Lowell Klinefelter has announced he is retiring from coaching after leading the Canton Central Catholic football team for 41 seasons.
Klinefelter, who will be 70 in April, is also currently the Athletic Director and is in his 48th year teaching at CCC. He was a member of the Crusaders coaching staff the seven seasons prior to being the head coach.
“After 41 years of being head coach I thought it was time to let someone younger do it,” Klinefelter said. “It has been a great journey and I have had a lot of fun working with the kids and coaches. I’m getting older and my body is wearing out. It is time to think about the next stage of my life. I don’t really know where that will take me. I know I sure have enjoyed my time teaching and coaching. One thing about education is you can’t go in second gear. You always have to go in high gear.”
Klinefelter said he is also retiring from being the Athletic Director and is “undecided” on whether he will continue to teach. He has served as a chemistry and match teacher at CCC, and was the Crusaders boys basketball coach for three seasons (1970-1973). His name adorns the football field and a street leading up to the stadium.
Klinefelter’s 257 career wins are No. 1 on the list of Stark County football coaches. He is the only Stark County football coach to win multiple state championships (Division IV in 1988 and Division III in 2000). He led the Crusaders to a 257-172-6 record and 11 playoff appearances — the first in 1977 and the last in 2011.
“I enjoyed the teaching situations and I sure enjoyed the support from the community with our football team,” Klinefelter said.
Klinefelter said the job will be posted, but he has a good candidate in mind.
“I am sure hoping they give it to my longtime assistant since 1986, Jeff Lindesmith,” Klinefelter said. “He has done a great job and is well liked by the community. He does a great job as a guidance counselor.”
Klinefelter graduated from now-closed Claridon High School in 1962, which is now part of the River Valley school district. He competed in football, basketball, baseball and track and field. He played on the freshman basketball team at Ohio State University and then graduated from OSU in 1966 as a double-major in math and chemistry.
Klinefelter said he plans to spend more time with his wife of 47 years, Sharon Klinefelter. The couple has four sons, Jason, Ryan, Josh and Aaron. All played at CCC for their father and are employed in Ohio.
“I am proud of what we have done and accomplished,” Klinefelter said. “It’s been a great ride.”