Beavercreek’s Zink on retirement decision: ‘It just felt it was time’

Legendary girls basketball coach retires after 46 seasons and 810 victories

Ed Zink, the winningest girls basketball coach in Ohio high school history, had pondered retirement for a few years and finally made his decision official Sunday.

Zink, 69, ended a 46-year run as the head coach at Beavercreek High School by telling his players the news of his retirement at the annual awards banquet. He admitted he was a little teary eyed.

“You just never know when the right time is,” Zink said Monday. “I said the last few years when this class graduates, I’ll get out with them. Then the next class comes along and you love those kids. It just felt it was time. Forty six years is a long time.”

Tributes to Zink poured in on Twitter.

Beavercreek Athletic Director Brad Pompos described Zink as a “a true “old school coach who built and maintained the program the right way. You will be missed.”

“What a legacy!” Beavercreek Superintendent Paul Otten wrote. “Thanks for all that you have done for our student athletes, our district, and our community. Your 46 years of positively impacting student lives will carry on for generations.”

Zink, a 1970 Beavercreek graduate who played football at the University of Dayton and was the team MVP as a fullback in 1973, started coaching at Beavercreek in 1975-76. That was the first year girls basketball was sanctioned by the Ohio High School Athletic Association. He didn’t plan on getting into girls basketball and didn’t know if he’d stay after winning a total of 11 games in his first three seasons.

After the team finished 1-19 in his third season, Zink approached Athletic Director Rex Warner and said, “I don’t think it’s working out.”

Warner told him, “Nobody’s complaining. We need a coach. Are you enjoying it?”

“Well, I don’t enjoy getting my rear end kicked every game,” Zink told him.

“Well, you’ve got some young kids,” Warner said. “Let’s see how it goes.”

The improvement started the following year as Beavercreek finished 12-7. A 17-6 season followed. Then, Zink said, “it just kind of snowballed for a while.”

Beavercreek became a state power, and Zink’s list of accomplishments grew:

Record holder: Zink’s career record was 810-277. He’s the only girls basketball coach in Ohio High School Athletic Association to win 800 games, and only two boys coaches have accomplished the feat. He reached the milestone in 2020.

“I’m just more proud of our kids,” Zink said. “All the success we had was because of them and the support we got from Beavercreek and the great parents we’ve had. And I can’t say enough about my assistants over the years. There’s too many to mention, but three of them have been around the longest: Mary Jo Petrocelli and then Teri Downing and then right now Aric Seilhamer. And then Pam Ferguson, who does a great job behind the scenes. And one guy I have to mention is Dick Orr, who was my assistant for over 30 years.”

Three-time champion: Zink coached Beavercreek to state championships in 1995, 2001 and 2003 and to three other final four appearances in 1991, 1994 and 1996.

“The first one, I really loved that one,” Zink said, “because we got (to the semifinals) in ’91 and kind of had a nice little lead at halftime and lost in the second half (46-39 to Celina) and then that team went on to win it. And then in ’94, we got (to the semifinals) and we got beat (65-33) by Garfield Heights Trinity. They had five D-I kids on the team, and we just looked like deer caught in the headlights.”

A year later, Beavercreek beat Lakewood 50-39 to win its first state championship, capping a 28-0 season.

“I was really proud of the kids of how we came back and won that following year after looking so bad the year before,” Zink said. “Plus we didn’t win a game by less than 10 points all year.”

In 2001, Beavercreek finished 28-0 again and beat Chaminade Julienne 42-35 in the championship.

“That was really neat to have two Dayton-area schools in the finals,” Zink said.

The 2003 team, which finished 27-1, routed Hudson 58-23 in the final game.

“We just played a great game,” Zink said, “and Hudson played just one really terrible game and I felt bad for them. I knew how they felt though because in ‘94, we felt the same way.”

Hall of Famer: Zink was inducted into the Beavercreek High School Hall of Fame with the first class in 2000 and joined the Ohio Basketball Hall of Fame in 2012.

Under Zink, Beavercreek won 21 league championships in the Western Ohio League and Greater Western Ohio Conference, 18 district championships and six regional championships. The gym at Beavercreek High School was renamed Ed Zink Fieldhouse in 2008. He coached his 1,000th career game in 2018.

Zink plans to devote his retirement years to spending more time with his seven grandchildren and golfing. He hopes Beavercreek considers his assistant, Seilhamer, for the head coaching job.

“He was with the boys program for a while,” Zink said, “and then I convinced him to come over with us, and he’s been with us as our JV coach for a few years and he’s been my assistant for a few more, and I just think he deserves that opportunity.”

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