SHEFFIELD TWP. — Dave Dorinski, a 1979 Clearview graduate and standout athlete who came back to his alma mater to turn its volleyball program around, died Thursday morning.
Dorinski, 53, had suffered a mild stroke in November, but Clearview athletic director Mike Collier said Dorinski seemed on the road to recovery.
“He’d lost a lot of weight and was doing a lot better,” Collier said. “I think the stroke put a scare into him. He went through therapy and he was doing quite well, driving again and getting back to normal.”
“He was really active in Advanced Volleyball. He was eating right, doing some walking and was happy being around the kids again … and this came out of nowhere.”
The news struck the school hard. While a successful coach, Dorinski was also one of the best all-around athletes the Clippers ever produced.
“I remember Dave as a student and an athlete at Clearview,” said longtime Clearview boys basketball and assistant football coach John Szalay, also a Clearview grad.
“He was a tremendous football player and track runner and even played basketball a little bit. I was at the game where he set our rushing record back in 1978 when he was a senior. Back then, that was the (Lorain) county record as well. “He was a real tough, typical Clearview kid. He was a typical Clearview athlete growing up and for him to come back as an adult and turn around the volleyball program says a lot.”
Dorinski’s 358-yard performance ranks fourth best in the county these days but is still No. 1 at Clearview.
“We’ve had a lot of great running backs here at Clearview over the years, but yet Dave’s name is still at the top of our list,” said Collier, who is also the Clippers’ football coach. “That’s tremendous. He was a part of a state championship relay team here at Clearview in 1977.
“He was a great friend and great coach. It’s going to be difficult to imagine the volleyball games without him on the sideline. He did some outstanding things as a coach and as an athlete, but even more so, he was just a great person.”
Elyria Catholic volleyball coach Jennifer Lee spoke highly of Dorinski.
“He’s just the first person who would to go up to a person in need and help, whether it was a new coach or a new player,” Lee said. “He had a heart of gold and he’s going to be so missed, I can’t even tell you.
“He was such a famed athlete at Clearview, and when he’d tell me the stories, I’d say, ‘Come on, Dave,’ but they were all true. I was hoping to see a glimpse of that Dave. It’s just devastating.”
Dorinski not only coached Clearview’s volleyball program the past nine years, but also ran the summer beach volleyball league at Lorain’s Lakeview Park and was a local coach for Advance and Junior Olympic volleyball.
“I don’t really know a lot about him personally, but I know a lot about him as a coach,” Elyria volleyball coach Jodie Johnson said. “If I could describe him, for me, he was an amazing loyal coach. He loved what he did and he dedicated so much of his time for the sport that we love.
“I admire the fact that he gave up so much for the sport of volleyball. The girls that are a part of the Advanced Volleyball program from Elyria are hurting right now. He loved what he did and he loved working with the girls on behalf of Elyria and the girls from Elyria. I know their hearts are broken right now.”
Collier and his staff broke the news to the Clearview volleyball team Thursday morning.
“It was very difficult this morning when we found out,” he said.
Lee remembered her team’s last match against Clearview.
“The last time we played Clearview, he came up to me and said, ‘Jennifer, where are your flags?’” she said.
“I told him the referees usually provide the flags. He shook his head and he reached into his bag and pulled out his flags and said, ‘You can use these ones.’ Now, I’ll cherish those flags forever.”
Collier said Dorinski was a genuine fan of the other sports programs at Clearview and passed that along to his girls.
“He was just real supportive,” Collier said. “He was always asking me about the football team. He’d have his girls come up to our practices and games. He understood what the Clearview spirit was about and promoted the kids being close.
“We’d take the entire football team to volleyball games and cheer them on. He exuded the Clearview spirit of family first.”
Szalay echoed that statement.
“It’s a tough loss for the whole Clearview family, that’s for sure,” Szalay said. “He cared about the kids. He wasn’t a guy who liked to take credit for things. Our volleyball program wasn’t that successful before he got here, but he’s done great things with that program.
“My condolences go out to him and his family. They were supportive of Clearview in many ways over the years.”
Contact Dan Gilles at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.