OH lacrosse coach Tim Best received the 2017-18 Ohio Coach of the Year Award from the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS). Coach Best was nominated by the Ohio High School Athletic Association as the most deserving recipient for this honor. Our boys’ lacrosse team finished 17-3 and made it to the state finals in 2018.
“Coach Best is a fantastic leader and role model for our boys lacrosse team,” said Tamara Talmage, the district's athletic administrator. “He loves working with our athletes here at OH. I have enjoyed working with him and getting to know him and his sense of humor and wit. He is truly deserving of such a great honor.”
Junior/Senior High Principal Ben McMurray echoes Ms. Talmage’s sentiments.
“We are incredibly grateful for Coach Best’s leadership. He’s has taken our program to the next level. We have a great deal of respect for his integrity, character, and dedication.”
"Coach Best is a great mentor and role model for the lacrosse team. He has made us all better people, on and off the field," said senior lacrosse player Jake Sigler. "His coaching helped us achive the best record the team has ever had and reach the State Championship. We all thank Coach for the memories that we will have for the rest of our lives."
Profile of Coach Best
By KEVIN MERRILL
How does a lacrosse team in only its second year as a varsity sport produce a state runner-up finish?
Just ask its best-in-the-state coach.
Tim Best, who has coached the Ottawa Hills team for both years of its existence, has been honored with the sport’s “Coach of the Year” award. The recognition comes from the Ohio High School Athletic Association and qualifies him to be considered for the sport’s national “coach of the year” honors.
“It’s really a team award,” said Best, who also coaches the district’s junior varsity boys’ program. “Our program has great assistant coaches and great student leadership.”
Best never played lacrosse in high school or college, and became involved in the sport to coach his son. He formed a local team a decade ago with Ottawa Hills resident Andy Boesel, whose own son wanted to play the sport competitively.
That began a 13-year love of the sport for Best, who teaches English at Toledo Technology Academy within Toledo Public Schools. He has served as an assistant and coach at community, junior varsity, and varsity levels, including five years as head coach for St. Francis de sales’ junior varsity team.
Before 2016, Ottawa Hills fielded only a club sport at the varsity level in lacrosse. It was Boesel who called Best to say Ottawa Hills was looking for a coach. “It’s such a great community and the challenge was there,” Best said.
In its first year (2016-2017), the team was competitive, finishing 14-3 in the Toledo Area Athletic Conference. Heading into its second year, the team knew it had potential.
“We had some skill players, were deep in defense and were senior led,” said Best. Among those senior leaders were Peter Boice, Adam Simon, Will Tunis, Alex Saul, Joe Boesel, and Ethan Krupp. “It’s much easier to coach a team when your captains know how to play and how to lead.”
In addition, his assistant coaches Chris Pavain and Mason Becker were returning. But winning a state championship?
“During early-season condition, Coach Pavain looked up at the championship banners hanging in the gym and told the guys that there wasn’t one for lacrosse,” Best said. “Chris said, ‘I think you guys can go all the way.’ And that was start of us believing in our potential.”
A turning point in last year’s 20-2 season came when they lost to St. Francis de Sales, where Pavain once served as varsity coach. “There was something about that loss. It propelled us for the rest of the year,” Best said.
The team eventually reached the state Division II championship on June 2, 2018, losing 13-5 to Columbus DeSales.
The team’s 2019 season begins with mid-February practice; the season opens March 20. A highlight will be playing in Ann Arbor at the University of Michigan’s Lacrosse Stadium. The 2,000-seat venue opened last year; it is one of eight stadiums in the country with more than 1,000 seats serving only college lacrosse teams.