HUNTINGTON — Norm Persin said his retirement is for real this time.
The legendary Ohio high school basketball coach recently resigned after one season at Lucasville Valley. The former Chesapeake and Oak Hill coach came out of retirement after about a one-month hiatus last year to coach the Indians.
“Realistically, it was about health problems I had last year,” said Persin, 70. “I’m comfortable with my decision.”
Persin said the stress of coaching in today’s climate took its toll. With COVID-19 leading to daily uncertainty last season, and players changing schools frequently in recent seasons, he is happy to retire and spend more time with his grandchildren.
“Kids transferring out for football sealed the deal,” Persin said, referring to players reportedly transferring to Ironton and Portsmouth Notre Dame.
Persin leaves the game with a record of 766-214 and one state championship in 43 years. His .781 winning percentage, which included a 12-10 mark last season, ranked third all-time in state history. Persin’s victory total trails Richard Kortokrax of Kalida, Fort Jennings and Ottoville (890) and Joe Petrocellie of Kettering Alter (831). Persin’s Oak Hill team beat Kortokrax’s Kalida squad 48-43 in double overtime in the 2009 state championship game.
Persin is a member of the Ohio High School Basketball Association and Ohio Athletic Directors halls of fame, as well as the Warren High School and Chesapeake High School halls. In 2002, he won the Paul Walker Award as the OHSBCA’s coach of the year.
The basketball court at Chesapeake High is named for Persin, a seven-time Associated Press coach of the year who led the Panthers to two Associated Press Poll state championships and 16 Ohio Valley Conference titles, including 11 in a row, in 21 seasons.
He coached Oak Hill to three OVC championships before the Oaks moved to the Southern Ohio Conference, where Persin won four league titles.