Canfield mentor won
318 games in 19 seasons
By Brandon Judeh
When Canfield girls basketball coach Pat Pavlansky walked off the court at Walsh University this past Friday after the Cardinals’ loss in a Division I district title game to North Canton Hoover, he was his normal self.
The coach, who was ending his 19th season at the helm in Canfield, was gracious as always, shaking hands with the opponent and making sure to stop and talk to many of the Canfield faithful.
Little did some of them know that this would be his final time walking off of the basketball court.
The 50–year-old has decided to retire after 318 wins at Canfield (354 overall) and eight conference titles.
“There’s no doubt I will miss all of the girls and it’s tough to step away from coaching such a great program like Canfield’s, but I’m at that point of my life where I want to spend more time with my family,” Pavlansky said. “My oldest daughter will soon be having a child so I want to spend time with my grandchild.
“Canfield definitely made my coaching career special. The players, students, administration, parents and so on were always very supportive of me and bought into our system.”
Pavlansky helped turn Canfield into one of the region’s most consistent basketball programs over his 19 seasons as head coach, with eight district final appearances and five regional berths.
Pavlansky also coached the Cardinals to a regional championship and Division II state finals berth in 2001.
Pavlansky also coached track and won 10 conference titles and sent many players to the state meet during his 13 seasons as Canfield’s girls tennis coach.
“I have a lot of great memories here — last year’s regional runner-up team and the 2001 state runner-up team stand out,” he said. “But overall I will always remember how every single one of the girls I coached always believed in themselves and our coaching staff. They always believed they could win.”
Anyone involved in or around the program knows it will be strange not seeing the 15-time sectional champion roam the sidelines next season.
Just ask anyone currently on the team.
Junior Rachel Tinkey, a three-year starter, says her senior year won’t be the same without Pavlansky and that she will miss the bond he shared with all of his players.
“Mr. Pavlansky is a great guy, not just a great coach,” she said. “I have always enjoyed having him as both a teacher and a coach. It will definitely be strange next season looking over at the sideline and not seeing him.”
Athletic director Greg Cooper agrees that Pavlansky’s impact on the program will be long-lasting.
“Pat has had such a significant impact on Canfield, not just in coaching, but as a teacher,” Cooper said. “He’s impacted hundreds of athletes and countless students and was always very devoted. He will be missed.”
Though he is retiring from the sports world, Pavlansky says he still plans to continue teaching for the foreseeable future.
But as Pavlansky walks off into the sunset one question remains:
Will he ever coach again?
“Not right now, but I still love coaching and down the road if someone needed help and asked me I would consider it,” he said. “Whatever happens, happens.”