After one year out of coaching basketball, Von Graffin will be going home to resume his career.
Graffin, the former Bowling Green High School coach, has been hired to take over at Port Clinton, his alma mater.
It started with a call from Port Clinton superintendent Patrick Adkins.
“Pat called when I was on my way to Rogers,” said Graffin, who runs the behavior intervention center at the school. “He said ‘We’d like you to come home.’ I got a little emotional, and I was excited.
“It’s nice to be wanted again. When the Port Clinton job opened up things just kind of fell into place. I’m excited to get going again. It’s going to be real special.”
Graffin, 53, graduated in 1979 from Port Clinton, where he played for the late Tom Bodager. He also started his coaching career there as a volunteer assistant with the Redskins in 1981-82, when he was finishing his degree at Bowling Green State University.
Graffin said he was contacted by numerous well-wishers connected to Port Clinton.
“My first-grade teacher, Doris Cedoz, got my phone number from a friend of mine and called me Sunday,” Graffin said. “I had her in class 47 years ago.”
His contract was not renewed by the BG school board following the 2012-13 season, his 11th year guiding the Bobcats. Graffin’s BG teams went 148-94 overall and 111-43 in the Northern Lakes League.
During that time the Bobcats won NLL titles in 2003 (his first season) and 2011, finished either first or second seven times, and never ended lower than fourth in the eight-team league. His 148 wins were the most in school history, and the 2003 NLL title was the first league title since 1968.
Before working as a head coach, Graffin was an assistant at BG for three years, one year at Rogers, five at Rossford, one at Libbey, and seven at Macomber, including the 1989 state championship season there under head coach Bart Schroeder.
Last season was his first since 1984 out of basketball, but Graffin remained close to the game from a different perspective — as a radio color commentator for WLQR (106.5).
At Port Clinton, Graffin inherits a team that has struggled the last four seasons after a 26-1 Division II state runner-up season (2009-10) under coach Troy Diels. The Redskins were 26-57 overall and 17-39 in the Sandusky Bay Conference since that season. Diels resigned his post to take an administrative position with the school district.
“They had a rough year last year, but a lot of those kids are back, and they’re coachable and have great attitudes from what I understand,” Graffin said. “I’m excited about getting going. The [current] sophomores won a league title at the junior high level. They have won in the past, so we’ve got something to work with.”
Graffin will remain at Rogers for one more year to complete 30 years with Toledo Public Schools. After that, he hopes to join the faculty at Port Clinton.
The Three Rivers Athletic Conference baseball playoff semifinals and finals are for Monday and Tuesday at Mercy Field.
In Monday’s semifinals, regular-season first-place finisher St. John’s Jesuit will play Findlay at noon, and host Central Catholic will take on St. Francis at 3 p.m.
The semifinal winners will meet in the championship game Tuesday at 7 p.m., following a 4:30 p.m. consolation game.
St. John’s won the first TRAC playoff title in 2012, and Central Catholic won last year.
Some baseball district semifinals are set for today.
In Division I at Mercy Field today, top-seeded St. John’s faces No. 4 seed Southview at 3 p.m., and No. 3 seed St. Francis takes on No. 5 seed Springfield at 5:30 p.m. The final is Saturday at 1 p.m. at Mercy Field.
Division I action at Bowling Green’s Carter Park has No. 4 seed Bowling Green battling top-seeded Mansfield Madison at 4:15 p.m., and No. 2 seed Fremont Ross faces No. 3 seed Anthony Wayne at 7:15 p.m. The final is Saturday at 1 p.m. at Carter Park.
In Division II at Archbold, top-seeded defending state champion Defiance plays No. 4 seed Wauseon at 4:30 p.m., and No. 2 seed Napoleon takes on No. 3 seed Bryan at 7 p.m. The final is Saturday at 7 p.m. at Archbold.
In Division III at Defiance High School, top seeded Lake matches up with No. 6 seed Elmwood at 4:15 p.m., and No. 2 seed Archbold meets No. 4 seed Genoa at 6:30 p.m. The final is Saturday at 2 p.m. at Defiance.
Baseball/softball state rankings
In the final baseball state coaches polls, four area teams finished among the top 10 in their respective divisions.
In Division I, St. John’s (20-2) ended at No. 10. In Division II, Wauseon (20-5) finished at No. 8.
In Division IV, Gibsonburg (19-3) was ranked No. 3, and Patrick Henry (18-8) closed at No. 10.
In the final softball state coaches poll, three area teams finished in the top 10.
In Division I, Three Rivers Athletic Conference champion Clay (25-2) finished at No. 5, and Springfield (16-4), in first place in the Northern Lakes League, came in at No. 8.
In Division III, Northwest Ohio Athletic League champion Archbold (25-1) was ranked No. 3.
Districts at BGSU
The district tournament for boys tennis in Divisions I and II began Wednesday, continues today, and concludes Saturday at Bowling Green State University’s Keefe Courts.
First-round play and quarterfinals for singles and doubles in Division II were held Wednesday, and first-round and quarterfinal matches for singles and doubles in Division I are today. Semifinals and finals in both divisions are Saturday.
Entering D-I singles play as sectional champions are Central Catholic’s Dugan Delp, St. John’s Jesuit’s Adam Zychowicz, and Findlay’s Reid Teatsorth. In D-II Wauseon’s Tyler Shipley won a sectional title.
Delp topped Tyler Gargas of St. Francis 6-1, 6-1 in a sectional final. Zychowicz defeated Springfield‘s Cody Wurzelbacher 6-1, 6-0 in a sectional final.
Coming in as sectional champions in D-I doubles are brothers Kevin and Ryan Brown of St. John’s, Mitch Skotynsky and Austin Riffer of Perrysburg, and Austin Ezzone and Austin Ray of Bowling Green.
The top two finishers in D-I and top four in D-II advance to state tournament May 30-31 at Ohio State University.
Track and field
Districts this weekend
District tournament competition in track and field involving area teams concludes Friday and Saturday.
In Division I, most schools from the Toledo metro area will be at St. Francis on Saturday, while athletes from Bowling Green, Maumee, Findlay, and Fremont Ross will be at Tiffin Columbian on Friday.
The finals in Division II involving area teams will be Friday at Oak Harbor and Defiance.
Finals in Division III will be Saturday at Fremont Ross, Ayersville, and Liberty-Benton.
The top four placers in each event advance to regionals on May 28-31.
St. Francis de Sales and Whitmer recently had several athletes select colleges.
From St. Francis — John Barone III, Jonathan DiSalle, and Nick Brodie will all swim at Ohio State; Maurice Taylor will participate in track and field at Akron; Evan Wheeler will play basketball at Wittenberg; Andrew Bonfiglio will play football at Mount Union; David Nees will play football at Washington-St. Louis; Dane Pelz will play football at Gallaudet (in Washington, D.C.); Daniel Siebenaller will run track at Walsh; Matthew Lenz will play soccer at Walsh; and Noah Peeps will swim at Bellarmine (Ky.).
From Whitmer — Jordan Friemark will play football at Adrian, Makayla Taylor will play softball at Siena Heights, Lyndi Winzeler will play softball at Owens CC, Morgan Cukierski will run cross country at Mount Union, Kirsten Harder will run cross country at Ohio Northern, Kaitlyn Barber will run track at Walsh, and Devon Herzig and Hunter Carr will play hockey at Adrian.
Owens CC also announced the signing of two baseball players — Bowsher’s William Hutt and Genoa’s Casey Gose.