Lowell Klinefelter announced he is retiring from coaching after leading the Canton Central Catholic football team for 41 seasons and its athletic department for 48 years.
Klinefelter, who will be 70 in April, is in his 48th year teaching at Central. He was a member of the Crusaders coaching staff the seven seasons before being 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 math teacher at Central, 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.
His 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.”
He 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. The couple have four sons, Jason, Ryan, Josh and Aaron. All played at Central Catholic 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.”
The 54th annual North Canton Holiday Wrestling Invitational will have a field of 32 teams competing today and Saturday, tournament directors Erin Werstler and Craig Bailey said.
North Canton Hoover won the team title last year. Steubenville, Huntington, Lake and Wadsworth were second through fifth.
Other local schools scheduled to compete are Canton McKinley, Field, GlenOak, Green, Highland, Jackson, Kenmore, Louisville, Marlington, Northwest and Tuslaw.
Wrestling starts at 5 p.m. today with 14 weight classes competing on seven mats in Hoover’s gymnasium. Saturday features the quarterfinals at 9:30 a.m., the semifinals at about 11:30 a.m. and the “Parade of Champions” and finals scheduled for 5:45 p.m.
Stow player signs
Stow senior Michael Urban has signed to continue his academic and baseball careers at Ashland University.
Urban, a shortstop, is a two-year letter winner and starter for the Bulldogs. He had a .362 batting average last season with five doubles, two triples, 14 RBI and 11 stolen bases.
“Mike is a tremendous leader both on and off the baseball field,” Stow coach Bryan Celik said. “He continues to get better each year and we look forward to him excelling not only this upcoming season but in the future at Ashland University.”
St. V-M girls top Walsh
Senior Jordan Korinek led the host St. Vincent-St. Mary girls basketball team to a 52-44 win over Walsh Jesuit on Wednesday.
Korinek finished with 20 points and 10 rebounds to help the Fighting Irish up their record to 5-0. St. V-M is 2-0 at home this season in the renovated gymnasium that is named the LeBron James Arena. Seniors Kiley May (17 points) and Shannon Jack (10 points) also reached double figures for St. V-M.
Junior Anna Hall and senior Chelsea Pla combined to score 21 points for Walsh (2-2).
Michael Beaven can be reached at 330-996-3829 or firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.