BEAVERCREEK — After winning just 11 games in his first three seasons coaching girls basketball at Beavercreek, Ed Zink had his doubts.
He told then-athletic director Rex Warner it wasn’t working and he should find another coach, but at Warner’s behest Zink stayed on. And now after 799 more wins, Zink is again ready step away.
This time for real and with no regrets.
The Beavercreek native and multi-sports standout announced his retirement from coaching Sunday after 46 years, more than 1,000 games, 810 wins, three Division-I state championships, 21 league championships in the Western Ohio League and Greater Western Ohio Conference, 18 district championships, and six regional championships.
“I’ve just been thinking about it for a couple years here,” Zink, 69, said. “I don’t have all the energy that I used to have. I still enjoy it. Last year kind of wore me out a little bit with the COVID and everything. I just felt that it’s about time to turn it over to someone younger.”
That’s kind of what Warner did when he gave Zink the girls coaching job. Zink, who graduated from BHS in 1970, was in his mid-20s when he became the first — and to date — the only girls varsity coach BHS has had.
“I wanted the sophomore boys job,” Zink said. “I didn’t ask for the girls job.” But the only other applicant was adamant about only coaching the boys team so Warner asked Zink to take the girls job as a favor. The Beavers went 7-6, 3-11, and 1-19 in Zink’s first three seasons, prompting the aforementioned conversation.
“(Warner) eventually talked me into staying,” Zink said. “I easily could have gotten out then. He stuck with me.”
The next season, Beavercreek was 12-7 and the Beavers followed that up with a 17-6 record. It didn’t take too long after that for the Beavers became the premier program in the Dayton area, beginning to dominate in the 1980s and then reaching the state semifinals four times between 1991-1996, winning the title in 1995.
“I was very fortunate to have very good kids,” Zink said. “Great kids come into Beavercreek. We’ve done it with Beavercreek kids.”
One of those was Amanda (Reese) Crockett, who was Ms. OHSBCA (Ohio High School Basketball Coaches Association) in 1995, which is the association’s version of Ms. Basketball. It was likely because of Reese that the Beavercreek Stars created a girls program after she had to play for the boys teams for years.
Crockett was arguably the first superstar the Beavers had. Many others followed as the Beavers also won state titles in 2001 and 2003 as well.
“Coach Zink is one of the coaching greats when it comes to girls basketball and has had a positive impact on countless young female athletes over his career,” said Allison (Skapin) Horton, who played at Indiana after graduating from Beavercreek. “He had a tremendous impact on me as an athlete and as a person. He encouraged me, challenged me, pushed me/us to be our best, and challenged me/our team to be successful. His strong leadership gave us the discipline we needed and using his extensive knowledge of the game, he taught us the skills to earn a win time after time. I am honored that I was able to play for Coach Zink and to be a part of his legacy. I want to say thank you to him for all he did for me.”
That respect and impact isn’t just limited to players, as many coaches also see Zink as a strong influence.
“Coach Zink has always been a great mentor to me,” said Bellbrook coach Jason Tincher. “I’ve called and texted him a lot over the years. He has always been more a friend than a foe. Always willing to offer advice if I needed it. Ed would play in my girls basketball golf outing over the years. We always had competitive games against each other but win or lose he was always the constant professional. To be able to win and coach in that many games over his career and to do it all at one school is something I’ve always seen as amazing.”
Zink leaves Beavercreek the winningest coach in Ohio girls basketball history since it became a sanctioned sport for the 1975-76 season. With a career record of 810-277, Zink’s teams averaged 17 wins and just six losses per season. Those numbers are even better if the first three seasons of 7-6, 3-11, and 1-19 are removed.
Beavercreek routinely beat teams by double digits with a relentless half-court trap defense and precision offense and more times than not, games were decided by halftime. Zink substituted liberally in the second half of those games. He refused to embarrass the opponent.
“Hopefully they all understood, they understand, we never tried to run the score up on people,” Zink said. “That’s what I hope most people remember. You can’t tell your kids not go in and play. (But) we tried to always win with class, and tried to lose with class.”
That’s one thing that will always stick with Stefanie (Miller) Landis, a four-year starter who played at University of Dayton.
“He was consistent and steady with his philosophy,” Landis said. “He created an identity for his program and never wavered. We all knew that if we got two fouls, we were out until halftime. If we had a sizable lead, starters played the first and third quarters. You always knew where you stood. He was never a coach that looked to run up scores, or put emphasis on individual player stats. It was always about the team. He wanted to win and with good sportsmanship.”
Zink is one of the last “old-school” coaches in the area. He was oftentimes fiery on the sidelines. And other times he simply displayed his displeasure with his posture.
“I can still hear him yelling, ‘Come on (player)’ or ‘(player!)’ when you did something unfavorable like missed a box out or took a bad shot,” Landis said. “His familiar trademark stances, he had four: The squat; the hands on hips; one hand on his hip, one hand on forehead (actively rubbing) or back of head scratch, while looking down; and the walk-away, which usually followed number two and three, indicating he was not happy.”
With all those wins, Zink actually had plenty to be happy about. But he never took much credit. He mentioned assistants including Mary Jo Petrocelli, Teri Downing, Aric Seilhamer (a likely candidate to be Zink’s replacement), Pame Ferguson, and Dick Orr, who has been by Zink’s side for more than 30 years.
“He was a very important part of that,” Zink said of Orr.
Despite retiring, Zink still plans to be an important part of the Beavers going forward, just in a different way.
“I’ll be at some games,” he said. “I’ll be sitting upstairs. No pressure on me, if they throw the ball away or miss a shot. I’m not going to yell at them. I’ll go and root for them and wish them the best.”
After 810 wins, few will argue that Zink isn’t the best.
Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.