“Often the difference between winning and losing is doing the little things nearly right or doing the little things exactly right. I feel that my success has been attributed to several things: (1) God’s blessing in choosing me for this career, (2) Surrounding myself with good people, (3) Working with good kids, and (4) Doing the ‘little things’ exactly right.”
Ray Etzler served 28 years as head basketball coach at Convoy Crestview High School. He graduated from Convoy Union High School in 1959 and Defiance College in 1963. In 1966, he earned his Master’s from St. Francis College in Fort Wayne, Indiana. He served at Crestview from 1964 until 1994, with the exception of two seasons (1973 and 1974) where he was an assistant coach at Defiance College. His Crestview teams won 445, losing 171. His record includes nine league, 16 sectional, five district and one regional title, advancing to the State Tournament in 1971.
Etzler’s teams experienced outstanding success. He coached in the OHSBCA North-South All-Star game, the Ohio-Michigan All-Star game, and twice was named to coach the West team in the District 8 All-Star game. He was also selected Coach of the Year three times in District 8. On two separate occasions he was named UPI Coach of the Year.
Also elected President of the District 8 Coaches’ Association, he presided over the district with the largest membership. In addition, he served the state association as Second Vice President, First Vice President, President, First Past President, Second Past President and received the Distinguished Service Award.
In 1994 Coach Etzler was the recipient of the OHSBCA Paul Walker Award, presented annually to an active coach of Ohio high school basketball. Criteria for the award, in addition to the active coach status, is that the coach has demonstrated a genuine commitment to the game of basketball and to the OHSBCA. The coach must also have displayed exemplary conduct and the highest degree of integrity.
During his 33 years at Crestview, Etzler served as a teacher, guidance counselor, elementary principal and athletic director, including duties for seven years as head baseball coach (record 90 – 35) with six sectional and two district titles; assistant football coach; head girls track coach; cross country coach; and junior high cross country coach. Outside of school he served as Church Council President for three years, elder for eight years, Sunday School teacher for 25 years, church youth director, and as a member of the church building committee.
Coach Etzler and his wife, Coleen, have four children: Lori, Douglas, Andrew and Daniel.