CHEVIOT, Ohio — Chuck Ausman seemed to always have a good-natured phrase or joke with his dry sense of humor.
The late longtime Cincinnati-area high school boys soccer coach never had a bad word to say about anyone.
"You look at 'friend' in the dictionary, and it would be him," Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy coach Paul Rockwood said.
Ausman loved eating Skyline Chili and enjoyed following FC Cincinnati. He was also very active in his church.
He was known around Greater Cincinnati for his tireless energy for helping coaches and student-athletes in 40-plus years of being around soccer, most notably at Oak Hills High School.
"He was always caring about other people first," said Rockwood, who introduced Ausman to coaching soccer in the school district in the 1970s. "That's the way he coached and lived his life."
Ausman, 68, died at his Cheviot home on Tuesday.
He was recently hospitalized after being diagnosed with COVID-19, according to his widow, Linda Ausman. He returned home over the weekend.
Chuck and Linda were married for 40 years.
"He was just an all-around great person," Linda said.
Funeral arrangements are pending and it will likely be a small, private ceremony, Linda said. The family hopes to have a celebration of life ceremony next summer.
"He's just an individual that I wish everybody could've gotten to know," said former Oak Hills girls soccer coach Chuck Laumann. "His character was second to none. I can't say enough good things about him."
Chuck Ausman never played soccer but taught himself the ins and outs of the game through the decades.
His teams appreciated his passion for the game. He also had fun while coaching.
In the 1980s and 1990s, he made good on a promise to shine his players' cleats after a victory.
At one point, he challenged a player to make a goal in practice from a certain distance for cheese coneys. He got up to 36 cheese coneys on a friendly wager at one point.
"I know he wanted to win, but if the team didn't win, as long as they played a great game, he was happy with that," Linda Ausman said.
Chuck Ausman became the Oak Hills varsity coach in 1980 - taking the team all the way to a state runner-up finish in his first season.
Ausman coached the Oak Hills boys soccer program from 1980 to 2008. He also taught physics and chemistry at the high school. He taught in the school district from 1975 to 2008.
"'Oz' was just an overall great guy," said Laumann, who was a senior on the 1980 team.
"He cared for the people who played for him. He cared for his students. You knew where you stood with 'Oz' and 'Oz' truly cared about you."
Ausman was inducted into the Oak Hills High School Athletics Hall of Fame in 2010. He had a 237-195-70 record as a head coach at the school and earned many state and local coaching honors.
The past two seasons, he coached with his longtime friend Rockwood at CHCA.
The two had known each other back to their Oak Hills district days in the 1970s and were glad to re-connect.
Ausman always had an iced tea ready for his friend on the bench. He did anything to help the program.
"He was such a good person," Rockwood said. "Just selfless."
Ausman helped with statistics at Indian Hill and Walnut Hills prior to CHCA. Anywhere he went, he shared his soccer knowledge.
"Today is a very sad day for Oak Hills," Oak Hills athletic director Ben Hageman said. "Our hearts ache for the Ausman family. Chuck is the model for what we want our coaches to be. While extremely successful as a high school soccer coach, he was about so much more. He was a passionate teacher who greatly cared about the kids in all aspects of their lives."
Wyoming athletic director Jan Wilking, an Oak Hills graduate and former athletic director at the school, said Ausman always wanted to learn more about the game.
"Soccer drove him," Wilking said. "You meet coaches in your life and you just think, 'Wow, they are so good for the high school sport.' And he is one of those."