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Booth Awarded Paul Walker Award For Contributions to Basketball

A Closer Look Into His Career

One Ohio state championship. Two Final Four appearances. Thirteen Suburban League titles. Over 450 career wins.

Now, the Paul Walker Award recipient.

All of these accomplishments have been made by Wadsworth High School girls varsity basketball coach, Andrew Booth. He has created a widely known winning culture at WHS, and there is no doubt that he has left a life long legacy at all the programs he has coached at.

Due to his passion for the game of basketball, Booth knew during his junior year in high school that he wanted to be a coach after his college years.

“One of the great things about coaching is that when you can no longer actually play the sport you are passionate about, you can still satisfy that competitive spirit,” Booth said.

Booth, after having a very successful high school career at Lucas High School, became a Malone University Pioneer standout through 1985-1989. He racked up a long list of accomplishments: being part of the college’s 1000 point club, All-Time Roster, which is a compiled list of arguably some of the best players that has seen the court of Osborne Hall, All-Time Rebounding List, All Mid-Ohio Conference team, NCCAA All-American, and the NCCAA All-Region team.

In 1989, Booth was awarded his first experience at coaching as an assistant boys basketball coach back at his college alma mater. His own basketball coach, Coach Hal Smith, gave him this opportunity for two years.

“The first year after my playing career was over, I still needed a couple of courses to finish my degree,” Booth said. “My head coach, Hal Smith, invited me to join the staff as a grad assistant. The second year I was a full time assistant. That is when I really knew that this was going to be a lifelong deal.”

After his experience at Malone University, he moved back home to Mansfield from Canton and was still eager to continue building his coaching resume. Booth got hired as the junior varsity boys head coach and varsity assistant coach at Mansfield St. Peter’s High School, a small basketball power school at the time. He had a successful two years there, taking his team to the regional finals both years.

After those short but victorious two years at Mansfield, Booth went on to be the assistant boys varsity coach at Crestline High School. He held this position for three years.

“It was another great learning experience,” Booth said. “Jim Bauer, the head coach, was a very organized coach and I still use a lot of what he taught me in terms of scouting opponents.”

Booth packed up his bags in Crestline and moved into two very unfamiliar positions: being a girls basketball coach and a head coach. Because Booth has now had many years of coaching experience, he felt as if he was ready to take over the reins of a program as the head coach. As for coaching girls, he had never really given that much thought.

“I had never given any thought to coaching on the girls side, but I thought I’d throw my name in the ring if for no other reason than to practice interviewing,” Booth said.

Booth had a long stay at Mansfield Madison for seven years, where he was the coach of many teams and hard working players. In the 2004-2005 season, he was named Coach of the Year of the Ohio Cardinal Conference.

Coach Booth coaching his team from the sidelines during the WHS girls varsity basketball game. He is entering his 19th season as head coach at WHS. Photo by Sydney Blake.

In his seven years, Booth had a winning record of 98-58, won multiple league championships, and made several district final appearances. Although the Mansfield Madison program gave him a successful first exposure as a girls varsity head coach, he ultimately made the decision to leave because of his family.

“The school district, at that time, had a difficult time passing levies,” Booth said. “Although it was ‘home’, I felt that with two young children, we needed to look at other, more stable options to raise our family.”

The “more stable option” for Booth and his family became Wadsworth, where he has now been head varsity girls coach for the past 18 years. Booth was offered the position in Spring 2005 after it was announced that Scott Callaghan, who had previously been coaching the girls, would be leaving.

“I knew enough about the girls program to know that they had been very strong in girls basketball, that the community had a fantastic reputation as being very supportive of the school and its teams, and that the district in general was highly rated,” Booth said.

It took Booth no time to adjust to the new program that he had taken over. In his first season at WHS, he led his team to the Ohio High Scholastic Athletic Association Final Four game at the Schottenstein Center in Columbus, Ohio. This team consisted of some of the best players that have played under the fluorescent lights in Wadsworth’s gymnasium. This was the program’s second Final Four appearance in history.

In the following season, his team went a perfect 13-0 in the Suburban League and had a 21-2 record for the entire season. These numbers are no surprise as Booth has won 13 Suburban League titles out of his 18 seasons.

Over the next few years, Booth continued to build his success story at WHS. In 2016, Booth brought his team back to the Schottenstein Center after a long ten years; this time, he and his team traveled home with precious cargo: a Division I OHSAA Championship trophy. The 2016 state championship team consisted of Wadsworth girl’s basketball local legend Jodi Johnson. Johnson had a record of 102-10 and 1,541 points scored while repping the white and red jerseys, along with being named to multiple Ohio teams.

Along with the talent of the team that fueled the state championship title, disappointments from years prior also gave the team a little more motivation to earn the second title in WHS girls basketball history. Prior to winning the title, the team had been regional runner up for four years straight. It was just a matter of time before they got to bring home some hardware back to Wadsworth.

“I think one of the things that got that group over the hump so to speak was the experiences and the failures that they had endured over the previous seasons,” Booth said. “I know that the 2016 group was able to learn from the disappointments, figure out ways to overcome prior obstacles, and was willing to work individually and collectively to make it happen. It was very rewarding to watch a team set that as a goal, work hard towards it, and then accomplish it.”

Booth was able to bring his team back to Columbus in 2018 for another Final Four appearance. They lost to Solon in the semi finals.

With all of Booth’s success as being a high school basketball coach, it was announced that he was the 2024 Paul Walker Award recipient. The Paul Walker Award is annually presented by the Ohio High School Basketball Coaches Association to an active coaching member of the association who has made a significant impact and contributions to high school basketball.

“As an award given by your fellow coaches in the state, it is a reflection of our program as a whole, which has been highly respected since way before I got here,” Booth said.

Mark Postak, the girls varsity assistant coach, has worked with the girls basketball program for 33 years. He was here the very first day Booth walked into Wadsworth’s gymnasium, ready to take over and put his own touch onto the program.

“Coach Booth does a great job of relating to the players he coaches,” Postak said. “He is very detail orientated when it comes to scouting reports, getting information, and preparing the team for what they are going to see in games. He is one of the best coaches around as far as being far and trying to work with players to become their best.”

Postak has had the opportunity to watch Booth grow as a coach and establish his legacy at WHS.

“He is very dedicated to high school’s girls basketball, whether it’s running youth clinics during the summer, and doing them across the state of Ohio, to being in a leadership role on the Northeast District Board,” Postak said. “He does so much and he excels at everything that he does.”

Booth is now entering his 19th year of coaching at WHS.

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About the Contributor
Sydney Blake, Sports Editor
Sydney Blake is a senior and has been on the Bruin staff for two years. This year, she is Sports Editor. She plays varsity soccer for the high school. She is a part of various clubs and activities at WHS, like being an active member of the National Honors Society, teaching 4th graders the dangers of drugs, alcohol, and peer pressure with the HUDDLE program, and being a Peer Mentor for the freshmen class. After high school, she plans to attend college to study biochemistry and create a future for herself in the medical field. She is a huge Taylor Swift fan and loves going to country concerts in the summer.
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