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Commentary: "If I would have started like that now – they wouldn’t have kept me..."
The ingredients seem simple. Some patience, a little luck and…
“Great kids and great parents,” Beavercreek (Ohio)
girls basketball coach Ed Zink said. “You can’t do it without that and the support of the schools. Beavercreek and the kids, parents and administrators have been fantastic. They support us. It’s been a great ride.”
With Tuesday’s 45-26 win over Troy (Ohio)
in an OHSAA Division I Southwest District quarterfinal at Butler (Vandalia, Ohio)
High School, Zink became the first girls basketball coach in Ohio history and third overall (boys included) to reach 800 career victories.
A 1970 Beavercreek grad, Zink has been the Beavers’ head coach since the sport was sanctioned by the Ohio High School Athletic Association beginning with the 1975-76 season. His 1995, 2001, and 2003 teams won Division I state titles. His career record is 800-262.
According to the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS.org), Zink is the 32nd girls basketball coach in U.S. history to reach the 800-win plateau. Leta Andrews, who coached at four schools in Texas from 1962-2014, owns the national record with 1,416 wins.
Dick Kortokrax claimed the majority of his Ohio-record 890 wins during a lengthy stint as the boys basketball coach at Kalida (Ohio)
High School in Putnam County. He retired in 2015. Longtime Archbishop Alter (Kettering, Ohio)
boys coach Joe Petrocelli (831 wins) ranks second. Like Zink, Petro was the first coach the Alter program employed (1964 debut season) and its only one until retirement in 2013.
Four years removed from graduating from the University of Dayton where he earned MVP honors at fullback and served as a captain in football, Zink thought he’d be bestowing knowledge as a head coach on the high school gridiron. Instead, he was in the midst of a 1-19 season with the Beavercreek girls basketball team.
Zink and the Beavers would end that 1977-78 season with an 11-36 record in the program’s first three years. The ride could have been short.
“I was lucky,” Zink said. “If I would have started like that now – they wouldn’t have kept me around. But back then, the program was just getting started and it was a lot different than it is now.”
Zink has changed a bit too.
Creek’s current roster includes two seniors whose moms played for the coach in the 1990s.
Maci Rhoades’ mother – Paula (McClellan) – was a member of Zink’s first state tournament team in 1991. Tiernan McKitrick’s mother – Sarah (Schaeffer) – played on Creek’s ‘95 state championship team (which finished 28-0).
“My mom pretty much says he was a lot meaner back then,” McKitrick said. “She says ‘You have it so lucky.’ He’s much nicer now.”
Added Rhoades: “My mom said he’s definitely calmed down a lot. She says he used to be a lot crazier.”
In addition to its three state titles, Creek has won 18 district and six regional championships under Zink.
Monday, the Beavers (15-9) go for their 22nd sectional title against nationally-ranked Fairmont (Kettering, Ohio)
(22-2) at Troy HS (7:30 p.m. tip). The Firebirds are No. 24 in the MaxPreps Xcellent 25. Creek’s nine losses have come against some of Ohio’s top teams according to the MaxPreps statewide computer rankings: No. 1 Mount Notre Dame (Cincinnati)
, No. 2 Fairmont (twice), No. 3 Wayne (Huber Heights, Ohio)
(twice), No. 6 Springboro (Ohio)
(GWOC National champ), No. 9 Centerville (Ohio)
(twice) and Bellbrook (Ohio)
(No. 5 seed in sectional). Mount Notre Dame is ranked No. 3 in the MP Xcellent 25.
Inducted into Beavercreek’s first “Hall of Fame” class in 2000, Zink is also a member of the Ohio Basketball Hall of Fame. He was recently named recipient of the 2020 Paul Walker Award, which is presented annually by the OHSBCA to an active coaching member of the association who has made significant contributions to high school basketball. Zink is a three-time OHSBCA Coach of the Year of the year (1989, 1994, and 2001). His teams have won 21 league titles (Western Ohio League and Greater Western Ohio Conference).
“He’s such a great role model for me and others,” Rhoades said. “He’s taught me so many things beyond basketball.”
“I’ve always said I’ve got the best high school job in the state of Ohio,” Zink said. “You can’t ask for anything more.”