July 24, 2016

Partly cloudy

Boys soccer: Medina brings back Simon Spelling to coach

MEDINA — Medina athletic director Jeff Harrison didn’t look far to find a new boys soccer coach.

Harrison selected former Bees coach and current high school social studies teacher Simon Spelling to take over the program this fall.

The school announced the move Thursday, pending board approval.

Spelling takes over for Mark Malikowski, replaced Spelling 11 seasons ago and stepped down in January to spend more time with his family.

“We are extremely fortunate to have someone of Simon’s coaching ability and background within our district,” Harrison said in a press release. “I look forward to watching him develop our young men both on and off the field of play.”

Phone calls to Spelling we not immediately returned.

Spelling led the Bees from 1997-2002. He guided the school to its first regional final appearance in ’99 and won another district title in ’02.

Since that time, Medina has been to three regional finals and has established itself as one of the top teams in the area.

That’s something that Spelling is ready to continue. It starts with the coach’s passion for the sport.

Spelling, who teaches World History and AP Government, played defender for the University of the Akron from 1980-83. He earned All-America honors in ’82 and ’83 and was inducted into the Division I school’s hall of fame recently.

Spelling followed by serving as the Zips’ assistant coach from 1985-90 to start his coaching career.

Spelling, who also had coaching stints over the past decade at Strongsville and Highland as well leading various local club programs, will take over a Medina program that went 11-2-8 a year ago and advanced to the D-I regional finals before falling 1-0 to Anthony Wayne.

The team returns young talent ready to replace a star-studded senior class that included Gazette MVP Dean McNeil and All-Gazette selection Noah Hastings.

“Soccer has and always will be my passion,” said Spelling, who was Gazette Coach of the Year in 1999 and 2002. “I attempt to share this passion with my players and try to have them make soccer a lifelong experience as a player, as a coach, and as a fan.

“All players have potential and it is my responsibility to create an environment where players can realize that potential in a safe but challenging atmosphere.”

Contact Dan Brown at sports@medina-gazette.com.