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NEWS-SENTINEL EDITORIAL: By Hey was a Hall of Fame coach and a man of integrity

Friday’s funeral service for By Hey at 11 a.m. at Holy Cross Lutheran Church on Crescent Avenue will be a tribute to a Fort Wayne icon.

Byard (By) Dwight Hey, born in 1928, who died Friday at age 91, is most widely known as the former North Side High School basketball coach, who led the Redskins for 31 seasons, from 1957 to 1988, including a trip to the state finals in 1965 where the team lost in the championship game to Indianapolis Washington, 64-57.

Hey’s name graced the sports pages in The News-Sentinel for decades. He played three sports as a student at Concordia High School, including on the 1946 basketball team that won 14 straight games. He went on to play basketball at Indiana University for 2 1/2 seasons under Coach Branch McCracken, graduating in 1950.

His foray into coaching began during the summers between his college years when he worked for the Fort Wayne Park Board coaching baseball. After graduating from IU he taught and coached at Concordia College in Oakland, Calif., until he was drafted and served in the Army Signal Corps during the Korean War as a cryptographer and code instructor.

Following his Army service, Hey returned to Fort Wayne to replace his former high school basketball coach at Concordia for one year, also teaching math, physical education and serving as assistant football coach. He then taught and coached basketball at Central High School for three years before moving on to North Side where he compiled a 457-280 record.

His overall high school coaching record of 550-325 through the years put Hey among the winningest coaches in Indiana high school basketball history, including 10 sectional, seven regional and one semi-state tournament championships.

He was named Indiana’s coach of the year in 1965. In 1978, North Side was ranked first heading into the postseason, with a 25-game winning streak before losing in the semistate.

Concordia High School selected Hey as an Outstanding Alumnus, and he was inducted into both the Concordia and North Side athletic halls of fame.

Hey was inducted into the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame in 1997, and his name was immortalized in 2004 when as part of North Side’s renovations, the school named its new gymnasium By Hey Arena.

“This is an added honor,” Hey said at the time. “You just try to do God’s will and help people. I was blessed with great athletes at North Side who made great North Side teams. That’s where success comes from.”

Hey’s tireless dedication to local youth carried beyond Redskins basketball. For many years he worked with youth in Wildcat Baseball, and for 25 summers he managed the Glenaqua Swim Club. After retirement from the community school system, Hey taught at IPFW and Brown Mackie College and coached basketball at Holy Cross elementary school.

News-Sentinel sportswriters through the years remember Hey as a gravelly-voiced coach who loved the game, loved his athletes and loved North Side.

But he was also a dedicated Christian, a member of Holy Cross Lutheran Church. His obituary says he “spent many solitary hours studying the Bible,” was a longtime leader of Men’s Bible Breakfast, Bible study classes and Men in Integrity.

And for those who knew him, By Hey was an example of what a man of integrity was all about.