Madison-Plains hires football coach
By Chris Miles
The search for a new varsity football coach at Madison-Plains High School (MPHS) has come to an end.
The Golden Eagles have tabbed Jason Hunt as their new gridiron boss, the hire was approved by the Madison-Plains School Board Tuesday night.
The new coach has spent time in recent years as an assistant at Washington Court House and Miami Trace high schools and has a pretty good idea about what MPHS has to offer.
“He’s a local guy,” Golden Eagles director of athletics Matt Mason said. “He lives in Mt. Sterling, has three kids in the school district and is actually a graduate of Madison-Plains.”
Mason believes Hunt’s experiences as a defensive assistant coach at Washington and an assistant defensive coordinator at Trace has prepared him well for his first head coaching gig with the Eagles.
“We just loved his energy and his personality,” Mason said. “He’s an upbeat guy. The kind of guy we think will build upon what (former coach) Mike (Siders) built. It’s an exciting time for us.”
Hunt’s enthusiasm for his new job was bubbling over just hours after officially taking the reins.
“I’m thrilled about this opportunity,” Hunt said. “When I was in high school I talked about coming back here and coaching. Now did I think it was really going to happen? I’ve always wanted to be a coach and to get a chance to be the head coach at Madison-Plains is exciting.”
The Golden Eagles football program showed major signs of improvement over the past couple years, which included a 4-0 start last season. But key injuries derailed the fast start and Plains finished the year 4-6.
Siders resigned his position shortly after the season ended in order to spend more time with his family.
The work the former coach put into building the overall strength and conditioning of the team is something Hunt said will be a key going forward.
“Coach Siders did some really good things in those areas and we’ll need to keep working on them,” he said.
Hunt, 38, comes aboard at a time of change for the entire athletic department at Plains.
The Golden Eagles and rival London are leaving the South Central Ohio League and will begin play this fall in the new Mid-State League Ohio Division. Other schools in the new league include fellow Madison County neighbor West Jefferson as well as Bexley, Columbus Academy, Grandview Heights and Whitehall-Yearling. Worthington Christian will compete in the league in other sports but does not have a football team.
“It’s going to take a minute or two for us to learn the new teams in our league,” Mason said. “But it’s also going to take a minute or two for them to learn about us.”
“We haven’t won a league championship since I was a sophomore at Plains,” Hunt said. “We get to go into a new league and it’s virtually a clean slate.
“One thing I do know about Plains is that we have athletes, they’re not necessarily that big but aggressiveness is not an issue.”
The biggest hurdle the new coach will have is getting as many athletes as he can out for the team.
“Our No. 1 priority will be getting guys out to play,” Hunt said. “My ultimate goal would be for there to be no boys in the student section on a Friday night.
“We want them on the field as part of the team. We want football to be a positive experience. My days at Madison-Plains were some of the best days of my life.”
The coach is married, has three kids in the Madison-Plains School District and currently is a middle school history teacher in Washington Court House.
“I’ve got a good job at Washington Court House,” he said. “But I think it would be great to be at Madison-Plains if something were to open up.”
The last time the Golden Eagles had a winning season on the football field was 1991 (6-4), Hunt was a junior on that squad.