The Ohio High School Basketball Coaches Association is proud to announce that Dave Close of Stow-Munroe Falls High School is the recipient of the 2018 Paul Walker Award. The Paul Walker Award is presented annually by the OHSBCA to an active coaching member of the association who has made significant contributions to high school basketball. The award is named in honor of the late Paul Walker, the longtime coach of Middletown High School. At the time of his retirement, he had the most wins as a boys basketball coach in Ohio High School Basketball history.
Dave Close is a 1980 graduate of Taylor University, IN, where he played basketball for four years and ran track for two. Upon graduating from Taylor with a bachelor’s degree in Math/Systems/Education, he stayed at Taylor to serve as an assistant coach under NAIA Hall of Fame Coach Paul Patterson. After two years at Taylor, Dave accepted a graduate assistant coaching position at Kent State under Jim McDonald. At Kent, he earned a Master’s Degree in the Social Psychology of Sport. Dave followed those four years of college coaching with a one-year junior varsity coaching stint at Maple Heights High School under Biff Lloyd. In 1985, Dave accepted his first varsity head coaching position at Painesville Riverside, where he served for three years. In 1988, Dave became the varsity head coach at his alma mater, Stow-Munroe Falls High School, where he just concluded his 30th year of teaching math and coaching basketball at the school.
Dave’s record as a head coach is 548-201. His teams have won 14 League Championships, 26 Sectional Championships (including 16 in a row), 6 District Championships, and 2 Regional Championships. While at Stow, Dave’s teams have reached the elite eight 5 times, while his 1990 and 1993 teams both reached the OHSAA Final 4. Stow won AP Ohio Div. I Poll championships in both 1993 and 1994, while finishing 2nd in the poll in 1992. In 1993, his team reached 10th nationally in the USA Today National Poll while his 1994 team reached 5th. Those two teams both averaged over 93 points per game. The total points scored by those two teams rank 4th and 17th in the history of Ohio high school basketball. Dave is fortunate to have coached 16 All-Ohio players during his career.
Dave has received 28 Coach of the Year awards, including 14 league, 6 newspaper, 3 Summit County, 2 AP NEO Inlands District, one AP Ohio Div. I Coach of the Year award, and 2 Ohio Coaches Poll Coach of the Year honors. In 1994, Dave coached in the National NHSCA East-West All-Star game held at the Omni in Atlanta, GA. In 1995, he coached in the OHSBCA North-South game held at OSU’s St. John Arena. In the late 1980s, Dave was one of the founders and an early president of the Greater Akron Basketball Coaches Association. He is currently serving a second time as the GABCA president, the only coach ever to do so. Dave is also actively involved with promoting the OHSBCA and District 3. Dave’s teams are actively involved in community service. In 2015, he received the Akron Beacon Journal Clem Caraboolad Award honoring service in the school and the community.
Dave resides in Munroe Falls with his wife of 32 years, Pat, who is also an educator in the Stow Schools. They have three children who were all multi-sport student-athletes at Stow. Son Cameron is a graduate of the University of Akron and is a mechanical engineer for Virgin Hyperloop One in Los Angeles. Angela has a Bachelor’s from Ohio State and a Doctorate of Physical Therapy from Ohio University. She practices in Seattle. Jacquelyn has a Bachelor’s from Taylor University and a Master’s in Applied Sports Psychology from the University of Denver. She works at an eating recovery center in Denver and coaches school and club volleyball.