Two Brookfield High alumni recently were inducted into the Curbstone Coaches Hall of Fame, which recognizes contributions to Mahoning Valley athletics.
The Curbstone Coaches are “a truly iconic organization,” said John Zebroski, honored for his amateur and professional golfing career, in comments read by Brookfield High athletic director Tim Taylor.
Zebroski did not attend the May 1 banquet.
“It is quite amazing that we are both entering together,” Zebroski said in reference to fellow inductee Tim Filipovich, who was honored for his long career as girls basketball coach at Brookfield High.
Zebroski said he “has always looked up to Tim as a football player, golfer, coach and finally a school administrator. He is truly deserving of this honor.”
Filipovich said his induction is a reflection of the work and support of many people, including his parents, his wife and kids, coaches he played under, coached with and who assisted him, and his players.
A contingent of former players attended the banquet, but also surprised him a day before with a gathering at Yankee Run Golf Course in Brookfield.
“I know I talked about paying it forward,” Filipovich said. “Each one of those young ladies are paying it forward. I’m just blessed to be a part of their lives. They shared some things with me the last couple of days that will go with me to my grave, on how proud I am of them and what they were able to accomplish.”
A coach often sees something in members of the team that they don’t necessarily see in themselves. Filipovich said former Brookfield football coach Jack Arvin did that for him.
Filipovich noted that he only started three games as Brookfield’s quarterback in his senior year. But, he showed Arvin something that Arvin thought others also would see.
“Two of my friends were going up to visit Bluffton,” which was then a college, and is now a university, “and they were really good football players, and Coach Arvin asked me in study hall, on the Friday before they were going, ‘Do you want to go up to Bluffton with us?’” Filipovich said. “I said, ‘Heck yeah, why not?’ I said, ‘I’ll go up, have a couple beers, hang out with some college kids.”
Filipovich recalled that he “threw a few passes” in the Bluffton gym while he was there.
Two weeks later, Arvin informed Flipovich that Bluffton Coach Roger Bixel wanted him to play football at Bluffton. Filipovich ended up lettering all four years at Bluffton.
“If it wasn’t for Jack Arvin seeing something in me that I didn’t see in myself, I’d never be standing up here today,” Filipovich said. “Jack, thank you very much. I love you.”
Filipovich played golf and football at Brookfield – he’s a 1971 graduate – and Bluffton, and was inducted into the Brookfield Warrior Hall of Fame in 2011, and the Bluffton College Athletic Hall of Fame in 2001. He coached or was an assistant coach for the golf, football and boys and girls basketball teams before being named head coach of the girls basketball team in 1981. His 22-year record was 328-162 and included an appearance in the state championship game in 1990.
Zebroski, a 1974 graduate, played golf and basketball in high school. As a high school golfer, he qualified for three state regional competitions. He played golf at the University of Florida and Youngstown State University, and was Player of the Year in the 1979 Mid-Continent Conference Golf Championship. Zebroski is the only YSU Penguin to be named All-American First-Team. Zebroski competed professionally for three years, and qualified for the U.S. Golf Championship. He regained amateur status in 1985, and competed in amateur tournaments through the early 2000s.
The honor put Filipovich and Zebroski in company with past inductees such as Brooklyn Dodger George Shuba, boxer Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini, Pittsburgh Steeler Jerry Olsavsky, Ohio State All-American Marcus Marek – a Brookfield graduate – and auto racer Lou Blaney.