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Persin to receive Paul Walker Award

CHESAPEAKE – Norm Persin has received plenty of awards for what he’s done on the basketball floor as a coach.

Sunday, March 17, 2002

CHESAPEAKE – Norm Persin has received plenty of awards for what he’s done on the basketball floor as a coach. Now he’s getting an honor for what he’s accomplished off the court.

Persin will receive the Paul Walker Award during ceremonies at the Division IV state championship game scheduled for 2 p.m. Saturday, March 30, at the Ohio State University Schottenstein Center.

The Paul Walker Award, named for the legendary Middletown High School basketball coach who has a state record 695 wins, is presented annually by the Ohio High School Basketball Coaches Association to an active member who has made significant contributions to high school basketball.

"I was kind of shocked. You never think about something like that, especially after all the state championship games (Walker) won,the 80 some-straight games without a loss, and coaching players like Jerry Lucas," Persin said. "You never think something like that is going to come about for you."

Persin is 425-127 in 25 seasons and 301-63 in 17 years at Chesapeake. His teams have won 12 Ohio Valley Conference titles including the past seven years, he coached the Panthers records in 1992 and 1993 while winning back-to-back Associated Press poll championships.

He has coached the Panthers to six regionals and has had 11 teams finish in the top 10 of the final AP polls.

He was elected the OHSBCA Division III Coach of the Year in 1989, ’92, and ’97. He has been the AP Southeast District Coach of the Year five times and the District 13 Coach of the Year nine times.

But all those numbers are only part of the the reason Persin will be presented the Walker Award. The criteria for the award goes beyond wins and losses and other accomplishments. Coaches are honored because of their work beyond the court.

Persin has been the District 13 Coaches Association president the past 13 years. He has not only coached in the North/South All-Star Game, the Wendy’s Classic, the Ohio-Kentucky All-Star Classic, and the Ohio-West Virginia All-Star Series, but he has been the coordinator for both the Ohio-Kentucky and Ohio-West Virginia all-star games, helping to organized the games, select players, and serve as site manager.

"All-Star games are something no one wants to do. It’s time consuming. You hear complaints from everyone, and you’re not getting anything for doing it. You just have to have a love for the game," Persin said.

Winning the Paul Walker Award has helped make Persin’s extra work worth the time.

"It’s almost more prestigious than being in the Hall of Fame. You have to be an active coach to do it. And it’s not just about wins and losses. Carroll Hawhee was the first or second person to win it and coach Charles McAfee from Athens won it," said Persin.

The past fall, Persin was inducted into the Ohio Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association Hall of Fame.

A graduate of Warren Harding High School and the University of Rio Grande, Persin lettered in basketball and baseball. He also coached basketball and baseball at Rio Grande and guided the team to a league championship in baseball.

He served as an assistant football and basketball coach at Gallipolis before serving six seasons as head coach at Oak Hill and two more seasons at Wilmington before taking his current position at Chesapeake.

Persin is the son of the late Jack and Elizabeth Persin. He is married to the former Rita Garland, and the couple have a daughter, Haley, teaching in the Norwalk City Schools, and a son, Jimmy Dan, a senior at Oak Hill High School.