Toledo High head football coach Ted Hippi is preparing his team for the 1961 season. Toledo has "13 lettermen returning to the fold, including an all-senior backfield of good speed. Big question mark in the ... backfield is at quarterback. Gene Forman, 204-pound senior, was figured to run in the quarterback slot this season. But, the big ex-lineman injured his ankle during the summer and has been unable to turn out so far this season. Hippi said the ankle was not responding satisfactorily to treatment. Tentatively set to fill in at the quarterback slot is Jim Tharp, 130-pound senior letterman."
=Sept. 12, 1963, Daily Chronicle of Centralia, Wash.:
Two Toledo athletes at Linfield's football practices are letterman Gary Olson and Gene Forman.
=Nov. 2, 1966, photo by Jim Vincent, staff photographer, The Oregonian
1966 Press Photo Linfield Football Star Gene Forman in Hospital with Neck Brace
"GENE FORMAN ... ex-Linfield football star faces toughest challenge."
=Nov 4, 1966, Daily Chronicle from Centralia, Washington
Former Toledoen: Friends Rally To Provide Aid for Injured Athlete
By Ken Mark, sports editor, The Daily Chronicle
A childhood dream nearing reality for a Lewis County son was abruptly shattered last August in the pain and din of a crashing auto.
Gene Forman, who as a child carried a constant hope of some day performing in the professional football ranks, today lies in a Portland hospital bed facing the possibility of never walking again.
He is at Providence hospital. The former Toledo high school athlete, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Floyd Forman, now of Longview, went from a three-sport all-conference basketball career in high school in 1962 to Linfield College at McMinnville, Ore.
A 6-5 tackle weighing about 255 pounds he earned both all-star and Little All-American honors. Professional scouts made treks to the school, eager to speak with the young athlete. Then the dream was shattered. Driving his small foreign car near McMinnville, Gene fell asleep at the wheel. The car plunged from the road hurling him to the ground. He is now paralyzed from the waist down. But his spirit remains high.
In an effort to help with the growing medical expenses, a group of Forman's friends, headed by Hal Laycoe, coach of the Portland Hockey club, formed a committee to obtain financial help. "Gene is a wonderful young man, facing a frightful fate,' Laycoe was quoted. We want to help. Laycoe's son, Bob, Gene's college buddy and also a Linfield football teammate, quickly volunteered to head the drive. Also endorsing the effort is Paul Durham, the Linfield coach.
Quick to lend a hand have been Toledo residents who recalled Gene's high school career. A committee headed by Ted Hippi, Toledo High-School principal and Gene's former football coach, has been formed. Hippi has asked all those in Lewis County who would like to help Gene to forward donations to any of the following: George Murdock, Mrs. Beverly Holland, Keith Olson, Mrs. Wit ma Olson, Ruben Turner, Leroy Cox, Ray Winters, Bill Wight, Bill Jones and Hugh Kalich, all Toledo. He added that checks may be made payable the "Gene Forman Fund."
=Jan. 5, 1967 edition of the Daily Chronicle of Centralia, Wash., includes:
Review of 1966 sports year. In the month of August: Gene Forman, well-known to Lewis County as a Toledo high school and Linfield College athletic star, was seriously injured in an automobile accident. He was paralyzed in the crash.
=Oct. 1, 1974, edition of The Mexia Daily News of Mexia, Texas. Same Associated Press (AP) story also appeared in other newspapers.
Wheelchair Coach Believes He'll Walk
RIDDLE, Ore. (AP) — "There are some limitations to coaching from a wheelchair," admits Gene Forman, who might have been a professional football player if it hadn't been for an auto accident eight years ago. "When I started looking for a coaching job, a lot of people said there was no way I could coach because I was in a wheelchair," said Forman, 30, who broke his neck in the accident. "I don't blame people for it," he said, "but I feel I've proved them wrong." Forman was named head football coach at Riddle High School this year after being an assistant coach for six years at the small school in Riddle, a town of 1,000 located 20 miles south of Roseburg in southwest Oregon. A month after the accident in 1966, "the doctors told me I would never walk again and that I had one chance in 10 million of recovering movement below my chest." Forman, who was an offensive tackle at Linfield College in McMinnville, Ore., wouldn't buy that. "I've been slowly progressing to where I am now," he said. "I have the use of my arms and can walk by using a walker. Late at night I go out and walk around my house. "I still strive to walk," says Forman, who was a Northwest Conference all-star selection in his junior year.
