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Todd one of a kind as assistant coach

By DON HOHLER • Oct 10, 2016 at 7:00 PM

NORWALK – As assistant coaches go, they don’t get much better than Jeff Todd. Just ask Wes Douglas, the highly-successful Norwalk golf and baseball coach. Todd handled his pitchers from 2005 to 2014 and has been his assistant in an equally successful golf program for the last number of years.

He left Douglas three years ago as far as baseball when he took over the program at Western Reserve. He gave up the baseball job at Western in the spring because it was conflicting with his full-time at the Ford Motor Company.

“I was fortunate to get on the day shift and I wanted to stay there,” the 53-year-old Todd said. “It got to the point that I was burning all my vacation days on clinics, meetings and the like. The bottom line was I was losing both vacation time and money. I talked it over with the AD out there, Ryan Falknor, and he recognized the situation.”

In the meantime, Todd remains an intricate part of the Norwalk golf program.

“He doesn’t mind being in the background,” Douglas said. “He just shows up and handles every coaching task asked of him. As far as baseball, he knows the game. He knows the science of pitching and because of that when he talked our players listened.”

Todd is a 1981 Western Reserve graduate. He played all three major sports. Baseball was his strongest. It got him two years at Ohio Dominican where he played third and pitched.

“I came back home and got on Dick Taylor’s baseball staff at Western Reserve for his final year before he departed for Arizona and what has turned out to be a magical second football coaching career,” Todd said. “Ed Timman followed him out at Western and I worked on his staff.”

Todd talked about some of the great athletes he has known and coached over the last 25 years.

He said Western’s Shannon Wolfe was probably the best pure athlete he ever came in contact with.

“What an athlete,” Todd said. “He played baseball like no other player I ever saw. And I am sure he would have been equally valuable on the track team had it not conflicted with baseball in the spring. He was also all-conference in both basketball and football.

“Chad Fairchild, who now is a major league umpire, was another fine all-around athlete. He threw in the mid-80s and found ways to get batters out. What a story with that kid. He watches umpires work at an Indians game one day and he tells his dad that he believed he could do that job. He goes to umpires school and pays his dues in working his way to the majors. All you have to do is see him work and you know he was meant to be a Major League umpire. I still talk with Chad regularly.”

Todd, a registered OHSAA basketball official for the past 21 years, also singled out two Norwalk athletes, Isaac Perry and Michael Finch.

“Both of those young men took to coaching and because of that are playing college ball today, Isaac at Tiffin and Michael at West Liberty, W.Va.” Todd said.

Married to Connie with four children out on their own, Todd doubts if he will ever tie himself down again with a head-coaching position.

“My primary job would have to change and that’s not likely,” he said. “I like days at the plant and it works perfectly for high school golf. Never say never, but as I see it now, this will be the last coaching job I will give up.”

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