By Tom Nader
Publisher and Editor
“Getting to Know” is an ongoing series that was created to spotlight the coaches and administrators that are guiding today’s Portage County student-athletes to be tomorrow’s leaders.
Today, we get to know Rootstown High School athletic director, boys golf coach and baseball coach Keith Waesch, who is in his 27th year coaching golf, 21st year coaching baseball and 23rd year as the district’s athletic director.
A: Rootstown, Ohio.
Q: High school?
A: Rootstown High School. Class of 1990. Played golf.
A: University of Mount Union. Class of 1994. Degree is Communications and Business Administration.
Q: Current occupation?
A: Rootstown High School athletic director, boys golf coach and baseball coach.
Q: What inspired you to become a coach?
A: I’ve always loved sports and the lessons you learn from athletics.
Q: What makes being a coach at Rootstown special to you?
A: Being able to be the athletic director and a coach in your hometown is a dream come true.
Q: Who has been your biggest influence?
A: Mr. Mori, a former Rootstown teacher and coach. Mr. Mori was one of Rootstown’s best teachers and a tremendous motivator on and off the field.
Q: Funny story nobody would believe from your playing days?
A: Mr. Mori missed a golf match due to a function involving one of his own kids. We fabricated a story about one of our teammates embarrassing the school and program by throwing his club and swearing in front of several adults near the 18th green at Kent State Golf Course. When Mr. Mori found out later that night, he called the golfer’s parents and told them there would be many ramifications for their son’s actions!
Q: Funny story nobody would believe from your coaching career?
A: Prior to our first golf match of the season about 20 years ago, I was going over the tournament rules with my team. I said that we were playing from the blue tees today. A nervous freshman, playing in his first varsity match, immediately said, “Coach Waesch, I have a problem.” I responded by saying, “What’s your problem?” The freshman then said, “I only have white tees in my golf bag. What am I going to do?”
Q: Favorite TV show?
A: Family Feud.
Q: Favorite movie?
A: Planes, Trains and Automobiles.
Q: Favorite musical artist?
A: Billy Joel.
Q: Favorite food?
Q: Best vacation?
A: Spending time with my family at Nemacolin and Clearwater.
Q: Favorite quote?
A: “A lack of planning on your part should not constitute an emergency on my part.”
Q: Describe your coaching philosophy?
A: My goal is to be fair to each and every kid in the program.
Q: Favorite restaurant?
A: Arnie’s Steakhouse.
Q: Favorite teachers from high school?
A: Mr. Mori and Mrs. Schwartzhoff.
Q: Advice you would give the younger version of yourself?
A: Stay calm no matter what the situation.
Q: Favorite coach from your playing days?
A: Mr. Mori.
Q: Coaching resume?
A: Golf coach for 27 years at Rootstown; Baseball coach for 21 years at Waterloo and Rootstown.
Q: Favorite sports team?
A: All Cleveland teams.
Q: Favorite athlete then?
A: Larry Bird, Jack Nicklaus, Hulk Hogan.
Q: Favorite athlete now?
A: My three kids: Nathan, Ryan and Gerren.
Q: First job as a teenager?
A: Working at my uncle’s box company in Maple Heights during the summer.
Q: Family members that always gave you the best advice?
A: My parents.
Q: Halloween costume last year?
A: I pass out the candy.
Q: Favorite video game?
A: Tecmo Bowl.
Q: Favorite candy?
A: Reese’s peanut butter eggs.
Q: First car?
A: Plymouth Reliant K.
Q: Best friends?
A: Matt Collins, Steve Matheos, Matt Spellman, Ken Pittman, Ken Smith, Lisa Gothard, Heather Sahrbeck.
Q: Most memorable moment as a player?
A: Jumping into a pond at Kent State Golf Course.
Q: Most memorable moment as a coach?
A: Too many to list. Every team and season has special moments that I will cherish forever.
Keith gives all with his heart and soul. He is an inspiration to Rootstown students and old friends like me!!!! So proud of him and his great family….