When Avon Lake’s Dave Zvara got into coaching over 40 years ago, he wasn’t thinking about personal awards or accolades.
Now he has no choice. On Wednesday, Zvara was named the Division I Coach of the Year by the Ohio Prep Sportswriters Association in conjunction with the Ohio High School Athletic Association.
The award comes on the heels of the Shoregals winning their first district championship since 2001 and finishing the season with a 22-4 record.
“It was a special team, special kids and a special group of parents that made this all possible,” Zvara said. “In fact, my wife and I were just talking about what a special season this was. It’s one we’re always going to remember with the games we won and the memories we made. Thanks to the girls for the award I won, because I couldn’t have done it without them.”
Zvara was able to share the season with his friend and longtime assistant coach Terry Burke, who retired at the end of the year after over two decades of involvement with Avon Lake basketball.
“The beginning of the season we thought we’d have a chance to be competitive and go for the Southwestern Conference,” Zvara said. “As the season went on we just kept getting better and better and expectations got a little higher. The kids started believing in themselves.”
When asked how it felt after finding out he won the award, Zvara had a hard time putting the words together.
“It was exciting. Wow. It was unbelievable. All of the above really,” he said. “I never saw this coming with all the great Division I coaches and teams out there.”
Zvara is one of the most highly respected coaches in Lorain County, if not in all of Northeast Ohio.
Amherst girls coach Jay Valadez told the Chronicle-Telegram in a 2018 interview that having Zvara as an assistant coach when he played at Amherst in the late 80s sparked his passion to one day be a coach himself.
One on the things Zvara will most remember about the 2019 season was the outpouring of support and congratulation he received as the Shoregals advanced through the postseason.
“I want to thank everyone in Lorain County. The coaches, media, former players, even referees, everyone that reached out to me,” Zvara said. “I got so many phone calls and texts in there that I couldn’t even keep up with them.”
Zvara just finished his eighth year at Avon Lake. Prior to that, he spent nine years (1991-99) as the boys coach at Amherst and two years as the coach at Lorain County Community College — in addition to assistant coaching stints at Amherst and Elyria.
His first job came in 1973 when he coached CYO at St. Joseph in Amherst and St. Peter in Lorain.
“As coaches you put in a lot of work and effort. To get something like this really makes it rewarding Zvara said. “We’re not doing it for the big contract like the baseball players out there. You get into coaching for seasons like this.”
Amherst senior Kamryn Dziak was special mention in Division I while Clearview sophomore Brooke Rebman was an honorable-mention selection in Division II.
PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Kierstan Bell, Canton McKinley
COACH OF THE YEAR: Dave Zvara, Avon Lake
Jacy Sheldon, Dublin Coffman, 5-foot-11, sr., 28.3 points per game; Madison Greene, Pickerington Central, 5-7, sr., 16.0; Constance Chaplin, Euclid, 5-9, sr., 29.0; Kierstan Bell, Canton McKinley, 6-1, sr., 28.8; Sammie Puisis, Mason, sr., 6-1, 17.5; Shyanne Sellers, Aurora, 6-1, soph., 21.0; Jala Johnson, Toledo Notre Dame, 5-8, sr., 16.2; Destiny Leo, Eastlake North, 5-10, jr., 29.4; Destiny Bohanon, Huber Heights Wayne, 5-9, sr., 15.1; Gabbie Marshall, Cincinnati Mount Notre Dame, 5-9, sr., 13.7.
Katie Shumate, Newark, 5-11, sr., 14.1; Mya Jackson, Wilmington, 5-7, sr., 25.0; Annie Roshak, North Canton Hoover, 6-1, sr., 22.0; Maliya Perry, Pickerington Central, 5-11, sr., 15.0; Lonasia Brewer, Akron Hoban, 5-11, sr., 14.3; Clare Kelly, Olmsted Falls, 5-8, sr., 18.5; Macy Spielman, Upper Arlington, 5-10, sr., 20.8; Lauren Perry, Sylvania Southview, 5-6, jr., 13.1; Grace VanSlooten, Toledo Notre Dame, 6-2, fr., 12.2; Uju Ezeudu, Reynoldsburg, 6-0, sr., 19.5.
