Here is a great story that Red relates from days as a high school coach and PE teacher.
Zang enrolled at Roosevelt High School, which was where Red was teaching and coaching at the time. Since Zang was living with Red, the big brother made sure the little brother made it to school - on time- every day. Red quickly made an impression at Roosevelt. Gym class was generally looked upon with disdain by most students at the high school. They didn't like getting out of their clothes, getting sweaty, taking a shower, and then putting their clothes back on to go to class, all in less than an hour. So many of them - most - would show up with notes from home saying they had a sore throat, a cold, a back problem - anything to be excused from gym class. "I had one class with fifty kids in it and forty of them had notes excusing them," Red said. "There was nothing I could do. If they had a note, they had a note. "One day, though, before class started, I sat all the sick kids on a bleacher and I said, "Hey, when you guys are at home, which do you take, a bath or a shower?" Just about all of them put they hands up and said they took a shower. I said, "Good, fine. So if you aren't too sick to take a shower at home, you aren't too sick to take a shower here. With ten minutes left in class, I want you all to take your clothes off and take a shower." "Within a week, I had exactly one kid still sitting out. [Apparently he was sick.] They all figured if they had to shower anyway, they might as well get dressed for class."
This second story is from Red's Navy days. He tells about the first adult team that he coached.
After basic training, Red was sent to the navy base in Norfolk, Virginia. He had been promoted to chief petty officer by then - promotions come quickly during wartime - and, thanks to his coaching background, he was put in charge of all recreational activities on the base. There were a lot of professional athletes in the service during the war, and Red became friends with a number of them, including Phil Rizzuto, the New York Yankees star shortstop. Rizzuto was at Norfolk only because the base commander had refused to allow him to go to physical training school. Red had been stationed at Great Lakes Naval Base initially, had gone to physical training school, and had been sent to Norfolk. "What happened was, once you went to training school, you got promoted to chief," he said. "And you were always sent someplace else. The base commander wanted Rizzuto for the baseball team there, so he didn't let him go to training school. So he got stuck staying there and never got promoted from being a seaman. It really wasn't fair." Fair or not, Red and Rizzuto struck up a friendship. They played ball together- basketball - and Red enjoyed his sense of humor and competitiveness on the basketball court even though he was barely five foot seven. Later, Rizzuto introduced him to another young sailor, a kid from St. Louis named Lawrence Peter Berra, Yogi to his friends. At the time Berra was a minor leager in the Yankee system. "Rizzuto tried to look out for him because they were both Italian," Red said. Norfolk was filled with professional athletes and former college athletes. Bob Feerick and John Norlander, both college basketball stars were there. So were baseball players Charlie Wagner and Jack White. Clyde McCullough, the Chicago Cubs catcher, was there too. The basketball games played on the base were fierce, of a high quality and competitive. Because he had been living in Washington, Red was familiar with the black barnstorming teams that had sprung up during the 1930's. Many of them came to Washington to play the DC based Lichtman Bears (the owner's name was Lichtman). The Bears were a force in basketball, a team that almost never lost. They played most of their home games on Sunday afternoons in a place called Turners Arena, which was in Northwest Washington, at 14th and W Streets. Sunday was usually an off day around the base. Red came up with the idea of putting together a group of athletes and making the three hour drive to Washington to challenge the Bears. He made a call to Mr Lichtman, explained who he was and what kind of team he could bring, and was offered $300 to bring his group to Washington. "I got five guys and me," he said, "Clyde McCullough was my chauffeur. I told the guys I was taking two shares of the three hundred bucks because I had set up the game and I was coaching the team in addition to playing. They said fine. We get up there and the place was packed. They were a phenomenon. They'd won like one hundred games in a row. "This was back when a lot of games were played in three periods, fifteen minutes each. First thing I did was I went out and checked the baskets. One had a slightly looser rim, so I said we would shoot on it in the first and third periods. There were exactly six white faces in the building - us. As the game went on and it was close, you could feel the crowd pulling for us. We were the underdogs. No one expected us to beat them. But we won. They hadn't seen guys as good as Feerick and Norlander in a long time. "Immediately they challenged us to a return game. I told them I couldn't guarantee when we could come back, but we would. We ended up going back there twice more - beat em once, then they beat us. It was good basketball, a lot of fun. And it was the first time I'd actually coached adults. that was a good experience for me."