Fairfield wrestling coach Ron Masanek started to think about retirement in June when he was bestowed with a special honor.
Masanek truly appreciated being inducted in the Buddy LaRosa’s High School Sports Hall of Fame – a significant way to recognize the dedication of nearly a half-century coaching student-athletes.
Masanek said LaRosa was so gracious to him that the induction would be a fitting way to complete his storied coaching career.
On Thursday, Masanek announced his retirement from the Indians head coaching position after 48 years. Masanek is stepping down due to family health reasons.
“I had the Walter Alston theory of one year at a time,” Masanek told The Enquirer on Friday afternoon. “You hope it’s a good year because they are one-year contracts. I was fortunate to be able to have many good years and stay into coaching the sport I love.”
(Alston, the late Hall of Fame Dodgers manager who lived in Butler County, managed 23 seasons in the majors under one-year contracts).
During his high school coaching career, Masanek compiled a dual meet record of 410-83-3, which ranks in the top five in Ohio high school wrestling history, according to the Ohio High School Athletic Association website.
Masanek, who turned 73 on Wednesday, produced 11 undefeated seasons, 23 Greater Miami Conference championships and nine Ohio state runner-up teams.
Fairfield has won eight district championships, 15 sectional titles, and placed third in the state in both 1991 and 1992 under Masanek.
Masanek is most proud of his longevity in coaching. Despite all the success, he was proud to make an impact in the lives of student-athletes. “Watching boys become men,” Masanek said.
Individually, Masanek’s wrestlers have produced 200 GMC champions, 127 sectional champions, 42 district/regional champions, 150 state qualifiers, 43 state placers (top six finish), and six different individual state champions, including four-time champion Willie Wineberg. Masanek has coached nine high school All-American wrestlers.
“Words cannot express our gratitude for coach Masanek’s service here as a coach, a teacher, and a leader of men,” Fairfield athletic director Mark Harden said. “He has left a legacy here that will last forever, and we will forever be in debt for his long, historic tenure here as our head coach.”
A 1959 graduate of Parma High School and 1964 grad of Miami University, Masanek was a three-year letterman in Oxford. He was a two-time Mid-American Conference wrestling runner-up and a two-time collegiate national qualifier. He has garnered numerous coach of the year honors from multiple publications as well as being named GMC coach of the year on multiple occasions.
Masanek has been inducted into the Ohio Wrestling Coaches Hall of Fame, the Butler County Athletic Hall of Fame, and the Fairfield High School Athletic Hall of Fame.