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CENTER LINE - Forget numbers, this coach has class

bigjoe • Oct 29, 2015 at 12:11 PM

With time running out in the first half and Monroeville ahead 27-0 back on Sept. 19, (1987) against St. Paul’s, Eagles coach Steve Ringholz had a chance to run up the score against the overwhelmed Flyers.

Instead, he had his team sit on the ball and run out the clock.

In coaching circles, they call that class.

Ringholz, in his 10th year as head football coach of the Eagles, takes his undefeated team to Lima Saturday night to meet Delphos Jefferson in the Div. V, Region 10 title game.

The Eagles, 11-0, beat Fostoria St. Wendelin 21-20 last Saturday in their first-ever state football playoff game. Now, Monroeville will try to take one more step toward the state title.

That story I wrote appeared in the Nov. 19, 1987 edition of the Norwalk Reflector. The Eagles didn’t beat Delphos Jefferson, but it was the first of many playoff appearances by the Eagles.

Ringholz is now in his 36th year of teaching and coaching. In 30 seasons as head coach of the Eagles, he is 229-93-1 (.709 winning percentage) with seven playoff appearances and nine Firelands Conference titles.

Ringholz will be honored April 18 when he is inducted into the Ohio High School Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame.

It’s the numbers that stand out, but more than anything it’s the way Ringholz has coached that makes him special. There is no more heated rivalry anywhere than Monroeville vs. St. Paul. Anything goes when the Farmers play the Fish. So when Ringholz took a knee before halftime in that 1987 game, that says something.

Remember the Ohio State-Michigan rivalry when Woody and Bo were coaching?

Late in the 1968 game with a 48-14 lead against Michigan, Hayes attempted a two-point conversion following a touchdown. Later, when asked why he attempted the two-point conversion with a 34-point lead, Hayes replied...“We went for two because we couldn’t go for three.”

There may have been a day when that would have happened. But with Ringholz and St. Paul coach John Livengood in charge, crass has turned into class.

Jump to 1997, when St. Paul was preparing for the state championship game against Delphos St. John. The seven other Firelands Conference teams were considering pulling out of the conference and inviting another school to join in forming their own league — leaving St. Paul on its own.

“There is discussion in that direction,” Monroeville High School principal Jim Barney, who also is president of the FC and spokesman for the league, said at the time.

There was a lynch mob on the loose, and it appeared the future of St. Paul in the FC was in real jeopardy.

But that’s when Ringholz stepped up and talked some sense.

“The last several days I’ve been doing something I never thought I would do — defend St. Paul’s,” Ringholz said at the time. “I think it would hurt the league.”

The principals later reconsidered and nothing ever happened.

Ringholz is a quiet man who chooses his words wisely. And when he talks, people listen.

His words speak much louder than his numbers. He’s a hall of famer all the way.

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