Westfall's final season coaching the Greenville seventh grade girls basketball team in Dec. 2021. (Gaylen Blosser photo)

Westfall retires after 42 years

GREENVILLE— After coaching and teaching for 42 years, Dave Westfall is retiring.

Known as “Westy” to students, players, parents, and just about everyone, it’s hard to find someone he hasn’t either coached or taught in the community.

Westfall, 64, graduated from Greenville in 1976, and went on to graduate from Bluffton University in 1980. Since then he’s taught third, fourth and fifth grade at Greenville City Schools for 39 years, and taught fifth and sixth grade for three years at Tri-Village Local School District.

Over the last 42 years, he’s coached thousands of athletes, on the following teams: Tri-Village varsity girls golf, assisted Greenville varsity boys golf, Greenville eighth grade football, Greenville junior high boys basketball, Greenville junior high girls basketball, Tri-Village junior high girls basketball, Greenville junior varsity girls basketball, Franklin-Monroe varsity girls basketball, Ansonia varsity girls basketball, Greenville varsity track, Greenville junior high boys and girls cross country, Greenville junior high boys and girls track and Ansonia junior high girls track.

As a track and cross country coach, he’s won over 130 trophies, including 18 league championships. But if you ask him and his past players, the wins aren’t what’s important, only that they had a coach beside them telling them they could do it.

“They don’t mention trophies,” Westfall said. “No one cares about that. Here’s my favorite quote, ‘Sometimes you achieve more than you thought possible because someone else believed in you.’ That’s what I tell the kids.”

No one knows that better than Natea Davidson. Davidson, 19, had Westfall as a seventh and eighth grade basketball coach at Greenville, and said ever since then his belief in her has never wavered.

“I was a very troubled and unruly child,” she said. “I had never played basketball before. The first day I walked into tryouts Westfall immediately was drawn to me and he just went out of his way to make me feel so special. I could hardly walk and hold a basketball, let alone play basketball. Yet that man kept me through tryouts, he saw the world in me. He even let me coach with him through my high school years, pulled me out of trouble, has gotten me jobs, the whole nine-yards.”

Now in his final year at Greenville K-8 teaching third grade math, science and social studies, Westfall said his teaching style is not centered around tests, but revolves around project-based learning. This includes math lessons where he teaches students how to deal with real life finances, or a geometry unit in which students build and design a water park.

Westfall said at the end of the year, students never remember all the homework and tests they took. Only that their teachers cared for them and taught them to be thankful, kind and never give up.

In his retirement, Westfall said there will be a lot of golf and a lot of family time.

“I have 10 grandkids with one on the way,” he said. “I literally missed some of my grandkid kids’ basketball games because I had sports stuff, and that’s when I knew I would try to step back. I’m gonna go to their games. I bird watch and I play golf constantly. There’s gonna be a lot more golf, a lot more family time.”

Westfall made it a point to thank the community, and the entire county, for all the support and love he’s received over the past 42 years.

“As you coach you get end of the year thank you’s and cards, but as you get into your career, you don’t realize how everyone is thankful and supportive. I have received tons of letters and cards on retirement. Looking back it’s hard to imagine I’ve coached over 3,000 athletes, and how fast the time went.”

Westfall with team photos from over the years. (Top) His final Greenville seventh grade girls basketball team. (Bottom) Westfall's wife Angie put together this board of over 30 teams he coached in the past.
Westfall's final season coaching the Greenville seventh grade girls basketball team. (Gaylen Blosser photo)

Abigail Miller / Editor

Abigail Miller is a Greenville native, Kent State graduate, writer, crocheter, shopaholic and friend. Contact Darke County Now Reporter Abigail Miller at amiller@darkecountynow.com.

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