John "Cy" Szakacsi was a three-sport athlete at Fairport Harding High School from 1938-1942. As a ninth grader, he was a regular on both the football and basketball teams, and in addition ran track. As a senior he was all-conference in football and basketball, distinguishing himself against competition from much larger programs in northeast Ohio. Upon graduation, he won a pre-war football scholarship to Ohio University, earning a letter as a freshman. After the war he went to the University of South Carolina, earning seven letters in two sports, and graduating in 1950. After college, he gained distinction as a high school coach and teacher, with his career spanning 45 years and 605 basketball victories. Among his honors and awards are: the Fairport Harding Hall of Fame, the South Carolina Athletic Hall of Fame; the South Carolina Coaches Hall of Fame; and National High School Coach of the Year in 1985.