Tuesday, April 27th, 2010
By Gary R. Rasberry
Otten will take over for Reed at Coldwater
To get the opportunity to be a head coach at your alma mater is a great honor, but for Chip Otten, getting the chance is a little bittersweet.
The Coldwater graduate will officially be named the Cavaliers' head football coach at tonight's Coldwater Exempted Village Schools Board of Education meeting.
Otten, an assistant coach the previous eight seasons at Coldwater, takes the reigns from Hall of Fame coach John Reed, who resigned two weeks ago due to his on-going battle with cancer.
"No question. A lot bittersweet," said Otten via a telephone interview on Monday night. "Obviously, what he (Reed) has done over the last 15 years with the community and football program is amazing.
"I'm not replacing him, just taking over for him. No one can replace him. I've been given a great opportunity and I'm going to give it my best shot to try and keep it (the program) moving forward," continued Otten.
Otten played quarterback for the Cavaliers in the mid 1970s, playing for his father Barney in 1976, a year in which the Cavaliers went 10-0. Moving on to Bowling Green State University, Otten was an all-purpose player for the Falcons, earning second team all-Mid-American Conference honors and won the 1982 California Bowl Offensive MVP award.
Otten's head coaching experience came at Middletown from 1995 to 2000. After a year as an assistant at Valley View, Otten came home to Coldwater, where he joined one of the area's most experienced coaching staffs alongside assistant coaches Tim Hoyng, Randy Wright, Jason Hemmelgarn, Jerry Kanney and Thad Forsthoefel.
"It's kind of interesting. It's kind of a cycle where I'm following in my dad's footsteps," said Otten, whose brother Dan is the longtime cross country and track coach at Celina. "... It's fun coming back here. I really enjoyed being an assistant for coach Reed, working with Tim, Randy, Hemmy, Jerry and Thad. We've had good times.
"When you're an assistant coach, (there's) a lot of things you don't have to deal with, a lot of responsibilities that John took care of, that made it easy. It certainly helps when you win a lot. A lot of those responsibilities are now on my shoulders. That'll be a challenge," acknowledged Otten.
Just as he played for his father, Otten has had the chance to work with sons Brady, who finished his senior season last fall, and Troy, a sophomore kicker this past season.
"Sometimes that's good and sometimes it can be a little difficult," said Otten. "I had a good experience with my dad. He made things fun. So trying to treat them like everyone else when you're at practice, versus them being your sons, makes things difficult sometimes, but it makes it fun too because you know they care and you care."
As for goals, while Otten would like to continue the winning tradition of the Cavaliers, it's the other things that have been done during the Reed era away from the game itself that he would like to build upon.
"I guess my job, the way I look at it, is to try and continue to do it the right way," said Otten. "Whether we win that many games (123 games the last 10 years, most of any team in Ohio) or not, obviously is yet to be seen. We can't control all those wins, but we can control that we do it the right way, with integrity, doing things right. Treating the kids with respect, teaching them to treat us with respect and create that team atmosphere where everything is concerned with the team, the family and getting people to believe they can be better than maybe what they are.
"That's what John did a great job of, getting our players to be better than average players. ... He created that team atmosphere where kids cared about each other, coaches cared about the kids, kids cared about the coaches."
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