Jim Dailer (Class of 1944)
One of Wheeling Central Catholic’s most honored athletes during the decade of the 1940’s. Dailer was both a standout football and basketball player who twice earned five-team All-City laurels in football and in basketball as a senior. Although standouts from Catholic high schools weren’t eligible for WV Sports Writers Association all-state recognition at the time, Dailer was honored with a first-team berth on an all-state squad selected by the Charleston Daily Mail.
The two-way football standout helped the Maroon Knights win the 1943 City Championship in football. Coach of that 9-1 record powerhouse was Jim Foti, a member of the inaugural Central Hall of Fame Class last year. Central concluded that season with a 20-19 loss to Rochester, PA in the Steel Bowl.
Dailer also was a regular on Central’s 22-3 record basketball team that won a fourth straight WV Catholic state championship in 1944 and went on to win two of three games in the Eastern States Catholic Tournament.
He then enrolled at the University of Notre Dame and lettered three seasons on Fighting Irish teams that posted an overall record of 26-2-1. After lettering his freshman year at guard at Notre Dame, Dailer served the next two years in the armed services. He returned to the South Bend campus in 1947 and was a reserve lineman on a 9-0 team that was selected as the No. 1 squad in the nation by the Associated Press. His teammate on that squad was another Wheeling Central graduate by the name of Bill Gompers, also a 2016 Central Hall of Fame honoree. The 9-0-1 team of 1948 ended up ranked No. 2 behind Michigan in the AP poll. Besides Gompers, some of Dailer’s Notre Dame teammates included All-Americans Jim Martin, George Connor, Leon Hart, Johnny Lujack and Emil Sitko. Hart also became the first lineman to win the Heisman Trophy.
From 1950-54 Dailer was football coach at Shrine of the Little Flower High School Royal Oak, MI and then coached three years at St. Mary’s High School in Mount Clemens, MI. Jim then returned home and spent the next 15 years, 1956-70 as a teacher and assistant coach at his high school alma mater. From 1976 until his passing at the age of 67, Dailer served as a magistrate in Ohio County. He was elected to that post on five different occasions.