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Andy Vascassenno: A constant in Oxford sports since 1966

Vascassenno (click for larger version)
September 22, 2010 - Over the course of the past four decades, one thing has remained constant at nearly every single Oxford High School home athletic event.

Ticket seller Andrew "Andy" Vascassenno and his trademark smile.

His volunteer service for the athletic department, which dates back to the 1960's, has earned him a spot as one of the charter members of the OHS Athletic Hall of Fame.

"I think that it is wonderful and is the best thing that has happened to me besides my family," Vascassenno said. "I am sure grateful to the committee for picking me."

In the fall of 1966, he was approached by the Oxford Dad's Club because they needed volunteers to help work on the line-to-gain crew at the home football games.

He became a regular after one parent was removed from the game after arguing with officials.

Then, the rest is history.

Over the next four decades, he served under three directors of the athletic department. During the fall sports season, he was the equipment manager, responsible for repairs and transports of equipment to and from games. He also worked behind the scenes selling tickets, setting up and breaking down equipment for volleyball matches, basketball games, wrestling meets and nearly every other athletic event.

He also served as the official judge for the pole vault at the track meets.

He said that he did it because he loved being around the students and the adults that were associated with each sport. "It kept me going for a long time," he said. "I love them all. They treat me great and that is what makes me feel good...they come up to you and put their arm around you and say hi Andy, how are you."

"They are loving kids and people should realize that," he added.

Before coming to Oxford, Vascassenno, a native of Detroit, graduated from Denby High School in 1938 and served in the United States Army Signal Corps during World War II.

Stationed in Louisiana, he stormed the beach at Normandy on D-Day and served his country until the war's end in 1945.

Returning from the war, Vascassenno worked as Fisher Body in Pontiac, where he manufactured springs for automobiles and other vehicles.

He came to Oxford in 1964 after he was set up on a blind date with his wife, Judy Valentine.

After their marriage, he began working as a custodian at Oxford Junior High. A short time later, he became the head custodian at the school where he was employed for over 21 years before retiring in 1986.

Vascassenno made such a significant impact on the community of Oxford through his hard work and selfless attitude that he was honored by the Oxford-Orion Community Coalition with an "Unsung Hero" Award in 2003.

Later that year, on his 82nd birthday, he was selected as the Grand Marshall of the 2003 Oxford Christmas parade.

In 2008, the Wildcat Athletic Booster Club awarded Vascassenno with an honorary varsity letter and jacket. In 2009, he retired from his avocation with the athletic department after 43 years of service.

He added that his favorite part about serving with the department was working alongside Varsity Football Head Coach Bud Rowley.

"He is a gem," Vascassenno said. "People don't realize it, but he is a gem and that is what kept me motivated...and I got along great with the rest of the coaches."

A former 32-year resident of Lakeville, Vascassenno currently resides in Lake Orion with his wife of 45 years, Judy. His children Christine, Sandy, Kathy, Amy and Scott were all graduates of Oxford.

Andrew Moser is a staff writer for the Oxford Leader.
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