These are always the hardest things to write – tributes to great people who are taken way too soon. Unfortunately it seems as if things like this happen way too often, but maybe it’s magnified because Covington is such a small town where everyone knows each other.
Kevin Finfrock —- the son of George and Terry Finfrock and a member of the Covington Athletic Hall of Fame and Defiance College Athletic Hall of Fame — passed away unexpectedly on Sunday, January 27, 2019 at his home in West Milton.
Kevin was a 1981 graduate of Covington High School and a standout athlete in football, basketball and track. He was a member of the 1979 state runner-up football team, the 1980 state semi-finalist football team, the 1981 basketball team that finished 24-1 and reached the regional final, and was a member of the 1981 state runner-up 4×100 relay team who still holds the school record in a time of 43.88. In 1980 Finfrock rushed for 1,298 yards, which at the time was the second highest single season rushing total in school history behind Denny Cain’s 1,354 yards in 1971.
Finfrock went on to play collegiate football at Defiance, where he was NAIA All-American as a sophomore, junior and senior. He was also named Male Athlete of the Year in 1984 and 1985.
“Kevin was a beast in college,” said Roger Craft, the former Covington Athletic Director, head basketball coach and long-time friend of Finfrock. “We were at Defiance at the same time and I’m telling you, Kevin was the team. He was the Wild Cat before the Wild Cat. They’d do everything they could to get him the ball, even if it meant a direct snap.”
After college Finfrock had several tryouts with NFL teams for before hanging up his cleats for good.
“In high school and college you get hit, but in the NFL you stay hit,” Kevin once said about his NFL tryout experience. “The NFL is a man’s game.”
After his playing days were over, Finfrock got into teaching and coaching in order to pass on his passion for the game of football to others. And after a stint at Piqua High School as an assistant coach under legendary coach Bill Nees, Finfrock joined Ted Peacock’s coaching staff as the offensive coordinator at Covington in 1999.
“Kevin was a brilliant offensive mind and I was a defensive guy,” said Peacock. “I let him take care of the offense and boy were we tough to stop.”
During Peacock’s tenure with Finfrock as the offensive coordinator, Covington compiled an amazing 42-5 record and qualified for the state playoffs in 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2002.
“That was the start of the dominance Covington has had in football over the past twenty years or so,” Peacock said. “Kevin was a big part of establishing that winning culture.”
Coach Peacock stepped down after the 2002 season and Finfrock took over the helm after many players, coaches and supporters went to a school board meeting on April 30, 2003 to express their desire to have Kevin become the new head football coach.
“I remember that time and there were a lot of politics involved,” Peacock explained. “Everyone knew Kevin should be the next head coach, including me – and the kids went to bat for him.”
And after a 5-0 vote from the school board, Kevin Finfrock realized a dream of becoming the 14th head coach at the school where he himself was once a standout player.
“I’m touched by the support I received,” Finfrock said at the time. “This is something I’ve always dreamed about. I’ve coached as an assistant for many years and now to become head coach at Covington, a school where I played my high school ball, it’s a great honor.”
Finfrock coached the Buccaneers for four seasons, accumulating a 34-9 record and leading his teams to the state playoffs in 2003, 2005 and 2006. During his tenure Kevin founded the annual “Kids Camp”, the annual “Lift-A-Thon” and was instrumental in the construction of the weight room in 2005.
“He did a lot for the kids at Covington,” Craft said. “That weight room was his baby and he started the Lift-A-Thon. I can remember him walking into the school with these trophies that were bigger than he is and when I asked him what they were for he told me about the Lift-A-Thon.”
For Finfrock, it was the impact he had on kids that meant the most to him.
“He always worried about whether or not he was reaching the kids,” Peacock explained. “The thing about coaching is you never really know how much you were able to reach kids until well after they graduate. He was able to impact a lot of kids and I know that meant a lot to him.”
After his coaching tenure at Covington was over in 2006, Kevin focused on the most important thing in his life – his family. He and his wide Diana became spectators at sporting events of their three children Kaci, Jake and Jessi – all standouts at Milton Union High School.