If anyone ever doubted the reputation the Jonathan Alder football program holds across the state of Ohio, they should look no further than how many people are interested in the Pioneers’ head coaching position.
A total of 55 applicants applied for the position left open by the resignation of Steve Coate following the 2013 season. Even after back-to-back losing seasons there’s plenty of positives surrounding the Alder program and there’s a definite demand to be the next guy at the helm.
“We started with 55 applicants and narrowed it down from there,” Jonathan Alder director of athletics Tom Vargo said. “We decided we wanted someone with varsity experience, preferably a head coach or a varsity assistant as a coordinator of offense or defense.
“That narrowed it down to 18-20 and there were some that were out of state that needed a teaching job here or needed their wife to have a teaching job here and that just wasn’t feasible. We’re down to nine now, we did initial interviews (last week) and have one more to do before we get into the second phase.”
Vargo and school Principal Phil Harris don’t plan on rushing through the process, but hope to have a name to present to the school board at the next scheduled meeting on Monday, March 10.
“We really want a name for the board for the March board meeting,” Vargo said. “That’s in our perfect world, we’ll see if we get there or not. I think the progress is moving along.”
The athletics director does like the feedback he has gotten from the host of applicants.
“The information we got from the applicants is most of them like the tradition that we have here and they like the support we get,” he said. “They know Steve Coate and Barry Blackstone were here for years and we don’t have a real turnover in coaches.
“There’s a stability in our athletic programs and people know we were in the playoffs 12 years in a row prior to the last two seasons, that means a lot.”
Vargo wouldn’t give any specifics on what he’s looking for in a new coach, but will know when he finds it.
“We’re not really looking for one particular thing, you just have a gut feeling,” he said. “I’ve talked to a couple of them and you just have to get a good feeling. Having a son myself, it’s like who would I want my own son to play for.”
Chris Miles can be reached at (740) 852-1616, ext. 18 or via Twitter @MadPressSports.