Central Catholic's Steve Pfahler, the longest tenured and most successful girls basketball head coach in City League history, announced his retirement from coaching Thursday.
Pfahler, who posted a 377-96 career record in 21 seasons leading the Fighting Irish, said new professional pursuits will require a greater time commitment that would preclude him from continuing as head coach.
"I will always cherish my time at Central Catholic," said Pfahler, who is a graduate of the school. "I sincerely appreciate the support of the administration, my staff, and especially the players and fans. I am looking forward to new challenges that are before me, but I will always hold close to my heart the Central Catholic community."
After two seasons as an Irish assistant coach, Pfahler became head coach to begin the 1990-91 season. His teams won 12 City League championships, including eight straight (1997-2004) at one point, and also captured eight district titles. Four of his teams advanced to the state semifinals in Columbus.
During Pfahler's run as head coach, Central became so dominant in the league that at one stretch the Irish reeled off 84 consecutive wins between 1996 and 2004 in combined CL regular-season and playoff games. Central also had a 90-game CL winning streak not including playoff games.
This period of excellence for Pfahler and his Central program is generally credited locally for elevating the competitive level of girls basketball overall at other programs in the City League. This led to improved statewide status and talent level, first at Bowsher, and more recently at Waite and Start high schools.
Central made its fourth Division I state semifinal appearance under Pfahler in 2008, Start reached the D-I state final in 2009, and Waite got to the 2010 D-I championship game.
"Coach Pfahler was responsible for bringing our girls program to a level of statewide recognition," Central athletic director Bill Axe said. "His goals were high from the moment he stepped aboard, and he never wavered in attempting to get our young ladies to excel.
"Steve raised the bar for girls basketball success, not only at Central Catholic, but also in the City League."
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