BETHANY - The initials RM and OVAC go together like, well, Martins Ferry and Bellaire, West Virginia and Marshall, and Pittsburgh and Cleveland.
For a large part of the bi-state conference's existence, which stretches 70 years, Rudy Mumley was the man who guided the league through its various stages of growth.
One of Mumley's biggest loves was the OVAC All-Star Football Charity Classic, which now bears his name.
PHOTO BY RICK THORP
Former OVAC football game director Ron Mauck, right, talks with Ohio assistant coach Matt Rees. Despite being retired, Mauck still makes his resence felt at the annual summer classic.
These days, it's another RM - Ron Mauck - that stands as a beacon for the conference.
Even though his days of serving as director for the annual summer gleam game are over, Mauck still serves as a presence throughout the week.
''Everyone has a role to play (in the conference),'' Game Director Bob Koch said. ''But I'll tell you what, you talk about foundation blocks upon which everything is built, I'd put Ron in the same league with Rudy Mumley and Sam Mumley.''
Mauck could be considered the OVAC's ''director emeritus.'' Not only is he Koch's predecessor in leading the football all-star game, but Mauck is also Dan Doyle's predecessor in heading the conference's wrestling tournament.
And, at one point, Mauck held both positions.
''I've enjoyed it all,'' Mauck said. ''I used to do both at the same time. On the day of the finals for wrestling I used to be sitting up there getting ready for the meeting with the coaches for the football game out at Ernie's (Esquire).''
Mauck's dedication to the youngsters of the Ohio Valley is unmatched. He feels blessed to be a part of their lives and each year when the all-star football players report to camp he shows his appreciation in a speech to the teams.
''The importance of them being selected makes them a unique individual,'' Mauck said. ''They may not understand they have a responsibility. These kids need to understand they're role models. They are representing their schools and community.
''And the most important thing is they are representing their family.''
Mauck enjoys stressing that everyone involved in a particular project or endeavor is a spoke in a wheel and that wheel needs to be taut in order for it to turn correctly.
''I try to instill in them that while they are here they are guests of Bethany College,'' Mauck said. ''There's nothing here that belongs to us.
''This gives them an opportunity to generate memories. The memories they generate need to be positive ones so they can use those has building blocks and continue to grow.''
Mauck was unable to be a part of all-star week in 2011 because of heath issues. His absence wasn't lost on Koch and his staff.
''We're fortunate to have him around,'' Koch said. ''He's a warehouse of information. If you have a problem he can point you in the right direction.
''He's also one of those guys who can say a lot in a few words.''
Mauck has spent most of his life in education and coaching, both at Follansbee High School and later at Brooke High School. And, in addition to his game and tournament director titles, he's served on various OVAC committees.
''It's a part of your life,'' Mauck said. ''It's like in wrestling, that's reunion week for me, we've been together for so long. And it's the same way with football.
''You get to meet some nice young people and be a little part of their lives.
''It's nice to have a little part of that.''