SPRINGFIELD TWP. As Springfield Local Schools seeks a new varsity football coach for the first time in a decade, it’s clear the program’s outgoing head coach will still play a part in where things go from here.
Kevin Vaughn, who spent the past 10 years at the helm, announced early in January that he was stepping down as head coach while remaining in his role as athletic director. The decision, as happens for many high school coaches who step away from their sport, had much to do with time and family.
"It’s just getting to the point where my two daughters are getting older and moving into their education and their own personal activities and trying to balance family and demands of the athletic director position and the very busy schedule being head football coach was overwhelming at times," Vaughn said. "I want to take a step back and be more involved with my family. My daughters are 9 and 5 years old and they’re involved in gymnastics, swimming, soccer, ski club and a lot of other things. I actually coached my youngest in daughter soccer on Sunday."
According to Vaughn, who compiled a 35-65 record in his coaching career, the idea of stepping down has been on his mind the past couple of years. Conversations with his wife, Leah, and plenty of time spent thinking about what to do led him to ultimately make the decision over Christmas break and as the new year dawned, the district posted the opening for a new coach on the Ohio High School Athletic Association website.
So far, Vaughn noted, there is one internal applicant for the job and outside interests from around the area and even other parts of the state. Some are assistants looking for their first head coaching job, while others have head coaching experience on their resumes.
Vaughn admitted he may have stepped down sooner, but found it difficult to make the choice final.
"One part is, I really enjoy my time around all the young men … it’s a special bond and it’s a camaraderie," Vaughn said. "Football is something that’s been in my life the past 31 years and it’s tough void to fill when you’ve been part of for so long. The second part of it is the game itself, because I really enjoy the time spent with my staff. The relationships you build and just the game itself and the aspects of football, the X’s and O’s, I’m going to miss those."
The search for a new coach is in process and the OHSAA website posting is slated to run through the end of January. At that point, district official will look to move forward in the process based on the applications they receive. The goal, according to Vaughn, is "to get someone in place as soon as possible," as offseason lifting is already underway.
The weight room is open for returning players to work out and if the district can find its new coach sooner rather than later, officials are hopeful that will allow that coach to begin developing relationships with players.
One helpful aspect in the search could be having an athletic director who knows the demands and requirements of the position well, having spent the past decade in the role.
"On one hand, you want to find the right kind of person to coach kids from Springfield, but also when you’re working with young adolescent males, some things are the same no matter where you are," Vaughn said. "We want to find someone who’s going to lead our program forward."
Whoever inherits the program will take over for a team that has come precariously close to breaking through the .500 barrier the last two seasons, only to see losses in Week 9 and Week 10 to some of the top teams in the Portage Trail Conference keep the Spartans from a winning record. The 5-5 records that marked the conclusion of those two seasons suggest that the program is headed in a good direction, but will need to find that something extra to get over the hurdle in front of it and become a contender for the PTC Metro title.
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