It's easy to underestimate how much of an impact a coach can have until he or she is not doing it anymore.

It's easy to underestimate how much of an impact a coach can have until he or she is not doing it anymore.

Dick Kortokrax recently announced his retirement as Kalida High School boys basketball coach after 56 seasons and an Ohio record 890 victories.

As you're contemplating those two mind-boggling numbers, think about the fact that Kortokrax coached the first of his 1,261 games before John F. Kennedy was assassinated and The Beatles made their first visit to the United States and long before Watergate and the end of the Vietnam War.

Many people don't make it in coaching for five years, let alone more than five decades.

Now imagine all of the young people he's inspired, including his son, Randy Kortokrax, who has been shaping the lives of boys basketball players at Hartley for 17 seasons.

Randy played for his father at Kalida and got his coaching feet wet in the early 1990s by helping his dad at practice.

Parents pass down an endless number of things to their children, sometimes even the love of coaching.

Several other area basketball coaches have followed the footsteps of a parent, including Olentangy Orange boys coach Anthony Calo, whose father is Westerville South boys coach Ed Calo.

Then there are the Bates brothers, Pickerington North boys coach Jason Bates and Africentric boys coach Michael Bates, whose father, LeRoy, coached at Toledo Libbey from 1992-2008, and longtime Olentangy girls coach John Feasel, whose father, John Feasel Sr., coached boys basketball in the 1970s and '80s. The younger Feasel recently was named boys coach at Olentangy.

And this past season, Randy Patton served as interim girls coach at Dublin Coffman so that his son, Bryan Patton, could take a leave of absence for the birth of a child.

This spring, the family links include the Gauls and the Benjamins.

At Westerville South, Jim Gaul is in his 33rd season as track and field coach and shares coaching duties with his son, Jimmy Gaul.

The Benjamins, meanwhile, added to their coaching family tree when Bob Benjamin Jr. became Reynoldsburg's baseball coach this spring.

His father, Bob Sr., was St. Charles' coach from 1993-97 before handing the reins to one of his other sons, Ray Benjamin, who is in his 19th season as the Cardinals' coach.

To assume that any of these sons is a mirror image of his coaching father, however, would go against one of the basic tenets of any great coach, as the best at their profession never let themselves get satisfied with the status quo.

Bob Benjamin Jr. played for his father from the time he was in T-ball until his father became an assistant coach at St. Charles in the late 1980s. He went on to play for the University of Nebraska and then in the Milwaukee Brewers' system from 1990-92.

Bob Benjamin Jr. sees some of his dad in his coaching decisions, but not in everything.

"I try to be more aggressive than (my dad) was," he said. "I think my brother and I are pretty similar in that (Ray also is) a lot more aggressive. I don't know if it's a different style, but it's just that times change."

Randy Kortokrax echoes that sentiment. Now that his father has retired, he plans to tap into the knowledge that Dick Kortokrax possesses because "he's still got a great mind."

Still, the younger Kortokrax has had to navigate his own way during an era that has distinct challenges from when he played for his father in the early 1980s.

"I give (my father) credit that he adapted to things and survived for so long," he said. "Parents are a lot more involved now, and sometimes they think their kid is a Division I player when maybe he's not even good enough to play for a small college. It's so different now it's incredible."

One thing that Randy Kortokrax and Bob Benjamin Jr. observed from their fathers and have experienced firsthand is the importance of relationships in coaching.

Kortokrax said he's learned how powerful caring about the social well-being of his players can be.

In just a few months of coaching, Bob Benjamin Jr. believes the best way to get through to athletes is to "preach family."

That's something that will remain timeless for all coaches as they seek to mold the lives of young people, regardless of generation.