SPRINGFIELD TWP. After receiving applications from both inside and outside the district, Springfield Local Schools decided to stay close to home in hiring its new head football coach.
David Bosko, who teaches government and psychology at Springfield High School, was officially approved by the district’s board of education at its February meeting and becomes the district’s first new football coach in a decade.
He replaces Kevin Vaughn, who stepped down late last year following his 10th season leading the Spartans. Vaughn compiled a 35-65 record, but his teams went 5-5 each of the last two seasons. Bosko, with previous coaching stops as an assistant at Stow, Hoban and Waterloo, served as Springfield’s quarterbacks coach last season.
"It’s a big job, but I love this community and I love football, so even though it’s a difficult process, I’m ready to get going," Bosko said.
Outside of three games as Waterloo’s interim head coach when Nate Peters was unable to be on the sidelines for the Vikings due to a heart condition, this will be Bosko’s first head coaching stint. The 1988 Stow High School graduate attended the University of Akron before beginning his coaching career and has been a part of the area football scene ever since.
He has been a special teams coordinator, passing game coordinator and offensive coordinator, giving him experience working in several different aspects of the game.
In taking over at Springfield, he believes that success at the varsity level will hinge on playing an offensive style that is suited to the players the Spartans have.
"It be a little different. We want to control the clock a little more," Bosko said in comparing his offense to the one Springfield played last season. "Last year, we had some talented seniors who allowed us to throw the ball all over the place, but I’d like to have a more balanced attack, to use the clock as our friend and establish the running game."
As part of that running game, Bosko anticipates using more zone blocking schemes as opposed to the man-to-man blocking schemes that characterized the offense last season.
However, the first-time head coach is just as focused - if not more so - on aspects of the program outside the varsity level when it comes to how he wants to build Springfield football.
"We’ve got to help the youth get organized and have better relationship with varsity program so we can build some continuity," Bosko said. "The seventh and eighth grade trams didn’t score a point last year, so that’s a priority to figure out what we need to change there. I also want to make sure we have a freshman team, so our freshmen are not thrown into JV games and Friday night varsity games too quickly."
Bosko believes that because he teaches in the district and will have some of his players in class, he has an edge over a new coach who would have come to the program from outside the district. He pointed to having been selected 13 times by graduating seniors as one of the school’s top 25 educators as evidence that he’s been able to connect with students and have a positive influence on their lives.
Part of that, Bosko said, is students knowing he will be honest with them and while also demanding they meet high standards, be understanding of their point of view as well. He also said that from his experience, "the parents in this district want people around their kids who will get everything they can" from students in the way of helping those students realize their potential.
All of these elements are part of the approach Bosko plans to bring to his new program, but the reality in front of him isn’t an easy one. While the Spartans have shown growth the past two seasons in going 5-5 each year, both seasons saw them with a chance to finish above .500 only to fall short in the closing week of the season.
This past fall, losses to second-place Coventry and Portage Trail Conference Metro champion Woodridge ended the year and closing the gap between itself and those two teams is the weighty task in front of Springfield. Still, Bosko sees a group of returning players eager to take on that task.
"I think we are ready. This group of kids coming back are a hungry, good group of kids," Bosko said. "It will take a monumental push and a lot of effort, but I’m not sure a lot of it isn’t psychological. To become a winning program is huge, but there is a lot of noise out there detracts from group message and our focus will be pulling together and pushing as a family and to be positive."
That positivity is already underway as offseason lifting started earlier this year. While six months remain before the new season kicks off, with all there is to accomplish during that span, that time figures to fly by quickly for Bosko and his new team.
Reach Andy at 330-580-8936
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