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Coach Cisar Stories Part 1

By Staff | May 19, 2021

Dave Cisar has taught and coached for over 50 years and in that time made an indelible impression on students, athletes, friends and acquaintances.

Strike up a conversation with anybody in the Ohio Valley and there is a high probability they’ve heard of him and might even have a story.

Whoever comes up to Dave can expect him giving 100% attention and walking away feeling better. His over 1000 combined coaching victories in baseball and football speak to his excellence as one of our nation’s greatest High School coaches.

No less an expert than Craig Schneid said about Dave’s football play calling, “He was playing chess while the others were playing checkers.” As an athlete, he excelled in all sports.

While age has smoothed out some of the rough spots, the competitor within remains. Over a thousand victories with thousands of players and spectators could mean there are a million Cisar stories. Have one? Send it to johnyevuta@gmail.com

Bryan Ensinger: When John mentioned his idea about contributing stories about Coach Cisar, my mind raced back nearly 50 years!

Coach Cisar was a young baseball coach at Magnolia, and I was young baseball player at River. This was 1971-1974. Magnolia was loaded with many great baseball players many of whom we were familiar with after having played against them at various levels.

In particular, I remember the ’73 team which included Fuzzy, Tim Shepherd, Burke, Wetzel, Emch, and Standiford.

River, likewise, had some excellent athletes.

The football team went 10-0 that year, and the baseball team regularly won 20-25 games a year in the competitive Eastern Ohio Baseball League which included Bellaire, St. Clairsville, Martins Ferry, and Steubenville.

However, we had not yet met Coach Cisar. Having completed our infield practice and as Magnolia took the field for theirs, we settled in on our bench to watch what is normally a perfunctory infield drill. This was not the case!

As each round of infield proceeded, the chatter and speed of the action increased. By the end of the session, Coach Cisar was hitting these “rocket shots” to his team who flawlessly fielded them and completed their throws.

With gaping mouths and bulging eyes, we just stared at each other knowing that we had never seen anything like this before. I am not sure about the outcome of that game, but I do remember what we had just witnessed was quite a show!

For over 33 years, I’ve been blessed to watch Dave Cisar coach baseball and football from my front porch. Back in the last century, I took a solo trip to baseball spring training to watch major leaguers practice. Fundamentals were stressed and there seemed to be as many coaches as players. All the little things that we take for granted like base running, bunting, cut off throws, etc. were practiced over and over. I couldn’t get enough of watching them practicing their craft. When I returned home, Magnolia had started Spring baseball practice and watching them brought back my Florida memories. Dave was doing most of the drills I’d seen the big leaguers do albeit it with far less staff. He had stations set up all over the field with multiple skills being taught and little standing around. It was a master class in coaching.

On a fourth down play in a critical play last season, Kansas City Chief coach, Andy Reid was lauded for calling a sprint out pass from Patrick Mahomes to Tyreek Hill. While some might have thought it was made up on the spot, you can bet they practiced it many times. The play triggered another memory. At the end of football practices, I would witness two time Kennedy Award winner Mark Cisar throw what seemed like a hundred sprint out passes to Cal Wilcox, Jerry Rice, Kenny Fisher and others. When done correctly the play is unstoppable. Dave stood patiently and watched until he felt it was done correctly. They did that every night. Another Magnolia quarterback, Aaron Cisar, told me he can throw that pass in his sleep. Like another baseball genius, Branch Rickey, once said, Good luck is what is left over after intelligence and effort have combined at their best. Luck is the residue of design.