Conservative estimates say Ted Wolford touched hundreds of players' lives during his 25 seasons as Upper Arlington High School boys lacrosse coach, not to mention 11 years as an assistant before that.
A good number of those players are expected to participate in the Golden Bears' first alumni game Sunday, July 2, at Marv Moorehead Stadium as part of a daylong "Tribute to Ted."
This is the latest in a series of commemorations to Wolford organized by current UA coach Kyle Olson, who played for Wolford and was hired to succeed him last August after coaching Hilliard Davidson for four seasons, and his staff. An April 11 game against Marysville was the centerpiece of "Ted Wolford Night," when the team presented him a poster recognizing his achievements.
Wolford, who compiled a 460-61 record and won 12 state championships during his tenure at UA from 1992-2016, retired as head coach last July but served as one of Olson's assistants this past season, when the Bears went 20-3 and lost to Cincinnati Moeller 10-9 in a Division I state semifinal.
"I'm not really fond of all the attention because the team is the most important thing," said Wolford, who hopes the festivities will help spur the creation of an alumni association for the team. "To me, the whole weekend will be about getting together with the people who have made the last 25 years so special. It's hard for me to accept the congratulations when so many people have been a part of this, from administration all the way to the players."
The alumni game is scheduled for noon, with an on-field presentation to follow. A dinner and roast will begin at 6 p.m. at La Scala, 4900 West Dublin-Granville Road, Dublin.
"I don't know that he was too thrilled when we made the Marysville game 'Ted Wolford Night,' because he always preached team," Olson said. "He always told us he never scored a goal and never made a hit in 25 years. But it means the world to me to have had him as my coach and still have him here. He's been through every situation and if I get worked up, he'll be in my ear telling me, 'Just relax and take it one goal at a time.' "
Wolford, 58, was named 2016 Man of the Year by the National Interscholastic Lacrosse Coaches Association.
Tyler Pfister, a 2013 UA graduate who helped Ohio State to a national runner-up finish this year and was taken by the Ohio Machine in the sixth round of the Major League Lacrosse draft May 28, was unsure last week whether he would be able to participate, but was much more certain about how he regarded Wolford.
"Coach Wolford had such a great impact and there's a lot I owe him," Pfister said. "Coach Olson was an assistant coach at UA when I was there and he loves what the program is all about. I'm glad he came back and kept all of the coaches. They're a big reason for whatever success I've had."