Boyne City High School (1955 – 1976)
The year was 1955, and Boyne City High School, which had a rich tradition of top ranked sports teams, was on the downside of their game over the past handful of years or so.
That’s one of the reasons every sandlot sports aspirant reached a little deeper on the playing field when the new coach in town happened to drive by.
Paul Pfahler and his wife Dorothy accepted teaching positions that year in the rural Northwest Michigan Class C school district that was to become their home until retirement.
Though not quite fresh college graduates, the Pfahlers were Ohio natives and graduates of that state’s Bowling Green State University, where Paul had been a punter on the school’s football team.
His first coaching/teaching post was in Elkton, in Michigan’s Thumb region. The Pfahlers spent three years there teaching. Paul coached all sports. But it was his football teams that really soared, compiling a 23-1 record.
Upon moving to Boyne, the fortunes of Rambler high school football also began to change.
His 1956, 1961 and 1968 teams were undefeated, leading the Northern Michigan Class C Conference all season long, and enjoying top ranking in all the state’s downstate daily newspapers and news wire services’ polls.
In 1960, the Ramblers went 7-1, beginning an unprecedented string of ten straight winning seasons.
The most distinguished player from those teams, Carl Charon, a hard running all-state back on the ’56 squad, attended Michigan State University on a full athletic scholarship, and starred for the Spartans. Drafted by the Washington Redskins and Buffalo Bulls, Charon wound up playing for the Bills until an injury cut short his professional career.
In 1961, Coach Pfahler was quoted in a pre-season article in the local newspaper, the Boyne Citizen, that “this is the finest bunch of players I have ever seen. They have great promise.”
The players and their young coach had grown up together—from sandlots to organized sports of all kinds. He knew what he was talking about. The ’61 team would compile a scoring record of 294-57, a mark that still stands today. At season’s end they were declared state Class C champions, leading every statewide high school grid poll, in an era before post season play offs.
During his 21 seasons at the helm of the Ramblers, Coach Pfahler compiled a record of 100 wins, 73 losses and 4 ties. (Over half those losses occurred in the 1971-1976 seasons.)
In 1985, he was inducted into the Michigan High School Football Coaches Hall of Fame.
Coach Pfahler and his wife, Dorothy, resided in Lakeland, Florida for many years.
Coach Pfahler passed away in 2013 and Dorothy in 2019.