in football and basketball. He acquired varsity letters for two years in each sport. He played baseball for 2 years and pitched four “no hitters.” Jim’s goal was to play college football, as a quarterback. After graduating from high school in 1951, Jim earned a full athletic scholarship to University of Dayton to play football and pursue an Education Degree. He played with football great Chuck Knoll. Their team was a part of the only UD Division 1 team to play in the postseason. The team was 7-3 and participated in the 1952 Salad Bowl in Phoenix, which was the forerunner of today’s Fiesta Bowl. Jim remembered taking the overnight train to the game. Jim and JoAnn married in 1954. During college, Jim worked the night shift at NCR to support his family. Jim was drafted into the United States Army after two years of attending college and playing quarterback. He proudly served in Germany. JoAnn and their first child, Nancy, joined him in Germany. Their second child, Mike, was born in Germany. After serving in the Army for two years, Jim returned to University of Dayton to finish his football career and Education Degree. He was fortunate to play with another football great, Jerry Faust. They would become life-long friends. Jim graduated from University of Dayton in 1957. Jim often expressed gratitude for the religious Brothers and Sisters whom assisted him throughout his time at UD. He said, “There were many people who seemed to be there when I needed them.” His Faith gave him strength through the difficult times. Jim started his teaching and coaching career in Monroe, Michigan at the Brothers of the Holy Cross. He continued to teach for three more years at a public school in Hamilton before moving to Dayton, OH in 1962. Jim and JoAnn moved their 6 children to a home in Dayton. Jim was excited to be a part of a fairly new high school, Carroll High School, Home of the Fighting Patriots. Coach Spoerl taught Health and Physical Education at Carroll HS. During his Carroll career, he was also the Athletic Director, Baseball, Basketball and Football Coach. Football was his special love! The football field was christened in 1971 due to the diligence of committed volunteers. Coach Spoerl was proud of finally having a football field and spent hours grooming it. To prevent field damage, it was not uncommon for him to rent a helicopter to dry out a wet field before a home game. The field expanded the Carroll Campus and the future hopes of the school. The Carroll football program benefited tremendously when Coach Spoerl introduced the Veer Offense. He attended a 5-day coach’s conference at the University of Houston and met Coach Bill Yeomen. Coach Yeoman used the Veer offense at the collegiate level with the Houston Cougars. Coach Spoerl returned to Carroll to share his new knowledge with his coaches and teams. In 1969, the football record was 6-4. In 1970, the season finished with a 9-1 record. In 1971, the season had a 9-0-1 record! The trademark of Coach Spoerl’s teams were execution by mental toughness, conditioning and discipline. A player shared, “Coach taught us that as long as we did our best and played our hardest, whether we won or lost, we could leave the field with our heads high.” Coach Spoerl was proud of all of his players who he inspired to become MEN of Faith. Coach Spoerl was the head football coach at Carroll High school until 1989. He continued to teach until he retired in 2003. After retirement, he continued to coach with Jim Place at Middletown HS and Mike Kelly at University of Dayton. After JoAnn’s retirement, they stayed active by playing squash and swimming at the UD Recreation Complex, visiting with and keeping up with children and grandchildren activities, gardening, riding bikes and hosting family gatherings for the growing Spoerl clan. Coach Spoerl was inducted into the Hamilton Badin Hall of Fame in 2000 and the FIRST Carroll HS Hall of Fame in 2003. In 2002, he was also honored for 40 years of educational service by the Archdiocese of Catholic Schools. In 2016, he was recognized by the Miami Valley Coaches Association. Their focus is to honor football coaches that have achieved many milestones throughout their careers and have served as mentors and leaders in the Miami Valley area. Jim’s life-long partner, JoAnn, died in 2006. He moved to the St. Leonard Retirement community in 2009. He enjoyed the Catholic community and the volunteer opportunities. Over time, Parkinson’s disease was the battle he continually fought. He endured through his Faith and the support of his family. Jim thoroughly enjoyed visits from his former players, students and colleagues who shared past stories and recreated many happy memories of past experiences. His family is forever grateful for those who took the time to visit, write a letter, or send gifts. Jim often wondered why God blessed him with 7 girls but only 2 boys. When he retired, it was his daughters who visited often and tended to his needs. It reminded him that God had planned ahead for his care in later life. Jim was a member of St. Albert the Great Parish. He lived a life of deep faith and integrity. He felt so blessed that he had many opportunities to positively impact the lives of many young people. While in school, Jim struggled in his academic life. He felt extra compassion for those whom experienced hardships in and out of the classroom. Although his teaching techniques and social handling of situations could come across as harsh or unconventional, he had a sense of deep purpose for the common good. Memories of going out of his way to help students, neighbors, and his fellowmen were daily. He was a great example of living by “paying it forward.” A Mass of Christian Burial is scheduled at Noon on May 3rd, 2019 at St. Albert the Great Church. Family will receive visitors from 5-8 pm on Thursday, May 2nd, 2019 at Tobias Funeral Home, 5471 Far Hills Ave at the corner of Far Hills and Rahn Road. In lieu of flowers, contributions will be gratefully accepted for the Spoerl/Barlett Field Campaign at www.carrollathleticclub .org or to the charity of your choice. Coach Spoerl, Dad, Brother, Grandpa, Teacher: “Well done, thou good and faithful servant. Enter thou into the joy of thy Lord” (Matthew 25:21). You will be missed. Your legacy will live on.


