by Mark Watson
The Tooele High athletics department will add two more names to its growing Wall of Fame this week as part of homecoming festivities.
Joseph Glen Rupp, who graduated in 1949 and starred in basketball, football and tennis will be honored as a new Wall of Famer. Also added to the wall will be the name of William (Bill) T. Gochis who graduated in 1936 and played football. Gochis was instrumental in raising money to build a press box and scoreboard for the school. He also broadcast and announced baseball, basketball and football for Tooele High for 28 years.
Rupp, age 76, resides in Magna and will be awarded a plaque prior to kickoff at the homecoming game against Provo Friday at about 6:40 p.m. Gochis' family members will also receive a plaque honoring Bill Gochis who passed away on May 13, 1992.
"I'm quite excited about being honored. I'm proud to be from Tooele. About 25 to 30 of our classmates still meet once a month," Rupp said.
The 6-foot-5-inch Rupp excelled in football and basketball at Tooele and went on to play those two sports at Brigham Young University.
In high school basketball Rupp was coached by Clarke N. Johnsen, father of current Tooele County School District Superintendent Michael Johnsen.
Rupp's teams were always at the top of the standings featuring another tall player in Loren C. Dunn. "Loren and I were real good friends and roomed together at BYU one year before I got married," Rupp said.
After graduating from college Rupp coached one year at San Juan High School, one year at Kanab High School and two years at Dugway.
From 1957 to 1963 he tutored several winning football, basketball and tennis teams at Grantsville High School. He coached the first team to win a region championship in football at Grantsville.
"Some of the top players I remember at Grantsville were Bill Castagno who was an all-state quarterback and Dennis Palmer who went on to play football at BYU. John Millward was also an all-state center in football," Rupp said.
"Don Wayne Nelson was a good athlete and top tennis player at Grantsville," he said. One of Rupp's top athletes was current Grantsville Mayor Byron Anderson.
Rupp said he always wanted to coach and jumped over to Cyprus High because he saw the opportunity to coach at a bigger high school. His winning ways continued with the Pirates. He was the head football coach at Cyprus for seven years and led his teams to region titles. He also led Cyprus to nine region titles in tennis.
After the lengthy stint at Cyprus, Rupp went on to teach at Kearns Junior High School and Kennedy Junior High School. He is still a big sports fan and each Friday night will find a nearby football game to attend at Cyprus, Hunter or Granger.
Rupp has been married to Leonora Howard for 57 years and their children have also been involved in athletics.
Son Kerry Rupp coached as an assistant at the University of Utah and is now the head basketball coach at Louisiana Tech. One of Kerry's assistants this year is former Tech and Utah Jazz great Karl Malone. Rupp's oldest son Laurie played football at Mesa College in Grand Junction, Colo. Son Jeff was a top pro tennis player in Utah who now lives in California. Son Dennis played sports at College of Eastern Utah and Southern Utah University.
Despite all the high school and college accolades, Rupp said he is especially proud of winning the LDS All Church Basketball Championship back in 1954 while playing for Grayson Ward from Blanding. "I made the All-Church team in 1953 and 1954. It was a worldwide competition and we went undefeated in 38 games which included games against colleges," Rupp said.
Rupp taught school for 34 years and also sold real estate for 36 years. He is still active often going to the spa to keep fit. His skills and love of the games have lasted a lifetime. In 1988 his senior team won the gold medal at the World Senior Games in St. George. The following year they won the silver.