Four years removed from graduating from the University of Dayton where he earned MVP honors at fullback and served as a captain in football, Ed Zink thought he’d be bestowing knowledge as a head coach on the high school gridiron. Instead, he was struggling through a 1-19 season guiding the Beavercreek girls basketball team at his alma mater.
Zink and the Beavers would end that 1977-78 season with an 11-36 record in the program’s first three years. It could have been a real short ride.
LOOKING BACK: Zink coaches 1,000th girls game
“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.”
Over the ensuing 41 seasons, Zink’s teams have won an additional 789 games.
The latest came Tuesday.
With the Beavers’ 45-26 win over Troy in a Division I Southwest District quarterfinal at Vandalia Butler, 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. Zink’s career record is 800-262
Dick Kortokrax claimed the majority of his state-record 890 wins during a lengthy stint as the boys basketball coach at Kalida High School in Putnam County. He retired in 2015. Longtime Alter boys coach Joe Petrocelli (831 wins) ranks second. Like Zink, Petrocelli was the first coach the Alter program employed (1964 debut season) and its only one until retirement in 2013.
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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.
“Great kids and great parents,” 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.”
Zink’s teams have won 21 league titles (Western Ohio League and Greater Western Ohio Conference). Monday, the Beavers (15-9) go for their 22nd D-I sectional title against Fairmont (22-2) at Troy High School (7:30 p.m. tip). In addition to its three state championships, ‘Creek has won 18 district titles and six regional championships under Zink. His 1995 team finished 28-0.
‘Creek’s current roster includes two seniors whose mom’s played for Zink.
Maci Rhoades’ mother – Paula (McClellan) – was a member of Zink’s first state team in 1991. Tiernan McKitrick’s mother – Sarah (Schaeffer) – played on Creek’s ‘95 state championship team.
“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.”
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).
“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.”
“He’s such a great role model for me and others,” Rhoades said. “He’s taught me so many things beyond basketball.”
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