Bill Albright couldn’t have walked into a better situation.
Finishing up his student-teaching, Albright was a member of the Norwalk High School football coaching staff in the fall of 1976. The 1972 NHS graduate got to spend a year under the guidance of Bob Hart on an 8-2 team that won the Northern Ohio League championship — the last title the program had until 2014.
Albright used that experience to go on to have a 28-year head coaching career at Midview High School, and as a result, will be one of seven members in the 10th Norwalk High School Hall of Fame class next week.
A dinner and banquet to honor this year’s class will be held at the Ernsthausen Performing Arts Center at 5 p.m. Jan. 27 prior to the boys basketball home game vs. Huron. Tickets will cost $15 for the dinner and banquet, and can be purchased from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the NHS athletic office.
This year’s other inductees are Dr. Virginia Showers Ingram (academic), David Ballard (distinguished), Chris Bleile (athletic), Carrie Monnes Sheehan (athletic), Jess Gerken Miron (athletic) and Tim Sommers (athletic).
“That whole experience in 1976 kind of goes back to even before that with the teachers I had at Norwalk,” Albright said. “They ignited that fire for me to become a teacher. Bob was gracious enough to allow me on that staff as a student-teacher.
“Watching Bob, Denny Corrigan, Ron DeLuca and Ken Woodruff coach — that just kind of fanned the flame to look into becoming a coach along with teaching,” he added. “They go hand-in-hand — you’re always trying to make people better.”
After graduating from Norwalk in 1972 and Bowling Green State University in 1977, Albright settled in nicely at Midview High School.
He spent 38 years as a biology, life science, physical fitness and driver education teacher at Midview. He was the head coach of the Middies for 28 seasons from 1986-2013, compiling a 178-110 record with just five losing seasons. He had previously been an assistant for nine seasons at Midview prior to that, giving him 37 consecutive years on the sidelines at the Lorain County school in Grafton.
Albright’s teams won five conference championships (Lorain County, West Shore) and made six trips to the Division II state playoffs, finishing as regional runners-up in 1998.
An eight-time conference coach of the year, Albright also was named the Lorain County Coach of the Year 10 times, and three times earned Associated Press Northeast District Coach of the Year in Div. II.
In 1987, Albright helped form the Midview Touchdown Club, which helped raise money for players to lower the cost of pay-to-participate fees.
In 1999, he started FCA Huddle, a certified small group bible study/devotion for coaches, athletes, for players and cheerleaders. That same year, he also earned one of the first Cleveland Browns High School Coach of the Week awards, a recognition the pro franchise began doing when it returned in 1999. The Middies were 10-0 in the 1999 season.
Albright was the head coach of the Lorain County All-Star game three times (1991, 1996, 2003), and was an assistant coach in the 1998 Ohio North-South Classic.
In 2012, Albright received the honor of serving as head coach of the Ohio team in the Big 33 Classic, a game well-known for producing future college and NFL talent.
Albright also spent two seasons as the president of the Ohio High School Football Coaches Association, and from 2004-13 was the Region 4 director for the OHSFCA.
Did Albright ever envision spending nearly four decades at one place?
“I fell in love with the community, and the kids and parents were great to me — and it was just a place I really settled into,” he said. “Then my kids became part of that Midview community and I guess the thought to go somewhere else never crossed my mind. I just loved it where I was and I was treated well and was really just happy.”
Following his retirement from Midview, Albright served as the offensive coordinator at Avon Lake for the 2014 season. That same year, he was enshrined into the Lorain County Football Coaches Hall of Fame and was an OHSAA Sportsmanship, Ethics and Integrity award winner.
In addition to football, Albright was the head baseball coach from 1980-86 at Midview, and again in 2004. He also was the school’s softball coach in 1987.
His baseball teams won three Lakeland Conference titles (1984-86), and Albright was named the Coach of the Year in each season. The lone year he coached softball at the school, his team won the Erie Shore Conference championship and he earned coach of the year honors.
At Norwalk, Albright was a three-year letterwinner under head football coach Leonard Hardman. He also was a three-year letterwinner and team MVP on the boys’ golf team. He attended Bowling Green State University from 1972-77.
Since 1997, Albright has been the golf shop assistant at the Oberlin Golf Club.
Albright has been married to his wife, Lisa, for 38 years. They have four children — Bret (35), Andrew (32), Zachary (25) and Molly (22).