Hailey Weaver, Solon, 5-11, soph., 15.0; Anyssa Jones, Westerville South, 5-11, jr., 15.8; Annie Rauch, Hilliard Darby, 6-3, sr., 17.0; Chance Gray, Lakota West, 5-9, fr., 14.8; Hayley Sims, Cleveland Heights,
5-7, jr., 17.0; Hayley Smith, Canton GlenOak, 6-1, jr., 12.0; Corinne Thomas, New Carlisle Tecumseh, 5-9, sr., 22.0; Emily Andrassy, Stow-Munroe Falls, 5-7, sr., 14.1; Audrey Spiker, Dresden Tri-Valley, 5-8, jr., 14.0; Sommer Pitzer, Westerville South, 5-3, sr., 12.3; Destiny McDonald, Lima Senior, 5-5, sr., 15.7.
Morgan Sharps, Newark; Alexandra Hamilton, Columbus Northland; Molly Neitzel, Cleveland St. Joseph; Kamryn Dziak, Amherst; Rylee Pireu, Massillon Perry; Sabria Hunter, Austintown Fitch; Stephanie Smith, Wooster; Angela Fink, Brunswick; Amy Velasco, Centerville; Alyssa Steury, Ashland.
Alexis Reese, Euclid; Kaitlyn Kinczel, Mayfield Village Mayfield; Reagan Bass, Strongsville; Alexandria Hunter, Bedford; Amaya Staton, Amherst; Laurene Tere, Cleveland John Hay; Abby Carter, Eastlake North; Kamarah Bender, Warren Harding; Alana Ellis, Twinsburg; Lizzy Stefanov, Stow-Munroe Falls; Chelsea Huffman, Cuyahoga Falls; Nakyah Terrell, Canton McKinley; Jade Abdulla, Canton GlenOak; Emma Dretke, Massillon Jackson; Peyton Davis, North Canton Hoover; Serena Sammarone, Canfield; Raegan Burkey, Youngstown Boardman; Hannah Kroft, Marietta; Kyndal Howe, Dresden Tri-Valley; Lauren King, Dresden Tri-Valley; Breanne Beatty, Worthington Thomas Worthington; Annie Rauch, Hilliard Darby; Imarinah Russell, Dublin Coffman; Reagan Willingham, Ashville Teays Valley; KK Bransford, Cincinnati Mount Notre Dame; Sean Kelly Darks, Cincinnati Walnut Hills; Lexi Fleming, Cincinnati Mercy McAuley; Jillian Hayes, Loveland; Mickayla Perdue, Springfield; CiCi Riggins, Hamilton; Madeline Westbeld, Kettering Fairmont; Katie Thomas, Findlay; Abby Hickey, Toledo Whitmer; Kacee Baumhower, Sylvania Northview; Kylie Griggs, Perrysburg; Halle Barnett, Sylvania Southview; Keyaira Burroughs, Toledo Start.
PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Zia Cooke, Toledo Rogers.
COACH OF THE YEAR: Kevin Cornell, New Philadelphia
Annika Corcoran, Gates Mills Gilmour Academy, 5-foot-8, sr., 17.9 points per game; Dayshanette Harris, Youngstown Ursuline, 5-7, sr., 28.3; Mikala Morris, Springfield Kenton Ridge, 6-2, sr., 27.0; Zia Cooke, Toledo Rogers, 5-9, sr., 22.5; Hannah Haithcock, Washington Court House Washington, 6-0, sr., 17.0; Layne Ferrell, Franklin, 6-1, sr., 20.8; Casey Santoro, Bellevue, 5-4, jr., 21.9; Madison Royal-Davis, Toledo Rogers, 5-10, 17.9; Samaria Rodgers-Gossett, Columbus Eastmoor, 5-6, sr., 14.0; Maddie Antenucci, Cincinnati Indian Hill, 5-10, jr., 19.3.
Cassidy Crawford, Willard, 5-10 Jr., 20.2; Aaliyah Currence, New Philadelphia, 5-10, sr., 15.0; Elisabeth Bush, Dayton Carroll, 5-8, sr., 13.5; Maddie Edgerly, Bay, 5-9, sr., 15.0; Morgan Bentley, McArthur Vinton County, 5-10, soph., 17.1; Emma Broermann, Hamilton Badin, 6-2, sr., 17.0; Kendyl Mick, Thornville Sheridan, 5-9, jr., 9.3; Bryana Housley, Norton, 5-3, sr., 9.4; Carlisa Strickland, Columbus Independence, 5-6, sr., 21.1; Bailee Smith, Zanesville Maysville, 5-6, soph., 17.3.
