Thursday, January 31st, 2008
Celina grad expected to get nod as football coach
By Ryan Hines
The face of Celina High School's new football coach will be a familiar one, if the school board approves the hire at a 9:30 a.m. meeting Saturday as expected.
Jared Rolfes, a 2001 Celina graduate who now lives in Illinois, will be the 17th coach in the program's history after a seven-person committee searched through 60 applications for the position. He replaces coach Jerry Harris, who announced his retirement in November after two stints in coaching the Bulldogs (1981-1999 and 2006-2007).
Matt Miller, superintendent of Celina schools and a member of the search committee, is excited about what Rolfes can bring to the table.
"We are excited about his leadership and his enthusiasm for the game of football," Miller said this morning. "We were impressed with his maturity and the way he laid out his plans for the future of Celina football. He's a Celina graduate and is the type of person that we want our graduates to be like."
It will be the first head coaching job for Rolfes after serving as an assistant who coached varsity wide receivers, tight ends and safeties along with being an offensive coordinator on the jayvee level. Rolfes most recently was an assistant coach at Waubonsie Valley High School in Aurora, Ill., this past season.
Rolfes was an all-Ohio special mention selection and first team all-district performer as a wide receiver for the Bulldogs in high school, while also being a district champion and regional qualifier for the Celina track team.
Athletic Director Bruce Boley remembers Rolfes from his days at Celina as a hard worker who is persistent.
"He has a never-say-die attitude. That's what I remember about him most from his high school days," Boley said. "He didn't play much football at the junior high level, but kept working and stayed persistent to get where he got. He's a guy with strong integrity, good moral character and hometown pride."
A lack of head coaching experience isn't too big of a concern for Miller.
"We were originally looking for a coach who had head coaching experience at the varsity level, but his (Rolfes) knowledge of the game and his associations with teams from different areas made up for that," Miller said. "His background has allowed him to see quality football in other areas, and he has seen what works and will bring that to Celina."
Rolfes, who also will teach special education, plans to bring a wide-open offensive attack along with a 4-3 look on the defensive side of the ball.
The seven-person committee that interviewed the top 10 candidates were Miller, Boley, Principal Jason Luebke, Assistant Principal Kevin Mast, Business Manager Mike McKirnan, assistant football coach Mick Gabes and Celina Athletic Hall of Fame member Greg Eichenhauer. The field then was cut down to the final four for second interviews.
Along with Rolfes, the final candidates interviewed were Kevin Maltarich (Norwayne), Bill Speller (Wayne Trace) and Jake Bruener (Bucyrus). No former or current Celina assistant coaches applied for the job, according to Boley. No one from Mercer County applied for the coaching vacancy either, according to Miller.