"I've learned to live with myself, but I know I'll never completely accept it. I believe someday I'll be able to walk again." The 6-foot-4, 212-pound Forman, who weighed 240 pounds while at Linfield, says 1974 "has been a great year. My legs have been getting stronger and I've improved 80 per cent since the start of the year. Getting the head football job has helped," he said. "Maybe 1975 will be the year I do it."
=2008, Oregon Douglas County Greats: Gene Forman
This Douglas County Great has coached locally for more than 30 years, but most of it has been out of the public spotlight.
His teams never played in front of thousands of screaming fans and rarely got the publicity they deserved.
Days Creek head football coach Gene Forman has put together an impressive resume which includes a 97-82 record during his 19 seasons at Riddle High School and a mark of 77-56 in 14 years at Days Creek.
"I just love coaching whether its eight or 11-man football and a lot depends on the guys you coach with and of course, the kids," Forman said. "I had chances to move on to bigger schools, but I was happy with my friends and my lifestyle here in Douglas County."
Forman graduated from high school in Toledo, Washington where he played basketball, baseball and track. He also played football for legendary high school coach Ted Hippi.
After graduation, Forman headed to Linfield College in McMinnville where he was a starting offensive tackle during the 1964-65 seasons. Dreams of a professional football career came to an end shortly after graduating from Linfield when a car accident left Forman paralyzed.
"I was coming home after pitching in a semi-pro baseball game, when I fell asleep at the wheel." Forman said. "That was the beginning of a new chapter in my life and it's also when I discovered a passion for coaching."
During his successful career, Forman has twice led his teams to the State Championship game. In the early 1980's, Forman's Irish lost the title game to St. Mary's of Medford.
His second trip to the finals took place in the late 90's with Days Creek losing to league rival Powers. Of his nearly 180 victories, the head coach says there are a couple of games that stand out.
"During our run to the title game at Days Creek, Cove came to our place and we were supposed to get 45-pointed," Forman said. "The fans were all around the field and we beat them in the mud, it was exciting."
Forman resigned from coaching after the 2006 season, but was asked to come back and coach at Days Creek for one more year. So far, this year's team has struggled to a 2-4 record and will probably miss the state playoffs. But win or lose, Forman has enjoyed his years on the sidelines and don't expect him to slow down any time soon.
"I have stayed close with a lot of my ex-players and I still see many of them," Forman said. "I also plan on spending more time with my four grandchildren."
=Winter 2016 edition of WILDCAT: The Magazine of Linfield College Athletics
With his best attempt to paint a picture of the winning attitude that permeates Linfield’s athletics program, Gene Forman said succinctly: “You cannot describe it. But you know it when you see it.”
Receiving two standing ovations, Forman accepted the inaugural Linfield Inspirational Award at the Hall of Fame Banquet on Nov. 7.
Going forward, the award will be known as the Gene Forman Inspirational Award.
Suffering a crippling spinal injury just months before his senior year at Linfield was to begin, Forman nonetheless went on to a distinguished teaching and coaching career at several small high schools in southern Oregon.
It did not seem to matter that Forman was bound to a wheelchair for nearly all of his adult life.
Forman praised Linfield for “having one of the most consistently successful programs in the nation.”
Of his time playing football for the Wildcats, Forman said, "“I was surrounded by good people,” he said.
“I’m proud I came to Linfield where anything less than winning was unacceptable.
After we tied a game 6-6 with Chico State in 1962, I can clearly remember just how brutal the following Monday’s practice was.” Forman drew chuckles from the audience when he quoted Yogi Berra’s famous one-liner: “The first thing I would like to do is thank all the people who made this day necessary.”
He credited his decision to attend Linfield to Ted Hippi ’40, his football coach at Toledo (Wash.) High School. Hippi went on to become one of that state’s best prep coaches, compiling an enivable 236-37-2 win-loss record.