Milestone met at smaller venues

Dave B intz arrived at 500 victories by erecting programs at Christian schools.

Published January 16, 2007

CLEARWATER - Dave Bintz's first coaching job in 1975 proved prophetic.

As a 22-year-old graduate of Cedarville College (Ohio), Bintz took a jack-of-all-trades position at Engleside Christian School in Alexandria, Va. There, Bintz was athletic director, taught physical education (K-12) and coached basketball, baseball and soccer.

Bintz even drove the morning bus.

"When you're young, you feel like you can do it all," said Bintz, now Calvary Christian's boys basketball coach and athletic director. "You've gotta do what you've gotta do."

That has been the mantra for Bintz in his 32 years of coaching as he built several small Christian school programs from scratch. Along the way, Bintz drove buses, cleaned carpets and sometimes held practices in converted bus garages.

Bintz's path to his 500th win (which he earned, 47-44 over Oldsmar Christian in overtime on Friday), contrasts with that of Clearwater girls coach Tom Shaneyfelt, who has steered a public school powerhouse.

Bintz, a 53-year-old New Jersey native, never played high school ball because Christian schools, in those days, offered few - if any - sports.

"I wanted to give kids opportunities I never had," Bintz said. "That was my passion."

'Not going quietly'

The name "Calvary Christian School" is painted near the left fender of Bintz's banged-up, blue 1978 Chevy Caprice.

Bintz, a fiery coach with an otherwise introverted personality, lets loose through his love of stock-car racing. From 2000-02, his first two years at Calvary, he would whip around the quarter-mile track at Sunshine Speedway. Along with coaching, stock-car driving and surfing serve as sanctuaries for the prostate cancer survivor.

"I may be getting older," Bintz said, "but I'm not going quietly."

Bintz arrived at Calvary when it opened in 2000 after 11 years at Northside Christian. There, he took a program without a winning season in eight years to a 24-6 finish in the 1994-95 season, when he was named Class 2A Coach of the Year.

Calvary didn't have a full-time AD position open when Bintz started, so he spent half the day with the maintenance crew, cleaning carpets and setting up chairs for church groups (at 1 p.m, he'd start his AD duties).

Calvary won its first game against Oldsmar Christian in 2000. So it was fitting that, for Bintz's 500th, the Warriors beat the Eagles.

"It's like everything came full circle," Bintz said of beating Oldsmar. "It's been a heck of a ride."