By Ryan Hines
For the first time in over two decades, the Celina athletic department is looking for a head girls basketball coach after coaching legend Jack Clouse submitted his letter of resignation on Monday.
“After 37 years of coaching at various levels of basketball for boys and girls, I thought that it was just time to let someone else try it and get the enjoyment that I got out of it all of these years,” said Clouse, who also resigned as an assistant football coach. “It’s just time for a change and I feel good about the decision.
“The reason for doing it now is just to allow the next coach to have more time with the team because they will need to start right now with preparation because basketball season is never-ending,” added Clouse.
Clouse has a resume that ranks with the best of all-time in the state of Ohio after leading the Bulldogs to four Western Buckeye League titles, 10 sectional titles, four district titles, two regional titles and one state title. Clouse also hit the 300-win plateau in his career last season.
The state title is probably what most Bulldogs fans will remember when Clouse’s name is mentioned since the 1990-91 championship is still the lone state crown in any sport at Celina.
“No question that year was a special year and so was the 1987-88 season when we made it to state,” recalled Clouse. “We had a great bunch of kids and I think that what I learned at state in 1988 really helped us with the team in 1991.”
As proud as the memories are for Clouse during the state tournament runs in 1988 and 1991, the longtime Celina mentor talks about the relationships with the players and coaches as his fondest memories.
“Going back and thinking about all the things that have happened over the years, you remember all the good things and the bad things but the things that really stick out in my mind are the relationships that I had with players and coaches,” admitted Clouse. “There were highs and lows, but there was a tremendous amount of fun in all of it.”
The hole that Clouse leaves in the girls basketball program will certainly be felt by the players and fans, but also the athletic department where he spent so much of his time over the years.
“He’s been in the athletic department for over 30 years and he’s the consummate team coach,” said Celina Dean of Athletics Dan Otten. “He’s the type of coach that you really appreciate as an athletic director because he always cooperated fully. His versatility as a coach and his adaptability as a person made it very easy to work with him.
“The success rate that he had here for over 20 years as part of the girls basketball program speaks for itself,” continued Otten. “He has great knowledge of the game and that shows over the course of 20-plus years because he’s done it with different players and he’s been able to have good relationships with all the players with the changing generations.”
Clouse will still spend the spring sports season in the athletic department as an assistant coach for Bruce Boley in the Bulldogs baseball program but beyond that free time will be something that Clouse suddenly will have available to him.
“It will take time to get used to the extra time that I’ll have available without coaching basketball,” said Clouse.