By Karen Andrew
Enquirer Staff Writer
MONFORT HEIGHTS - James N. Massa, a longtime teacher and coach at Elder High School, died of heart failure Thursday at Good Samaritan Hospital. The Monfort Heights resident was 72.
"He was an inspirational role model for his family, the athletes and students he had dealings with," said a daughter, Pam Forte of Cheviot. "He was very devoted to and loved to be involved with the Cincinnati high school sports scene. Even in retirement, he would look at he sports statistics in the newspaper every day."
He was born in 1932 to Arthur and Marie Nieporte Massa and grew up in Westwood.
While attending Elder High School 1946 to 1950, he played football, basketball, and baseball. He went on to play football for Xavier University, where he got a bachelor's degree in business in 1954.
In the mid-1950s, he served with the Army. When he returned, , he went back to Xavier where he earned a master's degree in education. From 1963 to 1976, Mr. Massa taught and coached at Elder. He coached the baseball team to the 1973 state championship. That year, he was named the Greater Cincinnati League and Cincinnati Enquirer Coach of the Year.
In 1976, he went to Cincinnati Country Day School, where he was head varsity baseball coach from 1977 to 1986 and the head varsity football coach from 1979 to 1987. Under his leadership, the CCDS baseball team won the 1986 Miami Valley Conference championship. He led the CCDS football team to undefeated seasons in 1986 and 1987.
In 1986, he was named League, Cincinnati Enquirer, Cincinnati Post, and Southwest District Football Coach of the Year as well as the 1986 Miami Valley Conference Baseball Coach of the Year.
He stopped coaching in 1987 after heart surgery, but continued at CCDS as a physical education teacher. In 2003, he was one of five inaugural inductees in the Cincinnati Country Day Sports Hall of Fame.
He retired in 1997.
In addition to his daughter, survivors include his wife of 49 years, Eileen T. (Holzer); two other daughters, Teri Moratschek of Bridgetown and Monica Wells of Fairfield; two sons, Tony of Springboro and Keith of Orlando, Fla; two sisters, Rita Neville of Price Hill and Patti Reeves of Georgia; six brothers, Don, Art, and Jerry of Western Hills, Bob of Finneytown, Roger of Tampa, Fla., and Gordy of Anderson Township; and five grandchildren.
Visitation is 4-8 p.m. today at the Neidhard-Minges Funeral Home, 3155 Harrison Ave., Westwood. A Mass of Christian burial will take place 2:30 p.m. Monday at St. Ignatius of Loyola Church, 5222 North Bend Road, Monfort Heights.
Memorials: Panther Athletic Complex, c/o Elder High School, 3900 Vincent Ave., Cincinnati, 45205 or the Cincinnati Country Day School Athletic Department, 6905 Given Road, Cincinnati, 45203.
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