KENWOOD, Ohio – The names of the Ohio High School Athletic Association state championship coaches at Moeller (Ohio) High School flow off the tip of the tongue for most Crusader fans.
In football, Gerry Faust has a statue at the school. Before leaving Montgomery Road for the Golden Dome of Notre Dame, he won five state titles. Then there’s Steve Klonne, who won a pair in the ‘80s, and current coach John Rodenberg with titles in 2012-13.
In hoops, Carl Kremer has three and on the ball diamond, Mike Cameron won four. Current skipper Tim Held already has four.
So what about golf?
Other than Mike Cameron, who coached two current Baseball Hall of Famers in Barry Larkin and Ken Griffey Jr. and several major leaguers over 39 years, Rick Bohne has had the longest Moeller coaching career. To boot, he also brought home an OHSAA state golf championship trophy to Moeller in 2014.
While his 29 years of head coaching longevity on the links falls 10 short of Cameron’s run in the dugout, it still is impressive in a day when coaching jobs last far less than a decade.
In the fall of 1987, Michael Jackson’s “Bad” had just been released, Ronald Reagan was president, Mike Cameron had just one state title and Carl Kremer was not yet a head coach.
After winning the school’s first state golf championship less than two seasons ago, Bohne figured he had two more falls left in him. The art of golf requires a good read on each situation.
When Moeller failed to advance to the state tournament as a team last season (Jake Fox did make it individually) Bohne made a difficult and brutally honest call. The official decision took months.
“Last year, I knew,” Bohne said. “I didn’t have the heart or the passion. If I don’t have that, I can’t coach. I didn’t want to cheat the kids, the parents or the school. I wasn’t going to hang around and take a check. It’s better that I figure that out before someone else comes and tells me.”
It is reasonable to assume that a man who heads Moeller’s Religion Department sought higher counsel.
As the saying goes, he left the program better than it was. Initially, Bohne hoped to compete against St. Xavier and Milford. Eventually, Moeller went to 15 state tournaments as a team, four golfers qualified individually, they were twice runners-up (2004,2007) and state champions in 2014.
Bohne keeps proper perspective on the accolades.
“They did it,” Bohne said. “The championships and all of the honors belong to them. I never hit a tee shot and I did not deal with all of the pressure they did. They had to deal with me.”
In a sport where religion is sometimes lost on an erratic tee shot, the religion teacher was a steady influence in a sometimes unkind game. Bohne coached when woods were actually made of wood and balata (wound) golf balls could be found sliced by the dozen in the weeds.
The program will now be run by Dan Dunlap who has assisted Bohne since 2003. He’s also a highly-decorated former Crusader player. The former student will now lead the next breed of Moeller golfer.
“The kids hit the ball a lot further,” Bohne said. “They’re more physically talented. Clubs have changed. Courses have changed and gotten in better condition.”
The 62-year-old Bohne will continue his teaching and will now have more time to spend with his supportive wife during the fall. On occasion, he may utilize his connections at Blue Ash Golf Course and sneak on for an afternoon nine.
“That’s one thing that greatly suffered when I started coaching,” Bohne said.