  • Gathering of Family and Friends Thursday, 2 May , 2019
  • Mass of Christian Burial Friday, 3 May , 2019


James A Spoerl

have a memory or condolence to add?

Ron Van Leeuwen

11 May 2019

"vigorous activity"

Gary Van Leeuwen

10 May 2019

12 veer quarterback option on two. Down! Go! Go!
He gave me an A in gym which was rare, but if you earned it you got it.
Many students mocked him, but, great minds always got mocked.

Nick De Monico

1 May 2019

Coach Spoerl

I wish I had thanked you when I had the chance. You were a great coach.
Thanks for giving us the seasons of 1969 , 1970 and 1971 . I know when I look back on the times that really mattered in my life, those days are always at the top of that list.
We were not a big team . Some of the teams we played ( Ravenna) actually laughed at us during warm ups .
But we had a great coach.
You took an extremely complex offense and made it simple.
You made an undersized defense dominant
You taught us that speed and conditioning could defeat size and reputation.
And above all else , you taught us to get back up , put our mouthpieces back in and fight like hell.
You demanded everything we had while we were on that field.” One hundred and ten percent” , or as you used to say “ Lotta Yamo!”
Ok, None of us actually knew what that meant . But we always picked up the pace when you said it.
You were strict. You believed in discipline. That may be an understatement .
But you taught us a self discipline that I have carried with me every day since.
You gave us a great legacy to pass on . A legacy of winning. We would never have had that without you .
I am glad that I knew you , and proud to have played for you.
And once again, thanks for giving us the those seasons in the early ‘70s.
I don’t know if any of us have ever been prouder in our lives.

You were a good man , Coach .
Sleep with the Angels.

Nick De Monico ‘72

Carol Finke

28 April 2019

My paternal grandmother was Anna (Kreke) Bornhorn who lived in Covington, Kentucky. Jim's mother was Helen Kreke. Anna Kreke was a sister to Brother John Kreke, who was a Marianist Brother. Our family visited the Kreke relatives in Hamiton often.

May many happy memories remain with the family. I do know Jim's daughter Sue(Rob) Smith.

Carol (Bornhorn) (Schneider) Finke

Keith Singleton

26 April 2019

Family and Friends of James Spoerl,
Mr. Spoerl was my first "real" coach during my 7th and 8th grade years at Hanover Township School near Hamilton, Ohio. We only had basketball teams and Coach Spoerl handled both grades, plus taught Phys-Ed. We 13-14 year-old boys really looked up to him, both literally and figuratively, and marveled at how far (and hard) he could throw a football out on the playground. We knew he was a college QB and were thrilled to have him as our coach.
Mr. Spoerl was firm, but fair, and did not tolerate foolishness. When he spoke, he expected you to listen and concentrate on what was being said. That being said, I was always comfortable around him, as he reminded me of my dad. I received two paddlings during my school years. The last one was from Mr. Spoerl for "horsing around" in line during a fire drill. I still recall those 3 stinging whacks, as well as my silent resolve to never repeat that scenario. It has never been mentioned again.
I shall always recall those days at Hanover with much fondness and gratitude. I am now 72 years of age and through the years have come to appreciate more and more how much I learned and developed at Hanover. I had wonderful and dedicated teachers and instructors who were truly called to their profession. Mr. Spoerl was certainly prominent in that regard and in my memory to this day. May he and his loved ones be at peace...

Steven McCray

25 April 2019

Coach Spoerl is one of the great legends of my youth. His PE class - “fall into your squadrons” and Health class (x-rays of his hip replacement on an overhead projector) were high school highlights.

Can anyone post here his Seven Thieves of Time? I recall Fear of Failure, Procrastination, Getting Started...

There was another list of Coach Spoerl Life Hacks that I seem to recall.

Steven McCray

Chris Spoerl

23 April 2019

Uncle Jimmy,

Thank you for being such a confident influence in my life. I have so many great memories of you and your family. Your positive outlook and drive to be the best that you can be was always there. What I remember most was how you always spoke to me and reasoned with me like a man, no matter how young I was at the time. Thank you, Uncle Jimmy.

Nathan Davis

23 April 2019

I didn’t understand how lucky I was to have a teacher like Coach Spoerl until I became a teacher myself. I can still remember study hall with him of all things. “Why are you here?” We are here to know, love, and serve God through our fellow man. Thank you for the inspiration, Coach!

Dan Keefe

21 April 2019

I was coached by Jim during the beginning days of Carroll from 1961-1965 then became an assistant football coach from 1966-1978. I had many different perspectives as one being coached and taught, working for and with him and finally being athletic director and supervising all the athletic programs at Carroll. Jim was a truly honest, compassionate and religious man. I learned many different things from Jim during my years at Carroll but the one lesson I believe to be the greatest was that every person has value and should be treated with dignity and respect, That is a core value that has guided me throughout my lifetime. May you Rest In Peace.

James Stewart

21 April 2019

“The definition of a good man is a man who does everyday tasks well.” I remember learning that my freshmen year in gym class. It was a statement that at the time really didn’t mean much to me. It is a statement that a few years later became the backbone of my life and the lessons I teach my children. I learned a lot in that gymnasium that didn’t make much sense at the time. Now it’s all crystal clear. I didn’t realize then that the man teaching it is someone I would later not only respect, but admire and quote to some of the student athletes that I coach. I never got the opportunity to thank Coach for the lessons. So.... I’ll at least say it now. Thanks Coach.