AP names Zornes coach of the year

Published 12:00 am Thursday, March 17, 2005

If Billy Crystal was doing his impression of Fernando Llamas, he would probably tell Ironton head coach Roger Zornes, "You look marvelous."

Zornes was "lookin' marvelous" Tuesday after being named the Associated Press Division III Co-Coach of the Year along with Ray Miller of West Jefferson and Mike Fuline of Rootstown.

Regardless of how good of an award, Zornes said it wouldn't have been possible without his players and assistant coaches Greg Arden, Mark LaFon, Bart Burcham and Frank Lee.

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"My assistant coaches help me, and without those kids, I wouldn't have this honor. They can make you look good or bad, and they've made me look pretty good," coach Zornes said.

Zornes is 65-8 in three seasons at Ironton after winning 447 games in 20 seasons at Boyd County, Ky., High School. He guided Ironton to a 20-0 record this season, the school's first-ever unbeaten regular season.

Ironton is currently 25-0 and reached the state tournament for only the second time in school history. Zornes, a member of the Kentucky High School Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame, has won 512 games in his career and his teams have qualified eight times for the state tournament.

"It's a great honor, an individual honor, but I look at it as a program thing. I have good coaches and kids working hard for me and have bought into the program and it helps me get a little recognition, too. The main thing is I'm here for the kids. The biggest thing that helped me is the kids have bought into my program," coach Zornes said.

Making the award extra special is having his youngest son, Joe, a senior, named to the All-Ohio honorable mention list. Ironton guards Brigham Waginger and Dennis Gagai were selected All-Ohio special mention.

"To have three kids on the All-Ohio team is an honor," coach Zornes said. "But the awards really don't mean that much to our kids. They're more about winning a championship. That's been their goal from day one."

Ironton plays Archbold at 2 p.m. Friday in the state semifinals at the Ohio State University Schottenstein Center. The championship game is 5:15 p.m. Saturday.