Rogers, Over and Out
By Tim Rogers
Six playoff trips and 6-3 record against McKinley in seven years not good enough
Hold that tiger, the hunt is on.
It promises to be long and thorough search. Make that very long and incredibly thorough.
It is extensive enough to make a guy wonder if white smoke will billow from the building on Paul Brown Drive once it’s complete and a new pope, darn it, coach, is elected to lead the vaunted Massillon Washington football program.
As of Monday, Massillon Superintendent Rik Goodright said 26 coaches of various standing had applied for the position that came vacant when Jason Hall was encouraged to walk away after six playoff appearances and a 57-25 record in seven years. Goodright did not respond to an interview request by JJHuddle.
Earle Bruce is not on the list. Hall, we hear by the way, is a finalist for the Westlake job.
The selection process in Tiger Town, while not as ecclesiastical as the one conducted in Rome, might be just as intense. The chosen candidate will have survived the scrutiny of no fewer than three committees.
Contrary to the beliefs of some Massillon folk, coaching the Browns is a better job — albeit slightly — than coaching the Tigers. But, I bet Mike Pettine didn’t go through the interrogation facing the next Massillon guy.
First stop for prospective candidates is the Screening Committee. It will be made of about 12 district administrators and former Massillon players and coaches. Its job is to trim the current list of 26 to a workable number. Then, it is on to a 10-member Interview Committee. Finally, the Recommendation Committee will make its choice to the Board of Education.
Once that group gets its hands on it you don’t know what might happen. BOE’s, as has been proven time and again in counties from Adams to Ashtabula, can be a finicky and election-worried group.
A final decision is not expected until late January. Maybe even February.
Chris Easterling of the Massillon Independent reported that Goodright believes the Massillon job is the fourth-most prestigious in Ohio, trailing only the Browns, Bengals and Ohio State.
Everyone is entitled to their opinion. I should be able to wear a t-shirt that says, “BE A BETTER PARENT” and not be criticized. But, opinions and reality are at opposite ends of the spectrum.
The reality of this situation is that the Massillon job does not hold the prestige it once held. Why else would it attract just 26 applicants? The Nordonia job attracted more than 80 applicants three years ago.
The Massillon school population is shrinking – it now competes in Division II – with no sign the trend will reverse. Smaller enrollment means a decreasing player pool, at least the pool that can provide enough athletes to compete at the elite level to which Massillon strives.
While parts of the job are exquisite – the pay, the facilities, community and administrative support, etc – there is enough baggage to discourage many applicants. That includes interference by bitchy parents and influential boosters/supporters, the subtle demand that coaches live in the city and the fact that winning is paramount.
You can be the best X-and-O coach this side of the latest Super Bowl “genius.” It’s the other stuff – the dinners, the luncheons, the traditions and the demands of Massillon-McKinley week — when you are basically expected to be in two places at once every day leading up to the game – that will get you.
“Beat McKinley” is a very real mantra hanging out there. The Massillon-McKinley rivalry is the best in Ohio and it’s as serious as a heart attack along Lincoln Way. Winning eight of 10 games and making the playoffs every year is not good enough. Ask any of the past coaches.
Despite the negatives, the Massillon job carries a mystique unlike any in the state. The list of former coaches, going back to Paul Brown, is more impressive than any school in the state. Most of the good ones were able to survive and move on to bigger and better things.
It did not end well for those who weren’t able to beat the posse out of town.
MASSILLON HEAD COACHING APPLICANTS
The applicants for the Massillon job, as released to Gateway Media
Brian Colatruglio, head coach Tiffin Columbian
Matt Dennison, head coach, New Philadelphia
Chris Hedden, head coach, Toledo St. Francis
Daniel Scholz, head coach, Cincinnati Oak Hills
Joe Vassalotti, head coach, Tallmadge
Mike D’Orazio, assistant, Trotwood-Madison
Joe Pierce, assistant, Massillon
Dave Weber, assistant, Massillon
J. David Buchanan , head coach, Mason County, Ky.
Jeff Harig, former Massillon player, head coach, Loudon, Tenn.
Tony Lewis, head coach, Henderson County, Ky.
Glen Padgett, head coach, Concord, N.C.
DeLawn Parrish, head coach, Dr. Henry Wise High, Maryland
B.J. Payne, former Massillon star, head coach, Hilton Head, S.C.
Dan Reardon, former head coach, Youngstown Ursuline, head coach, Wheat Ridge, Colo.
Steve Taneyhill, former Univ. South Carolina QB, head coach, Union County
Richard Stewart, assistant, Golden West High, Southern Cal.
George Whary, assistant, Easton, Pa.
Devin Jordan, assistant, Walsh University
Gary Krol, assistant West Liberty
Pepe Pearson, former OSU star, assistant, Old Dominion
Joe Tresey assistant, Youngstown State
Troy Burick, Massillon Junior High
Shawn Crable, former Massillon player
Ted Daisher, no position listed
Keith Grabowski, Edge Technology