Magistro gets 200th win
As time was ticking down in his team's 29-17 victory over host Worthington Kilbourne on the morning of Sept. 22 in front of a sparse crowd, Westerville Central High School football coach John Magistro didn't mind that there was little fanfare surrounding his milestone achievement.
The win was the 200th of his career, making him the 38th coach in state history to reach that milestone. After the game, his players presented him with a sign acknowledging the achievement.
"That was neat," Magistro said of the sign. "I didn't know anything about that. They got me. I'm just glad because we've come a long way in this program and these guys are the ones that are responsible for it. They're carrying on what we started. Our coaches have done a great job. You don't do this stuff without good support groups and I have good support groups."
Magistro's career record is 200-93, which includes a 19-17 mark in three-plus seasons with the Warhawks. Before arriving at Central, he spent 23 seasons coaching Bellaire, compiling a 181-76 record with the Big Reds.
"When you coach for 300 years, you're finally going to get 200 wins," Magistro said with a laugh.
With friends and family, including several from eastern Ohio looking on, Magistro had hoped to reach the milestone Sept. 14 when Central played host to Dublin Scioto, but the Irish won 34-14.
"A lot of people from back home came up (Sept. 14) and they didn't get to see it, but I know they'll be happy for me," Magistro said.
Central was leading Kilbourne 22-17 in the fourth quarter on Sept. 21 when play was suspended because of lightning. When the game resumed the next day, Jared Drake secured the win by returning an interception 40 yards for a touchdown.
"Coach Magistro is like a father figure to me," senior defensive lineman Taribo Osuobeni said. "He's a friend to me, a mentor to me, so we wanted to get it done for him and also as a family because what we have here is something special and we want to keep that rolling."
Last season, Magistro guided Central to its first postseason appearance. The Warhawks finished 8-3, losing to Gahanna 38-21 in the first round of the Division I, Region 3 playoffs.
Magistro was named district Coach of the Year and shared Division I Coach of the Year honors with Findlay's Mark Ritzler.
During his tenure at Bellaire, he was named state Coach of the Year four times, Eastern District Coach of the Year eight times and Ohio Valley Athletic Conference Coach of the Year twice. Magistro guided the Big Reds to the Division IV state final in 1995 and 1996 and nine regional championships.
Jose Davis, who was the quarterback in 1995 when Bellaire finished 13-1 after losing to Versailles 50-44 in double overtime in the state final, is now the coach at Bellaire. He credits Magistro for his success in the sport.
"This is well deserved," said Davis, a 1996 Bellaire graduate who went on to star at quarterback at Kent State. "It's kind of crazy how he was able to continue his success from this part of Ohio to the next part of Ohio. It says a lot about him and his ability. I try to implement a lot of the things that he had taught me then and I still talk to him now on some of the stuff that he does to try to implement it into our program. He hasn't changed much (from) when I had him as coach to now."
Magistro coached three players at Bellaire who went on to play in the NFL, including former Ohio State wide receiver Joey Galloway, who was drafted in the first round by Seattle in 1995. The others were Ben Taylor (Cleveland, 2002) and Nate Davis (San Francisco, 2008).
Magistro and his wife, Lillian, moved to the Columbus area in 2007 to be closer to their children and grandchildren. He served as an assistant coach at Olentangy in 2007 and 2008 before taking over Central's program in 2009.
"To get that many wins obviously is a testament to his longevity and also to the quality of the kind of coach he is and the way that he modifies the kids' behavior and the way he modifies their athletic ability, their attitudes and their work ethic," Central athletics director Andy Ey said. "It's totally changed our football program; it's totally changed our athletic department. His influence is hard to measure and it's very much appreciated by me and it's very much appreciated by the kids, the parents and everybody in our community."