One of northwest Ohio’s most accomplished athletic directors will be stepping down, as Central Catholic’s Bill Axe will retire at the end of the current school year.
Axe, 62, has served as Fighting Irish AD for 29 years, having taken the post in January of 1985. Hired as an English and journalism teacher and boys basketball coach in 1978, he is in his 36th year overall at the school.
“I’ve had 36 years at Central and 41 years overall in school systems,” Axe said. “I want to go do something else while I’m young enough. I have some things in mind, but nothing that’s come to fruition yet.”
During Axe’s time as AD the Irish have won two state championships in football (2005 and 2012), one in volleyball (2007), one in boys track and field (1997), and made four state final four appearances in girls basketball and one in boys basketball.
His tenure has included the construction of some of Ohio’s best high school athletic facilities, with the Sullivan Center gymnasium, Gallagher Stadium for football, soccer, and track, and the Mercy Field baseball complex off campus in South Toledo.
Most important to Axe is something he believes the school now possesses.
“It is not like me to single out individual coaches from 25-plus years of administering,” Axe said, “but it is accurate to say that, from top to bottom, this coaching staff is the most outstanding, mixing in veterans with younger coaches, male and female, fundamentalists and motivators.
“We were able to do those things [building athletic facilities] because there were people who cared and were in the right place at the right time.”
A 1969 graduate of St. Marys Memorial High School, Axe earned a bachelor’s degree from Ohio University in 1973, a master’s degree from Wright State University in 1977, and a specialist’s degree from the University of Toledo in 1999.
Prior to arriving at Central, Axe coached and taught at Minster (1974-77) and Genoa (1977-78).
Axe’s athletic administration career reached beyond his duties at Central. He has been a Class AAA representative for the Northwest Ohio District Athletic Board, served two terms on the Ohio High School Athletic Association’s board of control, and is a past president of the Ohio Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association.
Sigler Court at Northview
Northview honored the most successful coach in its history at last Friday’s home basketball game against Napoleon.
The school held a dedication ceremony, officially naming the gymnasium floor as Jerry Sigler Court.
“I was somewhat speechless, which is a rarity for me,” said Sigler, the former girls basketball coach. “It was like I couldn’t believe it was really happening. They were reading off the things that I had done there, and it seems like those 38 years came and went so quickly now that I’m out.
“It was a breathtaking experience standing there and seeing your name on the floor like that.”
Sigler received a commemorative plaque.
“It’s very humbling,” Sigler said. “I never would’ve thought, when I first started out 38 years ago, that something like this would happen. I’m so appreciative that they thought my years there and my body of work were somewhat well done.”
In his 37 seasons, Sigler posted a 675-177 overall record. He ranks third all-time among Ohio girls coaches in career wins.
Sigler’s teams won nine Great Lakes League and nine Northern Lakes League championships, seven district titles, and made state semifinal appearances in 1978, 2004, and 2005. Three of his teams finished the regular season with undefeated records (1978-79, 1997-98, and 2003-04).
His individual accolades include being named league coach of the year 16 times, district coach of the year three times, and state coach of the year twice.
With his final team advancing to the Division I district final last year to finish 12-11, all 37 of Sigler’s teams had winning records. It was the 16th time under Sigler that the Wildcats reached a district championship.
“A big thanks to Sylvania Schools for all the years they let me coach there,” Sigler said, “and to all the tremendous players and coaches and supportive parents I’ve worked with.”
McGill wins national honor
Ottawa Hills boys golf coach Jim McGill, 60, has been selected as the National Federation of State High School Associations national boys golf coach of the year.
“It’s pretty cool,” said McGill, 60. “I’ve been coaching the same way for many years, and I have been fortunate to have kids who are very talented and have an appreciation for hard work.
“Honestly, I was very surprised. I knew I was nominated, but I hadn’t heard anything for a couple months.”
In the NFHS letter announcing McGill’s honor, the criteria for selection included career coaching record, community service, involvement with other school activities, involvement in the coaching profession at the local, state, and national levels, and the coach’s basic philosophy of athletics.
The 22-year golf coach, who had previously been the school’s boys basketball coach, has guided the team to the state golf tournament 10 times.
His latest team won the Division III state championship, led by senior Ben Silverman, who will play at Duke.
“Over the years we’ve established the idea that, to be successful, you don’t just do it during the season,” McGill said. “These kids work in the spring, summer, and fall, playing in a whole variety of tournaments to improve themselves.
“At Ottawa Hills golf is an important sport, and over the years that has led to a lot of talent. Golf became a passion to me, and I was very fortunate to be able to coach it so long. We’re just a little Division III school competing against all the Division I schools and, over the years, we’ve more than held our own.”
The Green Bears finished fourth in the state team standings in 2012 and were state runners-up in 2010. In previous seasons, McGill had guided Ottawa Hills to a third-place finish at state, two fifth-place finishes, and one seventh-place standing.
The Green Bears have won 10 Toledo Area Athletic Conference titles during his tenure, and he has been selected as TAAC coach of the year seven years running.
This season he was also chosen as northwest district coach of the year, and the Ohio High School Golf Coaches Association’s state coach of the year.
Maumee Bay Classic set
The biggest regular-season wrestling tournament in northwest Ohio is on tap as the fourth annual Mike Casey Memorial-Maumee Bay Classic is set for Friday and Saturday at Clay.
The host Eagles, who have won the first three titles, bid to add another in a 36-team field.
Other local teams competing include Anthony Wayne, Bowling Green, Cardinal Stritch, Delta, Findlay, Fremont Ross, Liberty Center, Maumee, Northview, Northwood, Oak Harbor, Perrysburg, Southview, Springfield, Wauseon, and Whitmer.
Rounding out the field from around the state are Amherst Steele, Avon Lake, Defiance, Grove City, Grove City Central Crossing, Indian Lake, Johnstown Northridge, Lima Bath, Lima Shawnee, Lorain, Lyndhurst Brush, Mansfield Madison, Massillon Washington, Mayfield, Mount Vernon, Perry, Sandusky, Tiffin Columbian, and Versailles.
First-round matches begin at 11 a.m. Friday, with the first day of competition ending around 8 p.m. with the completion of the quarterfinal round.
It resumes with a 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. session Saturday, and finals are scheduled for 6 p.m. Saturday.