By Tom Nader
Publisher and Editor
The “Getting to Know” series is designed to help the community learn more about the coaches and administrators that are guiding today’s Portage County student-athletes to be tomorrow’s leaders.
Today, we get to know Crestwood High School boys basketball coach and Kent Roosevelt football assistant coach Josh Jakacki, who is in his 13th season leading the Red Devils’ basketball program.
Q: what schools did you attend growing up?
A: Hiram Elementary, Crestwood Middle School and Crestwood High School (Class of 1994). Played basketball for the Red Devils for four years and baseball for one year.
A: Malone College (1994-95) and Hiram College (1995-98). Played basketball for the Terriers. College degree in Elementary Education and Master’s Degree in Art of Education (2003).
Q: Current occupation?
A: Fourth-grade teacher (math and science) at Kenston Intermediate School.
Q: What inspired you to become a coach?
A: To be honest, I spent to school for Sports Management at Malone. When I transferred to Hiram, my dad suggested education. I went into the field and really liked it. I then went back home to help out the Crestwood high-school team (when Paul Woodard was coach) and it was something that I fell in love with. The rest is history. I am blessed with the opportunity to teach and coach in great districts.
Q: What makes being a coach at Crestwood special to you?
A: Having graduated from Crestwood, I obviously have roots here. Crestwood helped to shape me into the person I am today. Being able to coach my boys, nephews and their friends was certainly special and something I was blessed to do. Having family and friends attend games is awesome. At the end of the day, it is all about relationships. Lastly, coaching with the Lieberth family (Bob, Jake, Karlie and Danny) has been incredibly awesome.
Q: Who has been your biggest influence or mentor?
A: I had the opportunity to play for three college coaches in four years. I learned a lot from all of them: Hal Smith, Mike DeWitt, Steven Minton. Having coached with Bob Lieb berth for as many years has been a great influence. Not only do we finish each other’s thoughts and sentences, but we are also best friends. I think we both can agree that tour time with Coach Winton (12 years) was instrumental for both of us. He has a wealth of knowledge, experience and knows the game very well. So it would be unfair to just name one, as all have helped shape me as a coach. My parents (Mark and June, as well as my sister) for teaching me the value of hard work and sacrifice and attending darn near all of my games in childhood and college.
Q: Funny story nobody would believe from your playing days?
A: In eighth grade basketball, Bob Bysura won the tip vs. Woodridge. I received the ball and scored … at the wrong basket, and we lost by two.
Q: What has coaching taught me?
A: I used to think winning and losing was what defined me. I realized that relationships with our players, coaches and families far outweigh anything on the court. Hard work, consistent effort and desire to be one percent better in everything lead to a blessed life. It has also taught me patience (some may disagree), but I am also still learning to be a better coach for our pgoram and community. It has also taught me sacrifice. Sacrifice from my family, but also the sacrifices from my wonderful wife makes every day for our family. She takes on added responsibilities and duties so I can coach. Love ya, Alisha!
Q: Favorite TV show?
A: Criminal Minds and Blacklist.
Q: Favorite movie?
A: Shawshank Redemption.
Q: Favorite musical artist?
A: Brian McKnight.
Q: Favorite food or meal?
A: Steak, baked potato and salad.
Q: Best vacation?
A: Any vacation with my family or sporting event/extracurricular activity our kids are involved in.
Q: Favorite quote?
A: It’s not about what you know, it’s about how much you care.
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. — Philippians 4:13
Q: Describe your coaching philosophy?
A: #WeoverMe — pretty much sums it up in my opinion.
Q: What does it mean to you to be a Red Devils student-athlete?
A: Tough, resilient, great listener, selfless, hard working, dreamers.
Q: Favorite restaurant?
Q: Favorite teacher from high school?
A: Mr. Paulenich.
Q: Advice you would give the younger version of you?
A: If it won’t bother you in five years, don’t spend five minutes of your time on it.
Q: Favorite coach from your playing days?
A: Grover Vaught. He is a man of great spirit and Crestwood pride.
Phil Stevens. He cared deeply about his players.
Steve Minton. Hiram coach that I still talk with and respect his friendship.
Eric Kulka, Ed Kolenc, Ed Harper, Chad Beznozka, Shawn Mayle — for taking me everywhere as a young player to experience tough basketball and helping me become the player I was many years ago.
Q: Coaching resume?
A: Crestwood High School boys basketball head coach (2001-2006); Kenston High School boys basketball head coach (2008-2015); Crestwood boys basketball head coach (2016-present). In all, I have coached for 25 years, coaching three sports in 21 of them (football, basketball and track).
Q: Favorite sports teams?
A: The Ohio State University football, ALL Cleveland professional sports teams.
Q: Favorite athlete then?
A: Michael Jordan (G.O.A.T.)
Q: Favorite athletes now?
A: My kids: Mason, Trent, Avery, Calli and Lexie.
Q: First job as a teenager?
A: Jakacki Chores, Maglianico’s Lawncare, Wendy’s, Hunter Masonry.
Q: Shoutout to former teammates?
A: Eric Kulka, Ed Kolenc, Ed Harper, Chad Beznozka, Shawn Mayle, Brian Johns, Bob Bysura, Ken Rhoda, Eddie Van Pelt, Jason Streets, Chris Zuponcic, Tom Zaz, Ken Study, Sean Stephens. All of my former players, as they have taught me something along the way. I’ve likely learned more from them than they from me.
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