By Gary R. Rasberry
John Reed can't get over the notion that he's a Hall of Fame coach and neither can Tim Boeckman.
Reed, the longtime and current Coldwater coach, and Boeckman, who guided St. Henry to four state championships, each received word over the weekend that they will be inducted into the Ohio High School Football Coaches Association's Hall of Fame next spring.
Reed, Boeckman and the other four selections will be honored during the OHSFCA's Coaches Clinic held during Spring Game at The Ohio State University.
The Hall of Fame had its first enshrinement in 1970 and includes such legendary names as Paul Brown, Woody Hayes, Weeb Eubank, Earle Bruce and Lee Tressel, father of current OSU coach Jim Tressel.
"You never think of yourself (as a Hall of Famer)," said Reed. "You think of those guys who are in the Hall of Fame, you think 'Those guys are really something.' You don't think of yourself in that same light." Neither coach knew that nominations were sent in by others on their behalf.
Reed's nomination was spearheaded by Coldwater athletic director Eric Goodwin, who received help from the coach's wife Jan in gathering information from the years Reed coached before coming to Coldwater, which included stops at Parkway and Reed's alma mater of Upper Sandusky. Reed has a career record of 233-121-1, with a 118-26 mark in 11 seasons -- 10 of which included playoff appearances -- at Coldwater. In Reed's tenure, the Cavaliers were state runner-up in 1998 and 2000 before going 15-0 and winning a state title this past season.
The cat came out of the bag, though, recently when Reed and long-time assistant coach Tim Hoyng spoke at the annual coaches clinic.
"After the banquet, one of the coaches who's the head of the committee that decided said 'Boy, that was an impressive portfolio that was put together for your nomination,' " recalled Reed. "I asked what he was talking about and Tim has a funny look on his face."
"As Tim and I walked down the hall, I asked him not to talk about this. If this ever happens, fine. If it doesn't, that's fine too. I was really surprised Sunday night when Mike Fell (former Celina coach and current Ada coach who is the region's representative for the OHSFCA) called and said he had some good news."
Boeckman, who earned the induction in his first year of eligibility -- nominees must either be 55 or, in Boeckman's case, retired for three years -- was shocked to get the call.
"It was really a surprise," said Boeckman, the current St. Henry athletic director. "When you think about it, and think about all the coaches that are in there, what an honor to be a part of it. Now add in the fact that there's a section at Ohio Stadium dedicated to the coaches Hall of Fame, it's hard to describe in words about an honor like this.
"Jeff (Jeff Starkey, who succeeded Boeckman as Redskins coach), had mentioned some things to me and got some information. I really didn't think much about it. You don't expect it to happen. The fact that it did happen, it's amazing."
In his years at St. Henry, Boeckman was 195-57-3 as coach, sending 21 players to play NCAA Division I football with two of his players -- Jeff Hartings and Bob Hoying -- going on to play in the National Football League. Boeckman's Redskins won state titles in 1990, 1992, 1994 and 1995.
Reed and Boeckman will be the third and fourth Grand Lake Area coaches to be enshrined. Longtime St. Marys coach Skip Baughman was honored in 1993 and recently retired Versailles coach Al Hetrick was enshrined in 1997.
Both coaches' names will be placed on a display, rededicated several years ago, located inside Gate 8 at Ohio Stadium.
"I attended the induction ceremony this year," said Reed. "I thought 'Gosh, what a neat experience it is for these people to be recognized, particularly when you're still alive.' You kind of joke that you have to be either retired or dead to be inducted into a hall of fame. Hope we can hang on to that before the induction ceremony."
Reed hopes his honor will also help reflect on all the other components that helped make his football teams do well.
"I said to Tim (Hoyng) and Eric that I hope this can be recognized as a team accomplishment," said Reed. "This isn't something you do by yourself. you don't amass victories or any kind of success by yourself. That's what we try to sell our kids on. This wouldn't have happened without the wonderful coaches I've been associated with, the great players I've been associated with and to be finishing up my career with outstanding administrators really makes it a lot easier, too."
Boeckman is honored to be joining Reed in the Hall class.
"It probably makes it a little more special," said Boeckman. "Both of us being in this area and being successful in this area. John probably feels the same way; What a reflection on the communities and the people we've been fortunate to work with in the school system. The most important thing is what a great group of athletes I've been blessed to work with at St. Henry."