How many coaches have coached two teams from different schools to sectional championships in the same sport on the same day?
It might have happened before, but not recently, not around here and not very often.
Mike Besu did it last weekend.
On Saturday afternoon, he coached the Division II Lake Ridge girls to a 4-1 sectional final victory over Columbia. Then he drove to Westlake where he coached the Demons boys to a 2-0 win over Elyria for a Division I sectional crown. The schools are about 8 miles apart.
“I did that a lot of times during the season,” said Besu.
He did it a lot of times last season, too, when he took over the Lake Ridge girls program. He’s been the Westlake boys coach for 20 years.
The schedule finally caught up with him on Tuesday. Both teams were scheduled to play
7 p.m. district semifinal matches, Lake Ridge at Avon and Westlake at home against Avon Lake.
He was on the sidelines as the Demons (11-4-3) whipped Avon Lake 4-2 to qualify for tonight’s district final match at North Olmsted. That left Lake Ridge athletics director Debby Ghezzi in charge for the Lady Lions’ semifinal game with Avon. They dropped a 3-1 decision to finish the season 14-3-1.
How did he pick which team to be with?
“We had the understanding that Westlake was my priority when I took the job at Lake Ridge,” he said.
Beth Gavin-English, who led Bay to the Division II state championship in 2003, has resigned to devote more time to her family.
“I’m taking some time off with my baby,” said Gavin-English, who has a 10-month-old daughter, Moira. “It just came down to one or the other right now.”
She compiled a 66-33-8 record in five seasons.
Bay athletics director Mark Smithberger said the search for a successor will begin following the fall sports season.
Big things were expected of Gavin-English after she took over one of the state’s premier girls programs in 2003, and she succeeded. Her predecessor was Gale Fisk, who retired after his 2002 team won the state championship. With Fisk at the helm, Bay won its first girls title in 1999.
Gavin-English inherited 10 members of the ’02 squad and she kept them on track. Her 2003 Rockets went 19-4 and waxed Cincinnati Indian Hill 5-0 in Columbus Crew Stadium for their second straight state championship.
Will she return to coaching?
“Possibly,” said Gavin-English. “It will depend on what Moira wants to do. If she wants to play soccer I probably will, but she might want to go another way.”
The Avon girls coaching staff had an advantage on Saturday when the Eagles knocked off Elyria Catholic in their Division II sectional final. One of coach Brian Irwin’s assistants is Chris Marsh, a former EC assistant.
“We had some information on this group of (EC) girls, because we have their former assistant,” Irwin said. “We pretty much knew what their approach was going to be and it played right into the way that we’ve practiced and played all season long. So we were looking forward to it.”
It worked well for Irwin and the Eagles. They posted a 3-1 victory and advanced to the Division II district semifinal against Besu’s Lake Ridge girls.
You might think Panthers coach David Leigh had an advantage of his own. For two years he coached Avon star Sammy Bender’s youth soccer team. But it was of no use. Bender, a freshman and The Chronicle’s player of the week, turned in her second hat trick of the season.
Incidentally, Chris Marsh is the son of Andy Marsh, founder of the EC girls program, its longtime head coach and now the girls coach at Firelands.
Six area teams are still in the running with boys and girls regional semifinals scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday. All regional finals will be played next Saturday.
North Olmsted hosts Westlake in the boys Division I district final tonight at 7, with the winner moving on to the Brunswick regional at
7 p.m. Tuesday. The opponent will be either Medina or Wadsworth, which also play tonight.
Boys regional semifinalists have already been determined in the other divisions. In Division II, Bay meets Medina Highland at 7 p.m. Tuesday in Medina. At the same time, Lake Ridge takes on Louisville St. Thomas Aquinas in a Division III semifinal on Bay’s new artificial turf.
In girls action, Magnificat hosts Westlake in a Division I district final at 3 p.m. today at St. Edward. The winner gets a 7 p.m. Wednesday date with either Holy Name or Strongsville at a site to be determined. In Division II, Buckeye travels to Avon this afternoon for a 5 p.m. district final. The winner plays either Chagrin Falls or St. Thomas Aquinas at
7 p.m. Wednesday in Brunswick.
First prize, one night in Brunswick. Second prize, two nights …
Contact Bob Daniels at 329-7135 or email@example.com.
Greg Stawicki, Wellington
LAST WEEK: One of the top offensive threats in the area, Stawicki scored four goals last week, including two against Buckeye and one in the Dukes’ overtime district semifinal loss to Revere. He was second on the team in scoring with 27 goals, 12 assists and 66 total points.
BIO: Stawicki was part of the Dukes’ potent one-two scoring punch with Christian Huelsman, and would most likely have led any other team in scoring. Even after playing in the backfield his freshman and sophomore seasons, he ranks second on the school’s all-time lists for goals (73) and assists (42). His foot skills are remarkable. He’s played soccer since he was old enough to kick a ball, and plays in the
off-season with the Black River Soccer Club.
LOOKING AHEAD: Stawicki is undecided about where he’ll attend college, but hopes to play soccer. Coach Bill Little predicted he will continue to improve wherever he goes.