Zach Ison, Clermont Northeastern schools and Clermont County sports legend, retires

Zach Ison
Zach Ison is retiring as an educator of the Clermont Northeastern School District. One of Clermont County’s highly regarded sports legends is a 1976 graduate of Clermont Northeastern High School.

He began his college education at Glenville State College in West Virginia where he majored in health and physical education and played football for two years. He transferred to Wilmington College where he majored in the same course of study.

He began his teaching career for the Blanchester School District where he taught health and phys. ed. and coached football as a varsity assistant and coached wrestling. After one year there he went to Santa Fe, Tx., to teach at the intermediate school there and to coach football and track and field.

He returned to his high school alma mater beginning with the 1984-85 school year.

While a student athlete, himself, at CNE, he was a Clermont County League all-star in both football and track and field and he was also a standout member of the wrestling program.

“Early on I had mixed feelings about returning to Northeastern because the elder faculty members still treated me as one of the kids. . . I taught health and phys. ed. and I coached football, wrestling, track, and weight training.

“Teaching and coaching has been a very great experience. I enjoyed seeing the kids understand and learn.

“I’m from a family of educators. My dad (Alton) was an administrator in Milford and my mom (Patricia) taught second grade.

“I have great highlights of my memories from sports. I got to coach at my alma mater and coached wrestling at the state tournament in St. John Arena and the Schottenstein Center in Columbus. I got to coach my son Jacob at the state tournament three times. I got to work with my brother Scott (himself, a Clermont County League football and wrestling all-star). That was great and we loved working together because we knew what we expected from each other. I just wish that could have lasted longer than four years.”

He also mentioned his pride in coaching and winning the state championship in the Presidential Physical Fitness Team Award competition four seasons at Northeastern including the last two school years.

Ison is a good family man. He and his wife, Jennifer, are the parents of Jacob (24 years of age) and Josh (22-years of age) who, too, were outstanding student-athletes.

He added he has been coaching for the USA Wrestling program six years. It is a youth feeder program for the United States Olympic development program. And he has been the head coach for the Junior Greco Wrestling program for Ohio.

Two of the major influences in his career as as an educator and as an athlete have been his parents, his coach at Clermont Northeastern who is the legendary John Washko, and Joan Ballbach, a many-year educator in the Northeastern School District who Ison says is “a very great person to work with and be a friend with.” Ballbach was very instrumental in the formation of and the selection committee of the Clermont Northeastern High School Sports Hall of Fame of which Ison is a member..

With all of the many good and solid years of positive influences in Northeastern and Clermont County, Ison concluded, “I’d like people to remember me as a good teacher and coach.”

You most certainly will Zach Ison. You most certainly will.