THE BLADE/LORI KING
Von Graffin, the most successful coach in the history of the Bowling Green High School boys basketball program, did not have his contract renewed on Monday.
Graffin coached the Bobcats for 11 seasons and led them to a 148-94 record, the most wins in the program’s history.
Graffin, who was coaching under a supplemental, one-year renewable contract, said he was asked to step down.
“I was asked to resign, and I refused because I will not give up on these kids,” he said.
Graffin said he was not given a specific reason for the nonrenewal.
“The general statement was that maybe some people in the community would be happy,” Graffin said.
Bowling Green City Schools superintendent Ann McVey said the nonrenewal was an administrative and school board decision.
“We viewed this upcoming year as a rebuilding year, and we decided it was time for a fresh start,” McVey said.
McVey, who has been the district’s superintendent for three years and with the district since 1980, said all of the district’s coaches are under one-year, supplemental contracts. She said the renewal or nonrenewal of those contracts do not require a vote by the school board.
“I don’t go through every [contract],” McVey said. “This was an administrative discussion and decision. We are looking at a fresh start with our new football coach [Scott Seeliger] as well.”
Last year the Bobcats went 14-11, finished second in the league, and won a sectional title. Bowling Green graduated six seniors from that team, but Graffin said he had been working with his players this summer.
“I had confidence we could rebuild and win,” he said. “I was excited about the challenge.”
Graffin served as an assistant boys basketball coach for three seasons before taking over the program.
Bowling Green posted an 111-43 record in the Northern Lakes League under Graffin. The Bobcats won an NLL title in 2002-03, the program’s first league championship since 1968. Bowling Green went 14-0 in 2010-11 to win the NLL again.
Graffin said some disgruntled parents of players may have been “vocal.”
“I think there is some behind-the-scenes stuff,” Graffin said. “The kids that wouldn’t come to practice, they didn’t make it. The young men that learned to work hard made it, and they loved it.”
McVey said the decision was not based on any input from players’ parents.
“There is no way any coach is going to make everyone happy,” she said. “It’s not about that. It’s just good timing for a fresh start.
“Von Graffin has done a lot of really nice things for Bowling Green basketball over the years, and we appreciate that.”
Graffin has been a teacher in the Toledo Public Schools system for 28 years. He also was an assistant coach at Macomber and Rossford.
In his 11 seasons, BG finished first or second in the NLL seven times and never finished below fourth.
Graffin was named The Blade’s coach of the year in 2003.
Graffin said he took pride in putting together a tough nonleague schedule. He also said his team was the second smallest in the NLL.
“There are 49 boys basketball records at BG, and 24 came from players of mine,” Graffin said. “I’ve had a first-team all-stater two of the last three years, and I’ve had the player of the year in the state of Ohio [Vitto Brown this season].”
Graffin said he hopes to continue coaching as an assistant at another area program.
“I enjoyed being an assistant coach,” he said. “It’s about developing men and getting them better.”
Contact Mark Monroe at:
419-724-6354, or on