Mike Walsh resigns after 17 years with Elyria Pioneers

MORNING JOURNAL FILE PHOTO Mike Walsh turned in his resignation after coaching the Pioneers girls varsity head coach for 17 years. His career record is 272-157.

Elyria girls’ basketball is going to look a little different next season because for the first time in 17 years, coach Mike Walsh won’t be on the sidelines.

The longtime coach at Elyria resigned on Wednesday for personal reasons, but said he has not ruled out a return to coaching in some capacity, likely as an assistant. Walsh, who leaves with a career record of 272-157 in 17 seasons with the girls team and two with the boys team, said he plans on spending more time with his three children.

“I’ve been here 15 years and Mike Walsh is all I’ve known as the girls’ coach,” Elyria athletic director Heather Beck said. “It’s definitely going to be different watching someone else coach that team.”

Last season, Walsh led the Pioneers to a 16-9 record and a district finals appearance where they fell to Magnificat, 51-39. The Pioneers won 20 games in three of four years beginning in 2002, including a 22-2 season in 2005 where the team fell just shy of reaching the state tournament. Walsh feels he is leaving the program in great shape and that it will continue to be strong for a while.

Even though Beck believed Walsh might step away from the team at times in the past, she was still stunned to find out he had resigned his post.

“I think it was the shock of him actually handing in his letter saying, ‘I’m really doing it,’” she said. “Mike has been kind of the staple of the program for the last 17 years.”

Beck said the school will look both in-house as well as outside the district to find Walsh’s successor, but that she also wouldn’t be surprised if he does coach somewhere as an assistant coach much like his father and legendary coach Bob Walsh, who was the boys’ varsity coach at Elyria for three seasons before retiring in 2008. Bob Walsh was an assistant coach on his son’s staff.

“I don’t honestly see Mike completely giving up coaching,” Beck said. “That has been his life for so long. But I think he’s at the point now where he’s got three children and he was missing out on a lot of the things that they were doing because he’s the head coach, because of all the responsibilities.

“So I can see where it’s very possible that he might come back as an assistant whether it’s in Elyria somewhere, or in one of the neighboring districts. That way, he’ll still have some coaching responsibilities but not all the responsibilities as a head coach. Then he’ll be able to spend some time with his family.”



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Last Updated: 5/9/2013 11:15:29 PM EST

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