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Von Sossan hangs up the whistle PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, April 11, 2013 12:07 PM

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FORT JENNINGS — John Von Sossan has coached a lot of years in various positions in the Fort Jennings boys basketball program, being the head coach from 1986 to 2013.

He decided that the 2012-13 season was his last.

“It was no specific reason. It was just a bunch of things that added up,” the 52-year veteran of the sidelines noted. “I’ve been talking about it for the last 3-4 years. I talked to the superintendent and he more or less told me it was up to me if I wanted to come back. I still enjoy the practices — when I take that left into the parking lot every day, I never regret it — the game situations and especially the kids. That’s what it’s all about; it was never about me or the time I put in. I always tried to focus on us as a team; I tried to take the ‘I’ out of the game. I think we need more of that in our society these days.”

Von Sossan won with a simple game plan.

“I tried to make it fun for the kids and play the style they most liked,” he explained. “I never really had a goal every season of winning a State title but we won a lot of games, especially from 1998-2008; we were in the regional four times and won State in that span.

“It’s all about the kids; you could tell the ones that really put a lot of time in the game, the gym rats. You need those kinds of kids to have success, especially considering how small we are. Everybody goes through ups and downs and that is more true for smaller schools. Having those kinds of kids is getting harder each year because they have so much going on.”

Von Sossan will stay busy in his “retirement.”

“I have plenty to do in my business and I wouldn’t be surprised if I end up still helping out in basketball — if they ask me; I’m not one to sit around in the rocking chair and watch life go by. Some maybe even think I should have done this 50-plus years ago!” he quipped.

Athletic Director Todd Hoehn worked closely with the coach for a number of seasons.

“He told me Monday that he was retiring. Obviously, he will be tough to replace; that is true of anyone who has been here for 52 years,” Hoehn said. “He coached in the system all those years, even before becoming head coach. He’s coached more years than I’ve been alive. He was available to the kids all year long and did so much for this program on and off the court and throughout the community. It’s difficult to find people like that, that have been so heavily involved for so long.

“When you consider what he has accomplished over his amazing career, I think you can put him in the same sentence as (the late St. John’s boys basketball coach) Bob Arnzen, (Kalida coach) Dick Kortorkax, Joe Petrocelli and the like, guys that had a lot of success over a lot of years.”

Hoehn spoke about the reasons why the coach decided the time was right.

“It was just time. There was no specific reason he told me other than he wanted to keep the program in good standing; that’s obvious because he took a lot of pride in this program,” Hoehn continued. “He’s had so much success, including a State title. When you consider we are the sixth-smallest public school in the state of Ohio, that is an amazing accomplishment; to have that kind of success shows he must have done a lot of things right.”

The process to replace the legendary coach has already been completed.

“We do have his replacement already but we won’t release the name until the Board of Education formally approves it at their next meeting Wednesday,” Hoehn added. “I hope John enjoys his retirement with his family and friends; he has earned it. I am confident he’ll remain as supportive in retirement as he was in action.”

 

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