Firestone High School athletic director Brian Fuller is searching for a varsity baseball coach after Brad Lightfoot decided to step down following 10 full seasons guiding the Falcons.
Lightfoot resigned to take an assistant coaching position at the College of Wooster.
“I have always wanted to end my coaching career as a head baseball coach at the college level, and this is a natural step in achieving that goal,” Lightfoot said. “I am very grateful for the opportunity that [Wooster coach] Tim Pettorini has offered. This is an opportunity to gain valuable experience with a nationally recognized program and work with Tim, who is a highly respected leader in the college baseball community.”
Lightfoot was Firestone’s pitching coach in 2001 and helped the team post an 18-9 record and win a Division I sectional championship. He then proceeded to set a new record for career wins by a baseball coach at Firestone with a 156-136 mark from 2003-12.
Under his direction, Firestone was City Series regular season champions four times, league playoff champions two times, regular-season runner-up four times and playoff runner-up four times.
Lightfoot earned the City Series Coach of the Year honor in 2003, 2004, 2008 and 2010.
“I owe a great deal of gratitude to the City of Akron, the West Akron Community, the Akron Public Schools and Firestone High School for the support and opportunity that they collectively so graciously provided me as the head baseball coach,” Lightfoot said. “The families that I have had the opportunity to work with, and the relationships that I have made through my position at Firestone High School will be ones that will stay with me and my family for the rest of our lives.”
The Falcons won 19 games in 2005 and 17 games in 2011.
Lightfoot coached the City Series Player of theYear four times: Neil Lindgren (2005), Jonathan Kienzle (2008), Thomas Bekelesky (2010) and Jordan Shaffer (2011).
Jonathan Kountis, a 2006 Firestone graduate, who was selected in the Major League Baseball Draft by the Indians in 2009 and the New York Mets in 2010, also blossomed under Lightfoot, along with 2010 Firestone graduate Connor Mathis, a NCAA Division III All-American selection this year at the University of Mount Union.
The Falcons’ cumulative grade-point-average improved from a 2.5 to a 3.3 during Lightfoot’s tenure. He also oversaw a major upgrade to Dave Marshall Field on Fairfax Road, the construction of Thorburn Landing honoring the family of Robert Thorburn and the creation of the Falcon Baseball Hall of Fame.
Lightfoot said he will maintain his job as president of BWL Engineering Inc. and the outside structural/civil engineering department head for Chemstress Consultant Co. He was born and raised in Logan, where he played baseball and football and graduated from Logan High School in 1979.
Lightfoot earned a master’s degree in business administration and an associate degree in architecture from Kent State University, and a Bachelor of Science in civil engineering from the University of Akron. He and his wife of 25 years, Loraine, have two children in college, Alexandrea (21) and Spencer (19).
Nordonia coach Scott Koenig, Stow coach Bryan Celik and Cottonwood (Ariz.) coach Chris Fuller all served as assistants under Lightfoot before getting to run a varsity team.
Browns pick five area guys
The Browns selected 18 Ohio high school football players to represent the club during the NFL’s 2012 7-on-7 National Tournament and Lineman Leadership program, which is set for July 12-15 at the Indianapolis Colts’ training facility.
Five of the players are from the area: Firestone’s Kevin Gladney, GlenOak’s Tyler Lancaster and Stephen Mathie, Canton McKinley’s Eric Glover and Marlington’s Dymonte Thomas.
Throughout June, more than 2,000 student-athletes participated in the Browns High School Player Development (HSPD) camps with 20 all-stars from each camp site (Akron, Avon, Baldwin-Wallace College, Canton, Defiance, Girard and Toledo) chosen to compete in the HSPD Regional 7-on-7 Tournament. From the 140 participants in the regional tournament, 12 were selected for the Browns’ National 7-on-7 team.
Gladney, Lancaster, Glover and Thomas are among that 12.
Mathie is one of six players on the Browns’ inaugural Lineman Leadership Program team. The Browns are one of six teams in the 32-team NFL to field a Lineman Leadership Program unit.
