Irish give Latham 400th victory

Central coach one of only four in state to reach rare milestone.

Irish senior Calum Latham scored three goals in the first half, his first coming 1 minute, 21 seconds into the match, to spark Catholic Central’s 7-0 victory over Xenia Christian in a Division III sectional final game.

Shane Latham became the fourth boys soccer coach to win 400 games, joining Chagrin Falls’ Mario Gerhardt (451 wins), Walsh Jesuit’s John Kissner (448) and Findlay’s Albert Laux (413). Centerville girls soccer coach Don Skelton is the all-time leader with 461 victories.

“It’s the culmination of a lot of years and a lot of games at Central,” Shane Latham said. “It’s nice to get it in a game of significance like this, in the sectional finals. It was a good performance. I’m happy to get it.”

The Irish (16-2-1) advance to play Bethel (17-1) in a D-III district final match at Bellbrook High School at 4:30 p.m. Saturday.

Shane Latham said the goal was to put the game out of reach as quickly as possible. They led 4-0 at the half.

“We wanted to jump ahead early if we could, especially playing against the wind,” Shane Latham said, “ and I felt we did.”

Calum Latham had three goals, pushing his state record total to 197. The hat trick set a new school record for goals in a season with 58, breaking the mark he set last season. He needs four more goals to tie the unofficial state record for goals in a single season of 62, set by Ryan Pore of Mansfield Madison Comprehensive in 2001.

However, the son said the night belonged to his father, who was awarded a plaque by Irish athletic director Dan Shay after the game.

“It’s great,” said Calum Latham, who’ll play at Xavier University next season. “I’m so proud of him for accomplishing that feat. I’m really happy for him, and I’m really happy I got to be on the field for it.”

Senior goalkeeper Chip Samuelson, who needs one more shutout to tie the school record of 14 he set last fall, agreed with his teammate.

“I was just happy to be on the field,” Samuelson said. “It’s pretty monumental.”

Shane Latham’s career record is 400-85-39 with a .763 winning percentage. He said he couldn’t have achieved the mark without a strong group of players and assistant coaches in his program.

“I look back on all the years and all the players and all the coaches’ who’ve coached with me as well,” Shane Latham said. “I give a lot of credit to them. It’s been a great 26 years.”

He needs 51 more wins to pass Gerhardt, but is unsure how long he’ll coach.

The main goal is to keep advancing in the tournament. They’ll face Bethel for the second straight season after beating them 4-1 in the regional semifinals last season.

“We’re in the last 32 teams in the state and we’re playing for a spot in the last 16,” Shane Latham said. “You know it’s going to be a tough game. It always is. The team is playing well and we’ve got as good a chance as anybody.”

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