Reitz enjoys paying back to Rossford
Written by KEVIN GORDON Sentinel Assistant Sports Editor
Saturday, 10 November 2012 07:44
ROSSFORD - Justin Reitz loves Rossford, his hometown.
|Justin Reitz coaches boys and girls bowling teams (Photo: Enoch Wu/Sentinel-Tribune)
The 27-year-old is a familiar face at Rossford High School athletic events, serving as the head coach of the boys and girls bowling teams, an assistant coach for the baseball team, and as a statistician for the football and boys basketball teams.
He works at Rossford Public Library, and is active as a coach and an administrator for various area youth baseball teams and leagues each summer.
"I like to devote my time back to the community and the school," said Reitz, who graduated with honors from Rossford High School in 2003.
"I went to school here. I grew up around the baseball diamond. I grew up in the bowling centers. The community has been great to me."
Reitz became interested in coaching after his career as a bowler ended. He was a four-team All-Northern Lakes League honoree in bowling - including a three-time first-team selection - and had planned on bowling in college and maybe even turning professional.
But for financial reasons, those dreams ended.
"I thought I might coach at some point, but I wasn't sure when," said Reitz, who is in his third season as Rossford's bowling coach.
He still averages 219 in a Monday night league at Southwyck Lanes, and he's rolled 14 career 300 games and two 800 series.
"I've been bowling all my life," said Reitz, who also played varsity golf for the Bulldogs. "We've got a pretty successful program coming along. Being around baseball and bowling all my life, I figured I could get my feet wet, baseball, bowling, whatever. I know the ins and outs of the sports, and I figured I could teach kids how to play those sports at the same time. I really enjoy coaching."
Reitz finished his first season as a varsity baseball assistant last spring.
His first coaching job was right out of high school in the Rossford rec league where his dad, Richard, was a commissioner. He enjoyed the experience and decided to start coach travel teams the next summer.
"I didn't know what to expect, wasn't sure how the parents would react with a young kid coaching," he said. "But I had a good time and decided to continue with it"
"I enjoying teaching the kids skills, and helping them get ready for when they get into the junior high level, the high school level," Reitz said. "The wins are nice, but it's about skill development and having fun."
Reitz - whose Rossford athletic career started as a ballboy in football when he was in elementary school - does the football stats with Jimmy Largent and the basketball stats with Ken Sutter.
But he's not the only member of his family who assists Rossford athletics.
His mom, Janet, is entering her 20th season of keeping the scorebook for the boys basketball team.
His brother, Jonathan, is the Bulldogs' freshmen boys basketball coach. He's a 2009 graduate of the school and played golf and basketball.
"Justin's just a pleasure to be around and he's a great guy," Rossford athletics director Ken Rosplohowski said. "Everybody loves him and he's willing to do anything for anyone.
"He knows both sports very well and with the way he relates to the kids, he's able to effectively communicate with them and teach the sport," Rosplohowski said. "He does an excellent job as a coach."
In addition to coaching youth baseball during the summer, Reitz also helps Dave Whitmire with the Northwest Ohio Amateur Baseball League and Nations Baseball.
Whitmire is the president of the NWOABL and the Northwest Ohio director for Nations Baseball. Whitmire and Carter Park in Bowling Green host a number of Nations Baseball events during the summer, including the Carolyn and Mike Henschen Classic Memorial Day Weekend and the 11-year-old state tournament in June.
Reitz is in charging of scheduling the games for the tournaments and keeping track of the innings pitched and scores of each game.
The Henschens, who both died of cancer, were long-time volunteers at the park. Mike Henchen handled the scheduling and the pitching/scores until his death.
"Justin is a very special person," Whitmire said. "He's very detail oriented and he relates well to people, so he's able to handle the position well. He's very thorough and he doesn't make mistakes and that's critical when you're dealing with the pitching. He's been a tremendous asset to our staff. I was really, really nervous because (Mike Henschen) was so good, so level headed and did such a great job for many years."