The other 7-on-7 players are Ross Douglas (Avon), Brandon Poncsak (Bryan), Joseph Davidson (Findlay), Marquise Tyus (Lakewood), Brian Kornowski (Parma Padua), Darian Hicks (Solon), Brionne Duke (Bedford St. Peter Chanel) and Austin Valdez (Sylvania Southview)
The other players in the Lineman Leadership Program are Tim Von Salter (Avon), Blake Yunker (Bryan), Brandon Martuccio (Girard), Michael Welch (Rossford) and Gary Brodek (Valley Forge).
Miller weighs swim options
Firestone swim coach Cindy Virdo said Katie Miller, who will be a senior, is being actively recruited by several colleges.
Virdo said Miller is most interested in Auburn, Ohio State, Wisconsin, Kentucky, Arizona and Georgia.
“It is going to be her pick of school as to where she wants to go,” Virdo said. “Katie has a lot to offer besides her swimming. She is pretty darn smart and is one of the top students in her class. She got a 5.0 grade point average during the last nine-week semester and probably has a 4.8 and 4.9 cumulative grade-point average. She is in the IB [International Baccalaureate] program.”
Ohio State has already offered Miller a scholarship.
“Hopefully she will settle on a school and sign early and get that out of the way,” Virdo said. “She wants to be able to focus on her school work and swimming and not have the recruiting process interfering with all of that.”
Miller won a Division I state championship as a sophomore in 2011 in the 200-yard individual medley and was a state runner-up as a junior in 2012 in the 100 backstroke. She recently competed at the U.S. Olympic Trials in the 200 individual medley, 400 individual medley and 200 butterfly, and will compete later this summer in the U.S. Junior National Meet.
Mabry signs with URG
University of Rio Grande women’s basketball coach David Smalley announced 2012 Twinsburg graduate Nichole Mabry signed to play at the school.
Mabry, a 5-foot-6 point guard, helped Twinsburg win Division I state championships in 2011 and 2012. She averaged 3.5 points, 2.4 assists, 2.2 rebounds and 2.3 steals per game for the Tigers.
Twinsburg compiled a 75-5 record in Mabry’s three seasons on the varsity team with coach Julie Solis and was undefeated against in-state foes in each of the past two seasons.
“I’m extremely excited to continue my career,” Mabry said. “Playing at the collegiate level has been a dream of mine ever since I started playing basketball.”
Mabry was twice named an All-Northeast Ohio Conference honorable mention selection, in addition to earning a spot on the 2012 Tri-County Coaches Association Senior Girls Basketball All-Star Team and the 2012 Greater Cleveland Coaches Senior Girls All-Star Team.
Academically, she earned a four-year Certificate of Academic Achievement, the Silver Scholar Athlete Certificate and the 2012 Twinsburg Mayor’s Scholarship, which recognized her dedication to community service and to helping others.
“We’re delighted to have Nichole joining our Rio family,” Smalley said. “She brings a wealth of talent to us and she’s one of the young ladies that I’m excited about adding to our program. She’s a great person and a very solid student. As a player, she’s the type of kid who knows how to win and who’s hard-nosed both offensively and defensively.”
Mabry plans to major in nursing.
“The opportunities presented to me here at Rio are the reasons I chose to come here,” said Mabry, whose community service includes serving as a mentor in the Basketball Little Sisters program and volunteering to assist students in a special-needs classroom at her school for each of the past two years. “I know I can improve on becoming a better point guard, but I can bring a fast-paced, fundamental type of game to the program.”
Mount Union signs two
Steve Jones of Hudson and Alex Cutler of Green committed to attend the University of Mount Union and play on the men’s lacrosse team.
This is the first year Mount Union will have men’s and women’s lacrosse teams playing in Division III.
Jones, a 6-foot-1 midfielder, was an all-region second team selection this past season for coach David Blue as the Explorers reached the state semifinals.
He was an All-Ohio second team selection in 2011 when Hudson won its first state championship.
He plans to study business administration.
Cutler, a 5-foot-11 defender, earned two letters for Bulldogs coach Rory Tiedemann. He plans to study nursing.
Michael Beaven can be reached at 330-996-3829 or email@example.com. Read the high school blog at http://www.ohio.com/preps. Follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/MBeavenABJ and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.