The talking stage to find the new Wooster High School football coach has begun. The closing date for applications was Jan. 9, with 40 official resumes turned in. There were a handful of informal conversations with other coaches who didn’t make a formal application, but the search has been narrowed to eight.
“I’m certainly satisfied with the number of applicants and pleased with the quality of applicants we had,” said Wooster High athletic director Andy Kellar. “We’re going to start interviewing this week. As the process was going on, we looked at and reviewed (applications) … and placed people into a separate pool.”
Interviews with the final eight began Wednesday, Jan. 11, and were expected to take a week to be completed. Of the final eight, three were internal applicants from the staff of former Wooster coach Mike McCreary, who resigned in December after 13 years as head coach. Those three are former players for the Generals – freshman coach Andy Nicholson, Mark Hart and Pat Meenan.
Kellar expects the first-round talks to be completed by the end of January. The other five include several names familiar to area fans, including one out-of-stater. That is Tim Seder, the brother of former Waynedale coach and AD Bill Seder, who is currently defensive coordinator at West Mesquite High School in Texas. Seder played in the NFL, having suited up for the Dallas Cowboys and Jacksonville Jaguars.
Current Cloverleaf coach Doug Haas, who was head coach at Triway and Rittman and took both of those programs into the playoffs, was also selected for the first round. Luke Durbin, currently an assistant at Massillon and whose father is head coach at Uniontown Lake in the Federal League, has also made the final eight.
Smithville assistant coach Brent Besancon, who was head coach at Rittman and New London, and Chris Solis, former head coach at Shelby High School, round out the group.
That group will be reduced to three for the second round of conversations, “although we’ll try to nail to three, but if it’s four, it’s four; or if it’s two, then it’ll be two. We’ll try to nail it down to three and move to the second round,” said Kellar.
When the application period ended at 4 p.m. Jan. 9, “we met as a team for two hours,” said Kellar. “The ones we removed from the entire pool and were the ones we wanted to look at further … and I confirmed (they remained interested) Tuesday afternoon to go to the first-round interviews.”
Kellar, Wooster High principal Anita Jorney-Gifford, associate principal Tyler Keener and Edgewood athletic director John Karamas will handle the first-round interviews. The second round will include Kellar, Jorney-Gifford, Rich Leone, director of secondary education and Edgewood principal Rod Hopton, with Superintendent Michael Tefs stepping into the educational piece of the second-round interviews.
Beyond the applications, Kellar spent considerable time talking to people around Ohio well before the Jan. 9 deadline rolled around.
“We have done due diligence through this process and we’ve communicated with lots of coaches, ADs and principals to find the best possible candidate. First and foremost, we’re hiring an educator, someone to teach our kids,” said Kellar.
“If the timeline works, I hope to have the process completed by the end of the month and the new head coach in place by the end of January and board approved,” he added. “It’s important to get it done, but it’s more important to get it right. That doesn’t mean we’re going to rush it through. If it’s not by the end of January and it’s the first of February, that’s fine, too.
“I want to find the right person and second is getting it done in a timely fashion so to have stability and direction in our program.”
Published: January 12, 2012