‘Larger than life.’
That’s how Chuck Streetman’s successor as North Montgomery’s football coach described the man who landed in Crawfordsville as a biology teacher and coach after an all-conference playing career at Ball State and brief stint with the Detroit Lions in the NFL.
“Chuck was really interesting to coach with,” Charley German, who was an assistant under Streetman before taking over the Charger football program in 1983, said. “He was really kind of bigger than life. He was just a big big guy and had an awful lot of football knowledge from the days he played in high school, at Ball State and in the pros, and he really was a players’ coach. He really related well to getting down and dirty.”
Streetman shined on the gridiron for East Gary Edison High School in the early 1960s, before walking on at Ball State and earning three varsity letters as a defensive lineman. He helped the Cardinals to a 23-4-2 record in three years, to two Grantland Rice Bowl appearances and three-straight Indiana Collegiate Conference Championships. Streetman was named a three-time All-ICC selection and was later inducted into the Ball State Athletics Hall of Fame in 1993.
Before arriving at North Montgomery in the fall of 1972, Streetman was a football and wrestling coach at Delta High School, where he helped coach Tim Klingensmith to the first wrestling state title at 155 pounds in the school’s history in 1970.
He immediately jumped on Pat McDowell’s football staff at North Montgomery, arriving for the second year of the school following consolidation.
“He was a great teacher,” McDowell said. “He was a good football coach with the line and defense. The kids loved him. For me, it was a change because I never had really had an assistant who played much football and of course he was a high school player and at Ball State and tried at the professional level. So he came with really good technique. When the news came that he had tried out with the Lions, the kids really thought that was something.”
Streetman also coached the North Montgomery baseball team, helping the Chargers to their first sectional title in school history in 1975. He took the varsity football coaching job in 1978, and coached through the 1982 season.
“Chuck Streetman was a man of integrity,” Bob Cox, who played for the Chargers while Streetman was an assistant, said. “He treated his players fairly. He always had a smile on his face, and treated his players with a lot of respect.”
In the first decade of North Montgomery football, Streetman was a part of a well rounded football staff that through the years included McDowell, German, Gren Lefebvre, Jim Spencer, Dick VanArsdel, and Dick Walke.
“He just really enjoyed his teaching, and really enjoyed the comradery of coaching,” German said. “and it was just a family affair with coaching. It was just a good group of guys and we really enjoyed coaching football and being around the kids.”
J.D. Minch was another coach that came to North Montgomery in 1978 and coached freshmen football for Streetman, and eventually took over the Charger wrestling program in 1985 before retiring in 2010.
“He was very intense and a great leader with his assistants as well as with the kids,” Minch said. “I learned a lot from him as far as organization, how to motivate, how to ease up, how to be tough and those kinds of things.”
After Streetman exited coaching, he continued to dedicate his time as a wrestling official, which led to officiating a number of IHSAA state finals, and was inducted into the Indiana High School Wrestling Coaches Association Hall of Fame as a contributor in 1992.
Minch recalls Streetman playing a role in him getting his own officiating license back in 1978, something he has taken on as a prominent role since his retirement, including officiating his first state finals this winter.
“Chuck taught right across the hall from me, and he was the one who encouraged me to get my referees license my very first year at North,” Minch said. “I always told Chuck I’m getting reverse prejudice. I told him ‘you won’t do a North Montgomery match and you’re one of the best officials in the state.’ He would just laugh.”
Streetman continued teaching biology through the 1998-1999 school year, in which he was named North Montgomery teacher of the year that final year. He then moved on to become the athletic director at Southmont High School in the fall of 1999, the same year German took over AD duties at North Montgomery.
“He was big into fundraising and really started a lot of fundraising efforts down there,” German remembers about his efforts as Southmont athletic director.
While Streetman kept in touch with athletics and a number of different things throughout his life, he eventually became heavily involved as a member at First Baptist Church with his wife Susan and boys Robert, Jonathan, and Chase.
VanArsdel and Streetman taught together at North Montgomery throughout the week and served together on Sunday mornings at First Baptist.
“We served on the deacon board together and I loved him dearly,” VanArsdel, who was the best man in Chuck and Susan’s wedding, said. “He was an unbelievable friend. He was a strong leader and wasn’t afraid to take on challenges, yet on the other hand he was very sensitive and caring and loving in the process of doing that.”
Aside from teaching and coaching, Streetman was involved with the youth of the community and Fellowship of Christian Athletes for many years.
As a longtime educator, husband, father, friend, and mentor — Streetman will be missed by many — but his laugh, vibrant smile, and outpouring love and support for all the people’s lives he impacted will never be forgotten.