June 28, 2016

Intermittent clouds

Football: Mark Pinzone, staff hook up with Buckeye

YORK TWP. — Mark Pinzone passed the test and, as a result, the Buckeye football team selected the 15th head coach in school history Monday.

Pinzone is expected to be approved at the May 14 school board meeting.

“The first thing was it was absolutely a good fit for my family,” he said. “It was fantastic because it’s closer to my home in Strongsville. It was better for my wife (Tami), my son (Anthony, 6) and my daughter (Megan, 16).

“That’s the main reason. It’s a real nice fit. It’s also a good fit for my coaching staff. I am bringing my coaching staff with me and they live in the immediate area.”

Pinzone spent the past three seasons leading Holy Name. The 42-year-old inherited a 1-9 team, but led the Green Wave to the North Coast League White Division championship in just his second season.

The owner of Pinzone Financial Services and business teacher at Brunswick High is probably better known as a highly regarded assistant for the Blue Devils from 1995-2009. Brunswick qualified for the playoffs 12 times, was Division I runner-up in 1995 and reached the state semifinals in 2007.

Pinzone, a finalist for the Brunswick job before Luke Beal was hired prior to the 2010 season, beat out 30 other applicants, including previous interim coach Rich Schuler. The committee included a handful of players, parents and boys basketball coach Matt Saunders, who was the offensive coordinator last season.

Athletic director Glen Reisner had the committee rank the candidates, and everyone involved agreed Pinzone was the clear-cut choice.

“He put a good package together, especially in proving his knowledge of sports and how he attacks everything,” Reisner said. “He’s definitely a football guru.”

Pinzone’s assistants have impressive resumes. Two big names to Medina County fans are offensive coordinator Rich Nowak, the second-winningest coach in county history, and former Brunswick and Medina coach Tom Fasko, who will be a defensive assistant. They are the only coaches in county history to reach the state semifinals.

Former Blue Devils assistant Mark Weidus (defensive coordinator) and standouts Jamison Hultine (offensive line) and Brit Musal (receivers) are the others.

Pinzone plans on implementing Nowak’s spread offense that heavily involves the quarterback and slotbacks in the run game. Holy Name averaged 20.1, 36.6 and 26.7 points the last three seasons.

Buckeye, which has finished 3-7 each of the last three years, appears to have the personnel for the system, be it All-PAC defensive back Christian Petek or youngster Nathan Polidori at quarterback. Running backs Matt Hritz and Trevor Thome are also slated to return, as are All-PAC selections John Maslanka (OT/DT) and Ryan Grauel (K).

Pinzone, who went out of his way to thank everyone at Holy Name, plans on running a 3-5 defense and spending a significant amount of time with the youth and middle school programs.

“Basically, there are three things,” Pinzone said. “No. 1, get the best coaching staff you can possibly get. We’re well on our way. I’m very blessed to have a great coaching staff.

“Step two, get the net out in the hallways and get every possible athlete in all grade levels to come out and play football. That’s going to take an effort from everybody, be it speaking with kids, calling kids or going to their homes.

“Step three, get everybody involved. They have to buy in. They have to buy into our program and system. I think I have a system that is a great system that will work. If they buy in, we’re going to have a great experience at Buckeye.”

Contact Albert Grindle at (330) 721-4043 or agrindle@medina-gazette.com.

Albert Grindle About Albert Grindle

Albert Grindle is a sportswriter for the Gazette. He can be reached at 330-721-4043 or agrindle@medina-gazette.com.