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Maumee’s Doug Everhart Leaves Distinct Soccer Legacy With His Passing

Doug Everhart recently passed away after coaching soccer in Maumee for more than 20 years. He most recently led the Panthers boys varsity team to a 10-7-3 record this fall. PHOTO COURTESY OF MAUMEE CITY SCHOOLS

BY ANDY ROWER | MIRROR SPORTS — Maumee lost one of its most beloved coaches on October 31, when longtime Maumee soccer coach Doug Everhart passed away unexpectedly at his home at the age of 52. Everhart was a graduate of Springfield Shawnee High School and Adrian College, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in business with a focus in accounting. He began his coaching career in 1988 and ended up coaching more than 60 teams in all. Everhart organized and trained in more than 50 camps and clinics in several different states, with previous administrative experience with Perrysburg Soccer Club, Toledo Celtics and Maumee Youth Soccer Association/Express and over 20 years in Northwest Ohio Youth Soccer League, Ohio Youth Soccer Association, Region II Recreational Board and U.S. Youth Soccer Recreational Board. He had been with the Maumee Express club team since 1996. A 2016 Maumee graduate and three-time All-Northern Lakes League selection, Hunter Thomasson was one of many players on Everhart’s Express teams. “I had the best season of my life with him as my coach,” he said. “Our team went undefeated and had zero goals scored against us. It was one of my favorite teams I have ever been on.” A two-time NLL selection and current Panthers junior, Braden Wagener played on Everhart’s Express teams for six years. “He was a great coach who saw potential in all players and strived to make them the best they could be,” he said. “Doug made soccer beyond enjoyable and made me the player I am today. I greatly appreciate all the time he spent making us better people on and off the field.” Fellow junior NLL selection Sam LaChapelle also played for Everhart for many years. “I have really only played for two coaches in my life,” he said. “Playing for him was fun. He knew so much about the game. He taught me as a player to know every aspect of the game and to analyze the game as it was happening, so that was his specialty – and he really cared about it.” Everhart was the Panthers’ junior varsity girls coach under Steve Kikolski from 2002 to 2010 and was Maumee’s varsity boys coach for the past eight seasons. He helped Kikolski’s girls teams to an overall record 93-53-28. Those squads ended up playing in six sectional championship games. “In 2002 I was looking for a junior varsity/varsity assistant coach for the Maumee High School women’s soccer team,” Kikolski said. “I approached Mike Whitacre to fill the position and he pointed across the field to a guy he said I should talk to instead. “The man was playing soccer volleyball in flip-flops, shorts, a tie-dye shirt and a floppy hat. When Mike described him as the man with the most soccer knowledge in the entire area, I think my response was ‘Really? Him?’ “Obviously, that was my first impression of Doug and through the next 15 years – he never changed. Doug was Doug and there will never be anyone else like him. He knew soccer, but he also knew how to convey ideas to his players. He was strict but fair, tough but thoughtful, serious but a jokester.” Kikolski’s Panthers went on to go 43-8-4 over the next three years – playing in the district semifinals each time. As Maumee’s boys coach, Everhart led his teams to 62 wins, eight sectional final appearances, three district final appearances and a regional semifinal appearance. The regional semifinal appearance came when the 2013 Panthers posted an overall record of 12-6-1. Maumee science teacher Chris West assisted Everhart for each of the past eight seasons. “Coaching with Doug was great,” he said. “The younger players always knew him from MYSA and Express. Starting their high school careers off with a good relationship was beneficial for a lot of them. “On a personal level, I was always amazed at how much he gave to the Maumee community. He would go from our two-hour school practices straight to two other Express practices. His passion for the game and his players was something I’ll always try to emulate.” Alex Wagener, a former first-team All-Ohio forward who was on that 2013 squad – and who is a current Tiffin Dragon – remembers Everhart welcoming him back to Maumee after attending St. Francis during his freshman and sophomore years. “He treated me as if I had always been a Panther and from our first conversation we shared great banter amongst one another,” Alex Wagener said. “He made the game enjoyable and he brought us together so that we all wanted to win for one another.” Thomasson said Everhart made him both nervous and excited to start at goalkeeper as a freshman. “He was a big jokester, so he told all of the guys that I was top-10, with no other information with it,” he said. “So, coming into the year, I gained the nickname ‘Top-10.’ That’s what all the guys called me. “Doug always made nicknames for people and they usually stuck. He made a connection with us. Even though he was our coach, he would joke around with us and have a lot of fun.” One word brought up by Everhart’s former players over and over again when talking about his coaching style is “unorthodox.” “I would agree that Doug had some unorthodox methods as a coach, but of all the coaches I had, the biggest things I learned from Doug’s style is to always trust the process and believe in the coach’s plan,” Alex Wagener said. “He gave us all the confidence to win and I never felt out of place.” Thomasson said Everhart had a different coaching style for each team. “Some years he ran us a lot, where others we would work more on skills we needed,” he said. “He knew how to work with teams of any variety.” LaChapelle agreed with the unorthodox term, saying, “At times, you wonder why you are doing this or ‘what is Doug thinking,’ but in time you realized he was setting us up for success.” Braden Wagener concurred. “Doug coached a bit differently than any other of my previous coaches,” he said. “Learning from him made me look at other aspects of soccer, which made me improve my game.” Everhart’s obvious commitment and enthusiasm did not go unnoticed by opposing coaches. “I always admired his passion and dedication to the sport and players,” said Anthony Wayne varsity boys soccer coach Brian Billings. “His teams were always well coached and worked hard regardless of the score. I enjoyed a good banter with him these past six years.” Northview coach Mark Del Verne agreed. “I always loved how Doug was simultaneously all about the sport of soccer and the kids that played the game,” he said. “I loved that he had no ego invested in the results of a competition – that it was all about the boys.” His well-earned reputation as a great coach on the field was equaled only by Everhart’s larger-than-life personality off the field. “In 15 years, I don’t remember ever having a conversation with Doug Everhart that didn’t make me laugh at least once, but at the same time he taught me so much about soccer and life,” Kikolski said. West called Everhart a “character” off the field. “He was an outgoing person with a larger-than-life personality,” he said. “Regardless of the situation, he always had a story to tell. I’ll definitely miss that about him.” His former players echoed that sentiment. “Off the pitch, Doug was most definitely the heart of the team,” Alex Wagener said. “He always had his one catchphrase that was locked and loaded and it seemed as if he had a go-to joke for every player. “For the years I spent at Maumee, some of my best memories involved Doug and the way he brought a group of guys together and allowed us to love the game to the fullest.” Thomasson called Everhart “an amazing man.” “When I would see him outside of practice or game situations, we had long conversations,” he said. “He was a funny man that always had a joke for everything. It was what he did best. He always made people laugh. The conversations usually stuck around a lot of soccer talk about certain teams, long-term goals or the upcoming season, but no matter what, I could always sit down and talk to him.” Braden Wagener called Everhart “a funny and easygoing guy” who “loved to crack jokes.” Expanding on that thought, LaChapelle said, “Doug’s personality off the field was like no other. He loved to crack jokes and have a lot of fun. If Doug didn’t make fun of you or make a joke about you at least once, he must have not liked you very much. That is what I liked about him – he was so funny.” John Wooden once said, “A good coach can change a game. A great coach can change a life.” Doug Everhart left a legacy of life-changing coaching, as described by his fellow coaches and players below: Steve Kikolski “Doug affected so many people in a positive way and is completely irreplaceable. I’m sure he is in heaven right now calmly explaining to soccer officials all the calls they missed through the years. Maumee will never be the same. We will miss him greatly.” Sam LaChapelle “I think what should be remembered about Doug is how giving he was. He affected so many people and has done so much for soccer in the Maumee and surrounding areas. He created soccer camps, was involved with MYSA, coached many Express teams and has been a part of coaching Maumee High School teams for a long time – and has been a part of a lot of good ones. He really put everyone else first. A lot of people are going to miss him a lot, including me.” Hunter Thomasson “I think Doug should be remembered for all the lives that he touched and the lives that he changed. He showed so many people, from kids to teens, how to love the game like he loved it. I wouldn’t be at my skill level if I didn’t have Doug as a coach. I will always remember him every time I step onto the field because I know he is still with me.” Alex Wagener “I believe when people think of Doug Everhart that they shouldn’t just reflect on his last eight years, but his legacy that is Maumee soccer. People like me, young and older, were given a chance to play in our city because of his dedication. I could not have thrived as well as I did at Maumee if Doug did not allow me to be who I was and express myself on the pitch. So, when it comes to Maumee soccer and the legends that have come from it, my name shouldn’t even be close to as important as Doug Everhart and his legacy.” Braden Wagener “The one thing people should remember Doug by is that he dedicated his life to soccer. He spent so many hours working with us on becoming a better team. He developed many players and has coached a multitude of teams. Doug was involved heavily with Maumee soccer and shaped it to what it is today. He was truly a model coach that everyone should look up to.” Chris West “Doug leaves an immeasurable legacy in Maumee and the greater Toledo area. I have heard from so many current and former coaches and referees who all knew Doug and were influenced by him in some way. He lived and breathed soccer, but I think his real legacy is how he treated everyone. He respected all of his players, referees and coaches. That’s not a trait that a lot of people have. Of all the lessons I’ve learned from Doug, I’d say that’s the most important. He not only said to treat everyone the right way, but when you watched him, he actually lived it. That’s why he’ll be so greatly missed here in Maumee.”

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