Dandy Dan sits on Ohio coaching throne
WELLSVILLE — For a brief period of time starting in 2013, Wellsville volleyball coach Dan McKinstry was recognized by the Ohio High School Athletic Association as being the all-time coaching wins leader in Ohio.
Better record-keeping by OHSAA soon pushed him out of the top spot as other longtime coaches in the state of Ohio were certified.
On Tuesday, McKinstry again became Ohio’s winningest volleyball coach with the Tigers’ 25-11, 25-7, 25-10 win over Valley Christian.
This time, it appears McKinstry’s record may stand for a while. The coach surpassed Kris Kern, a central Ohio fixture of many schools, with his 763rd career win. Kern left high school coaching in 2016.
Kern is trailed by Frankfort Adena’s Laura Smith who is active with 736 wins. She has been Adena’s coach since 1985.
No other active Ohio high school volleyball coach has more than 700 wins.
McKinstry said he was aware of the possibility of getting the record back in the off season.
“My brother Kevin and (former Crestview athletic director) Andris Baltputnis were talking to me about it one day and asked me ‘How do you think it’s going to feel?’ I told them that with the pandemic going on, the only thing I had on my mind was getting the girls to play this season,” McKinstry said.
As the season rolled on, McKinstry said he it was something that was far out of his mind thanks to the logistics associated with playing in a pandemic.
“I wasn’t even thinking about it and then one night last week when I was watching WFMJ my name comes up with me needing two more wins,” McKinstry said. “Of course, I think Heartland used that as motivation on Saturday to beat us.”
McKinstry has been Wellsville’s volleyball coach since 1997. Before that he was the leader of East Palestine’s program from 1978 to 1996.
“I was a complete novice when I started,” McKinstry said. “I had to rely on other experienced coaches to help me. I went to as many clinics as I could and when I wasn’t at those I was reading, watching tape or scouting.”
McKinstry said that he was humbled by all of the out-pouring of support he received on Tuesday night.
“My phone is blowing up,” McKinstry said. “Last time I checked I had 22 text messages. It really means a lot to me.”
McKinstry said he credits the players, assistant coaches, parents and administrators over the years for his success.
“I know I have more days in back of me than in front of me, but this is something I still enjoy doing,” McKinstry said. “I like being involved with the kids.”
Wellsville’s current record is 10-2 and 9-0 in the Eastern Ohio Athletic Conference. The Tigers enjoy a two-game lead in the conference and will be at Leetonia on Thursday.
For the Tigers against Valley, Emily McNicol had four aces and 15 assists, Aubri Ramsey two aces, 11 kills, Greta Cartwright 20 assists, Meaghan Nixon seven kills, Alana Amato two aces, 12 kills, Jenna McNicol four aces and Paige Green three assists.
Wellsville won the jayvee portion, 25-9, 25-8. For the Tigers, Paige Green had 13 aces and Carys Douglas had three kills.