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Mark Beach takes over as Clay athletic director

Former Clay wrestling coach Mark Beach has taken over the duties of Clay High School athletic director, a full time position.

“I am extremely excited about it,” Beach said. “For me, it’s about kids and it’s about being able to communicate in such a way that you can impact the kids and kind of help the parents understand both perspectives — the perspective of the individual and the perspective of the team.”

Beach, a 1979 Waite High School graduate who qualified for state in wrestling, placing sixth, has been involved with the Clay wrestling program since 1996. He remains on board as a volunteer assistant under current head coach Ralph Cubberly.

“I have been immersed for quite some time now at Clay, I would say,” Beach said.

Beach and Troy McLaughlin operated the Lake Erie Wrestling Club for 13 years before Beach stepped down three years ago. Beach has also coached youth wrestling and soccer, including a stint at Sacred Heart Catholic School.

Beach takes over for Mike Donnelly, who moved on as athletic director at St. Ursula Academy after his resignation with Oregon Schools took effect on September 10.

Beach had been branch manager at KeyBank for seven years and remains owner of a SNAP Fitness franchise.

“I’ve been in the corporate world, so I bring some different business perspective into it and hopefully that will be a match made in heaven,” Beach said

P.J. Kapfhammer, Oregon school board president, said Clay athletic director Mike Donnelly turned in his resignation on September 10. 

"He (Donnelly) has accepted the job at St. Ursula and has turned in his letter of resignation," board member P.J. Kapfhammer said. "I do believe it will be accepted."

Donnelly said, “I am grateful to have had the opportunity to work and coach at my alma mater.  I am going to miss the teachers, coaches, and staff that work hard every day to make our community a better place. 

“The job of athletic director in a large school district is difficult, stressful, and time consuming.  I want to spend a little more time raising my two daughters with my wife and working at St. Ursula  will provide me an opportunity to do that.”

The Oregon school board in 2007 hired Mike Donnelly as the new Clay football coach. Donnelly took over the Eagle football program from Jeff Lee, who announced his resignation after the 2006 season.

Donnelly began as an assistant administrator for the school district during his first two year contract with a salary of $46,000. He lives in the Oregon district and has a bachelors’ degree in chemistry from Wittenberg University.

After six years at the helm of the Clay football program, Coach Mike Donnelly has announced resignation after the 2012 season.

His teams went a combined 29-31, including a 7-3 record in 2008. During his tenure at Clay, his teams broke 19 school offensive records. 

Donnelly says the highlights of his career including coaching University of Michigan starting safety Jordan Kovacs, who was just named the Wolverine’s MVP in team voting, who picked Kovacs over quarterback Denard Robinson.

He also coached former Ohio State and current Chicago Bears receiver Dane Sanzenbacher while he was an assistant at Central Catholic, where his 2005 team won one Division II state championship during a 10-year stint. In 2005, he was named Assistant Coach of the Year in Northwest Ohio.

Donnelly, a Clay alumnus, was also a wide receivers coach at Wittenberg University in 1997, helping a team that went 9-1 and won the North Coast Athletic Conference.

He remained athletic director at Clay until this month. He spoke about his resignation at the Clay fall sports banquet, citing his health as one of the reasons for his decisions.

“For the past six years I have had the wonderful opportunity to influence high school students’ learning and development as head football coach,” Donnelly said. 

“During this time, I have also taken on the role of athletic director, a job that perfectly fits my passion for athletics. Over time however, the demands and high profile positions of athletic director and head football coach have taken its toll on me physically and mentally,” he continued.

“Additionally, the time spent away from my wife and children to pursue my dreams have meant missing many family functions.  I have come to the decision that for the betterment of my health and well-being that I resign from the position of head football coach.”

A 1993 graduate of Clay, Donnelly was previously the offensive coordinator at Central Catholic, where the team went to five playoffs, won two league titles, and won the Division II state championship in 2005. During the last seven years with Donnelly serving as an assistant, Central teams went 61-21.

In addition to the state championship, Central Catholic’s 2005 football team had 22 straight wins between 2005 and 2006. (— Melissa Burden contributed to this story)


Avery second at Ironman
Competing in his first full Ironman, University of Michigan senior Greg Avery finished second out of nine participants in his 20-24 year-old male division and 55th out of 245 overall at Cedar Point on Sept. 28.

An Ironman events consist of, in order, a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike and a 26.2-mile marathon. He finished the swimming portion in 1:06.29, the biking portion in 6:27.27, and the marathon in 20:15.

Avery has been competing in triathlons ever since he graduated from Northwood High School in 2010. The 22-year-old is a chemical engineering major at UM.

Avery, his senior class valedictorian at Northwood, will graduate from Michigan in April with a degree in chemical engineering. He said he’ll be looking to get a job in the energy industry or with a chemical company. He carries a 3.34 GPA and is on the Dean’s List.

A distance runner (800, mile, two-mile) at Northwood, Avery competed in cross country for three years before giving up that sport and track as a senior. Avery is a lifeguard at the Oregon YMCA and swims two or three miles — for about 90 minutes — before his shift at the pool. He puts in his road work at Pearson Park, averaging 16 miles on most of his runs.


Sports announcements
Cardinal Stritch Catholic High School will be honoring veterans and current members of the military at its football game on Oct. 11.All military members being recognized during a pregame ceremony before CSCHS’s game against Ottawa Hills will be out on the field to receive a special recognition. Veterans and current military members alike will be honored after all the seniors have their names read over the loud speaker. The game will be on Ted Federici Field at Clay High School’s Memorial Stadium. Any veteran and member of the military who would like to be recognized are asked to email Maria Baara at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 419-464-6153.

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Cardinal Stritch Catholic is looking for a head junior varsity baseball coach as well as a junior varsity assistant. High school coaching experience is preferred and candidate must be able to pass all OHSAA, Toledo Diocesan, and school certifications. Send resume and three references to Athletic Director, Craig Meinzer at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Deadline is October 18.

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The department of athletics at Cardinal Stritch Catholic High School will host its reverse raffle on October 19, in the school's gym. Dinner will be at 6 p.m. and the drawing will start at 7 p.m. Tickets for the event are $25 each and include dinner and a chance to win the grand prize of $1,500. Other prize totals for the drawing include: 2nd Prize $500, 3rd Prize $300, 4th Prize $200 and 5th Prize $100. Additional prizes will be awarded throughout the evening. For more information or to purchase tickets, please contact Athletic Director Craig Meinzer at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 419-693-0465, ext. 211.

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