At the age of 84, former Mesa Community College (MCC) Head Coach Paul F. Widmer, passed away. Widmer was born in Natrona Heights, Pennsylvania in 1937 but moved to Arizona after he received a scholarship to play football at Arizona State University (ASU). Widmer played for four years under Coaches Dan Devine and Frank Kush and was apart of the Sun Devil team when they were ranked nationally, after an undefeated season, in 1957.
For eight years afterward Widmer coached at Camelback and Tempe High schools before transferring to MCC as an assistant coach to Edgar “Mutt” Ford. In 1970, Widmer took over for Ford. In the 11 years that Widmer was head football coach at MCC, his teams won 86 of the 108 games and obtained two national championships. He also has three undefeated teams, five ACCAC titles, and was chosen as the NJCAA Coach of the Year on five different occasions.
Widmer was inducted into three Sports Hall of Fame: Allegheny-Kishy in western Pennsylvania in 1981, Mesa City Sports Hall of Fame in 1988 and MCC’s very own Sports Hall of Fame. Widmer also coached the MCC golf for 15 years and the Assistant Wrestling Coach for a brief moment. Joyce Miller Voyles, a former student of Widmer’s said, “I had Coach Widmer for Driver’s Ed at Tempe High in 1965 and then had one of his sons on a Tempe YMCA basketball team I coached in 1979 and of course many memories of him being a coach at Tempe High.
We didn’t have great teams, but they had a lot of heart thanks to Coach Widmer.” In his obituary, his family said that he was “extremely motivational, inspirational and an incredible role model for many youths. Education was where he belonged. He had a positive attitude and a fighting spirit, as well as being admired by all.” Services for Paul Widmer’s funeral will be held on October 27 and 10:00 AM at St. Timothy’s Catholic Church.