Long-time coach receives Lifetime Achievement Award from Ohio High School Football Coaches Association
By STEVE RUMAN
Niles McKinley High coach Jim Parry was a bit puzzled Friday when Bill Bohren was a no-show for the Red Dragons’ weightlifting session.
“Bill is usually the first guy in the office, sitting there with his coffee while conjuring up some football strategy,” Parry said of his quarterbacks coach. “We joked that maybe it was too cold for him to be out, maybe he forgot it was Friday.”
As it turned out, Bohren was in Columbus being recognized by his peers for his decades-long commitment to high school football.
On Friday, Bohren was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Ohio High School Football Coaches Association.
Bohren is also a member of the OHSFCA Hall of Fame, an honor he received in 2007.
“Bill never told any of us he was being honored,” Parry said. “But, that’s Bill. He’s very humble, and he has never been about awards or recognition. For him, it’s all about teaching the game. He absolutely loves being a coach.”
Bohren and Parry first formed a coaching relationship in 1996 when Bohren took over the Niles program and hired Parry as an assistant. Parry later served under Bohren at LaBrae.
“When Bill first came to Niles as a head coach, he was already a legend,” Parry said. “Today, he still makes that same connection as he did back then. The kids and coaches love him, they have total respect for him and his football knowledge. And, he is the most optimistic coach I’ve ever met.”
“It’s hard to imagine what area high school football would have been like without Bill’s presence.”
Bohren’s recognition from the OHSFCA is the result of a successful coaching career which spans more than half-a-century. He began his career in 1965 at Ohio High School (Ohio, Il.) where he served as both the school’s football and basketball coach. His latest head coaching stint was at Southington, where he coached for two years before resigning at the end of the 2016 season. He joined the Niles staff last fall.
In all, Bohren has served as a head coach at 10 different schools. He owns a career record of 295-174-6.
“It’s like I told the people in Columbus on Friday, I’m getting an award for doing something that I absolutely love to do,” Bohren said of his latest recognition. “That’s what is great about coaching. I can’t imagine going to work on an assembly line every day for fifty years. But coaching , I enjoy it today as much as I did when I first started.”
“When you love something this much, it’s easy to put in the time and effort. It’s a labor of love.”
At Boardman, he went 59-26, including two straight Steel Valley Conference titles and a trip to the Division I state title game. He guided the Dragons to their first two playoff appearances.
Bohren left the Spartans program to return to his native Western Pennsylvania, coaching at Butler. He was there just one season before returning to Ohio.
“I was actually there for just nine months,” Bohren said. “It was such a short stay, I made it easy for the moving company. They came to pick up my belongings, and most of them were still boxed up from when I arrived.”
“I wanted to go back to coach where I grew up, but it was a mistake. I missed Ohio football. When I was at Boardman, I was coaching against Dick Angle, Phil Annarella, Dave Hartman and Don Bucci. You tell me it gets better than that?”
Bohren, now 84-years-old, also acknowledges he would like to get five more wins to reach the 300-win plateau.
“I would never rule out a return, I would jump at the chance to be a head coach again,” Bohren said. “I’ve looked into a couple of jobs, and I will continue to do so. I understand, I know that fifteen years ago these places where I’ve applied to would have called looking for me. But I do think I still have a lot to offer the game.”