Profitt Calls It A Career As Jackson Soccer Coach


Longtime soccer coach Tony Profitt hangs it up after 14 years in Ironmen program
After a decade-and-a-half along the Ironmen sideline, Tony Profitt has announced his resignation as the Jackson High School boys soccer coach.

Profitt has been the varsity head coach for the past 10 seasons, serving in the soccer program for the past 14 years altogether.

JACKSON — When Tony Profitt now takes in a game on the soccer pitch, he will do so as a proud grandfather — and fan.

That’s because, after a decade-and-a-half along the Ironmen sideline, Profitt has announced his resignation as the Jackson High School boys soccer coach.

Profitt has been the varsity head coach for the past 10 seasons, serving in the soccer program for the past 14 years altogether.

Saying he was “grateful to a lot of people,” Profitt described his tenure as a “real rewarding experience.”

“I’ve just been really blessed by the whole thing,” he said. “It’s been a lot of fun.”

But Profitt explained that he is not a teacher within the Jackson City School District, and said that factor played a key role in his decision to step aside.

“I’m not in the school system, and it is a little bit difficult,” said Profitt. “If I were a teacher, I might still be coaching. Trying to work at another job and coach at the varsity level is pretty demanding. With my demands at work, I felt like I couldn’t do justice to the coaching job.”

But he is the man who oversaw the surge of the Jackson soccer program.

Profitt has been involved with the sport for 20 years, beginning with the recreation league before coaching three seasons at the junior high level.

He then moved up to the reserve squad for one season before taking over at the varsity level in 1998.

In Profitt’s full decade as the head Ironman, the Red and White won 95 games, back-to-back Southeastern Ohio Athletic League championships and four Division II sectional crowns.

In 2005, Jackson advanced to the Division II regional tournament for the first time in school history.

“I feel like we’ve accomplished a lot,” he said. “We’ve had a lot of good times along the way.”

In six of his 10 seasons, the Ironmen captured at least nine matches, including at least 11 in five of those years.

The 2000 campaign saw Profitt and the Ironmen earn a school-record 15 victories along with the school’s first-ever sectional championship.

“Other than losing 2-1 in the district final that year, that was a dream-come-true season, said Profitt, recalling the year 2000. “These boys that I coached in junior high were seniors that year. They were already looking toward doing something big. We never had a banner in the (Jackson High School) gym with soccer on it. That’s what their goal was and they accomplished that.”

The Ironmen then won three straight sectionals from 2003 to 2005, with the last of those three resulting in a Division II district championship as well.

The district crown marked the end of three years of heartbreak in the tournament, capped off by a 1-0 sudden-death overtime loss to Athens.

“We had a really good group of players that year, but that was another heartbreaker the way it ended,” said Profitt. “It definitely felt like sudden death. That was a very disappointed group of seniors that year.”

That same season — 2004 — marked the Ironmen’s first outright championship in the SEOAL. The team won 14 games that fall.

Jackson then shared the league title with Marietta the next season. The same campaign in which the Ironmen made school history by playing in November.

“We had a strong group of juniors that came back as seniors that year,” said Profitt. “Those two years, Marietta did not beat us. We tied them twice and we beat them twice. That was pretty special.”

One of those seniors was his son Brad, whom he coached for all four years of high school. Profitt mentored his other son, Brian, for four seasons as well.

“I guess it’s natural, but I had special relationships with the two classes that my sons were in,” said the elder Profitt. “I knew those boys so well. They were over at my house all the time and we played indoor (soccer) together. They were great boys and fun kids to be around.”

Looking out at the former Jackson soccer field, Profitt also discussed the changes, and growth, involving the boys program.

The Ironmen’s home field used to be where the school track encircles. Since 2004, the Red and White have called the sparkling Alumni Stadium home.

“We’ve just come so far,” he said. “If you sit here and look, the field used to be terrible, there were no lights and we didn’t have a place to play our sectional tournament games.”

Jackson has also made the adjustment of playing on a natural grass surface to the Fieldturf pitch of Alumni Stadium.

“That’s been nice,” said Profitt of the surface switch. “At first, I wasn’t sure if I was going to like it, being a soccer purist like I am. I didn’t like football lines on a soccer field and soccer should be played on grass. But after our first practice session up there (Alumni Stadium), I thought it was going to be nice. Back in the old days, when I first had the junior high, the field was terrible and rough and the ball took funny hops. When you get to the point to where you are playing good, technical soccer, the surface at Alumni Stadium is so much better. The ball rolls so true and the surface is almost always the same, whether it’s pouring rain or not. And you don’t have to deal with mud.”

The program itself has expanded to include a reserve team since 1996 and the varsity girls team since 2001. Profitt’s wife, Robin, continues on as the Ironladies’ head coach.

Among those whom Profitt praised for their work with the program included Phil Anderson, Rob Barnett, Ernie Strawser and the many parents of the players.

Speaking of those players, Profitt coached some good ones.

He coached three of the four Lance brothers and all three Stacy brothers.

Among those who played in college included Phillip Lance (University of Rio Grande), Brian Profitt (Mount Olive), Theo Lance (Ohio Dominican), Joey Dixon (Shawnee State), Morgan Brown (Muskingum College) and Tim Marcinek (Muskingum College).

“I’ve had some great kids and great players,” said Profitt. “And you try to teach them life lessons along the way. I think soccer is such a good game for that. There’s no timeouts in soccer and there’s no timeouts in life. I try to draw those parallels. Sometimes you feel like you’re making some headway and sometimes you wonder.”

The only thing Profitt has to wonder about now is how he will spend his free time in the fall. He said it will most likely involve, of course, soccer.

“I’d like to stay involved,” he said. “My wife said she is going to keep me on as a consultant for the girls program.”

He also said he may do some scouting for Lee Lord, the new Ironmen head coach. Lord, who was the reserve coach last season, was the varsity head coach from 1995 to 1997.

“I told the girls and the boys programs that I would be willing to help out if there was some speciality I could help with,” said Profitt.

His speciality now, however, will be being a grandfather.

“My grandson and I will be up there cheering the teams on,” he said. “I’ll try to act like a good parent that I’ve also preached throughout the years. Stay off the referees, etc.”


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