Gahanna Lincoln High School girls track and field coach Roger Whittaker recently was named the national Coach of the Year for 2017-18 by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Coaches Association.

Whittaker was among 23 coaches recognized in various sports nationwide.

Last spring, he guided the Lions to the Division I state championship in his 30th season as coach.

The NFHS has been recognizing coaches through the awards program since 1982.

Whittaker filled out a questionnaire in October.

“I never thought I’d have a remote shot with all the great coaches in the U.S. out there,” he said. “I figured California alone probably had 50 coaches better than me. (I) still can’t digest this. I thought it was just (for) Ohio, which I would have been elated with.”

Gahanna won a share of the 2015 state championship and was state runner-up in both 2016 and ’17 before the Lions scored 51 points in the state meet last June as Lancaster was a distant second with 31.