The deadline to apply for the open varsity head football coaching position at Wapakoneta High School expired Tuesday.
The school district received 48 applications for the position as of Tuesday after Doug Frye’s resignation less than three weeks ago.
Wapakoneta City Schools Athletic Director Brad Rex said the hiring committee met Wednesday night to discuss the applicants.
“We’ll have the first round of interviews next week,” Rex said. “Hopefully, the first round will be finished next week. That will leave us with a decision to make on who we want to bring back the following week.
“We’d love to have a hire by February’s board meeting.”
The next Wapakoneta City Schools board of education meeting is scheduled for Feb. 25.
The school district is seeking a replacement for Frye, who led the Redskins to a 33-10 record in four seasons, the best stretch of football in school history.
Rex, a member of the hiring committee, described what he wishes to see in the school’s next head coach.
“From my perspective, I’d like to see somebody who has experience at building and keeping a program running,” he said. “Doug Frye came in and did a great job. He got our program where we are. We need to bring somebody in who can keep us where we are.”
Rex said he does not feel the successful candidate needs to have had experience as a head coach.
Other members of the hiring committee include WHS Principal Scott Minnig, WHS Assistant Principal Will Snyder, Wapakoneta Athletic Boosters President Dave Acheson, school board member Ron Mertz and community members Walt Turner and Carl Wintzer.
Mertz described what he feels is important when choosing the next coach.
“I’m looking for someone who is going to give us longevity,” he said. “I don’t want someone who will be here for one or two years. I want them to keep our program sustained in a winning fashion.”
Mertz was asked whether he prefers a candidate with previous head-coaching experience at the high school level.
“We’re looking for a coach who has had winning ways and knows how to handle a program, either a really good head coach or a good first assistant coach,” he said.
Rex said 48 applicants matched his expectations in terms of approximately the number of people he anticipated to apply for the position.
The last time the school district was hiring for the position in 2010, 47 applied.
Coming off of the best four-year stretch in school history, although the number of applicants is only one more than last time, Rex believes the quality of applicants, collectively, is much greater.
“This time around we’ve got some very, very good people,” he said. “It seems like we have more good people than we did last time.”
Rex said, still, some applicants are lacking the qualities the hiring committee is seeking.
“A certain number of people go fishing,” the AD said. “They’ll see a job posting and they just put their name in. They don’t have the experience to warrant an interview, like kids who just graduated from college who have no experience.
“It’s the quality of ones you like and are looking for. We’ve got more than enough qualified people to make a decision this time.”
Rex said Frye will vacate his teaching position in the school district effective Friday.
Otherwise, not too many positions in the school district are anticipated to be available for next school year.
It will be tough but not impossible for the new football coach to land a teaching position in the district.
“It’s not even certain but I believe we might have a physical education job based on a retirement,” Rex said. “There could be some other retirements in different areas but we’re not 100 percent of those at this time.”
Given the timeline the hiring committee wants to decide on a new coach, Rex was asked whether it’s possible the new coach will accept the position without necessarily a teaching position in place as well.
“That would be something we need to sit down with the board and superintendent about and decide what to do,” Rex said. “I think we’ll have a hard time getting a coach here without a teaching position. That’s a priority for us.”