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Friday, February 8, 2013

History Lesson: All 26 of Orrville's Final Four Appearances

I had the following list sent to me by Orrville AD Kent Smith.  It's a detailed list of every one of our 26 final four appearances by our sports teams.  I took some time to fill in details of each team's result at the final four (scores, who they beat or lost to, etc.) and added each team's coach as well.

The end result of this list is two-fold.  One is to compile this information for the sake of history...and two...I'm hearing the plan is to recognize every one of the 26 appearances with a banner on the wall of the new gym when it opens for business.  Each final four appearance would get it's own separate banner, resulting in a gym wall's worth of athletic achievement in our program since the baseball team notched the school's first final four in 1976.
First of all, what a great idea.  We talk a lot about our proud athletic tradition, and rightfully so, but it's a great reminder to see that "on paper."  We sometimes get called cocky and arrogant by other schools in the area when we discuss our athletic success, but I think we sometimes go out of our way to diminish our achievement rather than celebrate them.  Why relegate these achievements to the archives and dusty trophy cases?  They should be displayed for all to see....and doing this in a brand new gym is the perfect time to do so.

Other schools sure do it...loud and proud, and so should we.  I've seen BIG banners in other gyms for conference championships and AP Poll Rankings...big patches on their letter jackets for playoff appearances...not wins...appearances.  So why can't we be proud of our final fours and state titles just the same?  I know, I know...academics over athletics.  I agree 100%....but what's wrong with touting our achievements in both?

Below is the link to the list.  It will open in a new window.  Feel free to print and share.

To review...that's 9 football final four appearances, 7 basketball final fours (5 boys and 2 girls), 3 volleyball final fours, 1 baseball final four and the 6 times our boys and girls track team finished in the top 4 at the state track meet.  Show me another area school that has the depth and breadth of our achievements.  Anyone?  And that's not going back to the 40's and 50's either.  That's 26 final fours just since 1976.

This list DOES NOT include any of our individual state champs...of which there are 24 more.  So there are 50 combined individual state titles & team final fours. That's pretty impressive.

Secondly, I would have never guessed 26 as the number of total final four appearances.  Football and boys basketball make up 14 of the 26, but I still probably wouldn't have guessed more than 20.

Lastly, some good (and bad) memories come back when looking over this list.  Some great teams, coaches and wins...some heartbreaking losses too.  Try to look at this list and NOT play the "woulda, shoulda, coulda" game....I say it's impossible.

A couple of interesting notes from this list.
1.) Two people at OHS have played on a final four team and coached a team to a final four. Sly Slaughter is one, he played on the 1992 state champion basketball team and coached the 2009 basketball team to state runner up finish.  The other is Doug Davault....he played on the 1976 baseball team that finished state runner up and has also coached the 2010 football team to a final four.

2.) One of the most impressive runs on the list was the volleyball team's back to back final four runs in 2003 and 2004.  The '03 team won it all while the '04 team bowed out in the semifinals.  The combined record of those two teams was an unreal 55-3.

3.) Another great run was the football team's three straight final fours from 1983 to 1985.  Two of those resulted in runner up finishes.  Still would like to have a time machine and play the '84 and '85 games over again. Those three teams won a combined 32 games...which is tied for the most wins in a 3-year run.

3.) The 1999 state champion track team was simply dominant.  That team sent athletes to state in 12 different events.  I think there's only 16 events in a typical track meet. 

4.) Diane Shanklin is the only coach to take teams in two different sports to the final four, doing it in 1981 with the girls track team and then with the volleyball team in 2003 and 2004.

Enjoy looking over the list...I'll put a link to this list in the "Records & Champions" tab at the top of the page for easy reference.

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