Chloe Davis, Carroll Bloom-Carroll, 6-2, sr., 16.2; Jenna Riccardo, Lisbon Beaver, 6-0, jr., 23.0; Taylor Rinn, Richfield Revere, 5-9, sr., 18.0; Carly Perusek, Cleveland Heights Beaumont, 5-8, jr., 15.5; Kaydan Lawson, Pepper Pike Orange, 5-11, jr., 16.2; Makayla Abram, Steubenville, 5-10, soph., 16.4; Rachel Bolyard, Streetsboro, 5-5, sr., 21.2; Kenzie McConnell, Circleville, 6-0, soph., 16.4; Madyson Hacking, Perry, 5-4, soph., 15.3.
Lauren Hapgood, Dayton Oakwood; Shae Pedroza, Napoleon; Javaan Rogers, Akron Buchtel; Megan Mitchell, Canton South; Sydney Bourquin, Jonathan Alder; Taylor Thierry, Shaker Heights Laurel; Bella Dalessandro, Chagrin Falls; Samantha Blair, Dover; Jessica Hartsock, Warsaw River View; Taylor Jones, Wintersville Indian Creek; Lanae Riley, Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary; Sarah Bury, Poland Seminary; Alex Ochman, Warren Howland; Caitlyn DeMassimo, Creston Norwayne; Shay McDonald, Washington Court House Miami Trace; Jocie Fisher, Chillicothe Unioto; Kassidy Betzing, Pomeroy Meigs; Kylee Sheppard, St. Bernard Roger Bacon; Emma Randall, Shelby; Chandler Clark, Lima Bath.
Casey Smith, Pepper Pike Orange; Giuliana Marinozzi, Shaker Heights; Lydia Gattozzi, Cleveland Heights Beaumont; Jordan Vencill; Brooke Rebman, Clearview; Jaida Malone, Cleveland East Tech; Emma Liberatore, Chardon Notre Dame-Cathedral Latin; Shaye Foutty, Canal Fulton Northwest; Lauren Calhoun, Ravenna; Grace Hete, Richfield Revere; Maria Dobson, Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary; Kelsey Hosey, Norton; Maria Sziva, Mogadore Field; Peyton Alazaus, Beloit West Branch; Trinity McDowell, Struthers; Conchetta Rinaldi, Youngstown Cardinal Mooney; Kayla Clark, Warren Howland; Shayna Hoop, Circleville; Rayana Burns, Wash. C.H. Washington; Hannah Burnside, Lancaster Fairfield Union; Abby Hatter, Circleville Logan Elm; Laura Manderick, Athens; Zoiee Smith, Waverly; Kayla Burchett, Greenfield McClain; Rachel Cooke, Thornville Sheridan; Josie Ousley, McArthur Vinton County; Kylie Kiger, Wintersville Indian Creek; Josie Pry, New Philadelphia; Addie Rhodes, Minerva; Katie Strama, St. Clairsville; Madison Fields, Steubenville; Macie Jarrett, Zanesville Maysville; Bethany Colling, Duncan Falls Philo; Erin Boehm, Sunbury Big Walnut; Hannah Cowan, Delaware Buckeye Valley; Madison Linn, Hebron Lakewood; Malorie Colwell, London; Kadai Green-Tucker, Columbus South; Abby Jones, Plain City Jonathan Alder; Hailey Jordan, Columbus Eastmoor Academy; Jessica Nation, Olentangy Berlin; Cate Schieber, Granville; Maddy Vincent, Columbus Bexley; Emily Byrne, Cincinnati McNicholas; Clarissa Craig, St Bernard Roger Bacon; Paige Garr, Goshen; Sha’mya Leigh, Trotwood-Madison; Ashleigh Mader, Tipp City Tippecanoe; Chloe Smith, Germantown Valley View; Sky Thomas, Cin. Wyoming;Olivia Howard, Sandusky Perkins; Cory Santoro, Bellevue; Kaia Woods, Tiffin Columbian; Bailey Walter, Shelby; Kennedy Lamberson, Bryan; Lexi Robinson, Millbury Lake.
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