FAREWELL TO LOCAL COACHING LEGEND

A look at a basketball coaching legend from south central Ohio.

After 36 years of coaching high school basketball, Gary Shaffer will not be on the bench this season at Washington Court House High School. The coach has decided to retire after a career that includes stints in West Virginia, a state championship season in Maryland, as well as 29 years at Washington Senior High School.

His win total of 561 ( with only 210 defeats ) translates to a gaudy .705 winning percentage. Shaffer's best season with the Blue Lions was his team of two years ago that finished 25-1. That squad was led by All-Ohio guard Dustin Pfeifer, one of the coach's favorite players, who now starts for the University of Findlay.

With the aforementioned impressive numbers, is Coach Shaffer Hall-of-Fame bound? That question can be answered with a resounding YES! He will be inducted into the Ohio High School Hall of Fame in April of 2004.

Coach Shaffer had this comment about not coaching.

"I'll miss the challenge of working with a new team during the pre-season practice", Shaffer said recently. He also added that a "combination of things" caused him to stop coaching and felt "it was time to get out."

Finally, Gary Shaffer will be attending Washington Court House High School games this winter. However, he isn't going as a critic. He simply wants to enjoy the games with his family. That, in addition to the Hall of Fame, is something he richly deserves.

This article was written by Stew Gardner who has known Coach Shaffer for many years. Stew covers and broadcast games with Washington Court House and Miami Trace High Schools for 105.5 WCHO-FM in Washington Court House. The 2003-2004 basketball season starts this Friday with Greenfield McClain playing the Washington Court House Blue Lions and you can hear Stew with all the action.

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OPS NOTES: This story hits home for me. In 1979-1980, I was a freshman at Washington Court House. At that time I played freshman basketball and got the chance to know Coach Shaffer. The Coach was also the gym teacher and for those who know him, you will remember one thing about Coach. Don't forget your gym clothes. If you did he had some nice pink ones for you to wear. As some of you know I attended three high schools. While at the time I found this to be a problem, I now can say it allowed me the chance to meet several people who influenced my life. One of those people was Coach Gary Shaffer. I would like to wish the coach the best, and hope to get the chance to visit him at a game this season.

Best of Luck Coach Shaffer


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