CCHS football coach heads to Crawford
Ending a couple of weeks full of rumors and hearsay, Corydon Central football coach Darin Ward will change hats ‘ and school colors ‘ after being hired last night by the Crawford County Community School Board of Trustees.
Ward, who compiled a record of 20-11 in his three-year stint with the Panthers and was a physical education and health teacher at Corydon, will fill the role of administrative assistant to the high school principal ‘ a fancy way of saying a dean of students ‘ and oversee Crawford County’s new football program as head coach.
Wolfpack football is slated to begin at the 7th and 8th grade level this fall. In 2005 a freshman-junior varsity schedule will be played, followed in 2006 by a JV slate and then a full varsity schedule in 2007. The very first game Crawford County will play will be against Eastern, which will also be playing its first varsity game.
Ward will be the head football coach and progressively move up to lead the ranks each step of the way.
‘A lot of people will probably scratch their head and ask ‘Why?’ and ‘Why Crawford County?’ and it really comes down to two main reasons. First, I don’t have to move. A lot of people don’t want to accept that, but my wife and I still want to be a part of the area. She loves it here and we have a lot of friends in this area and hopefully we’ll continue to have them,’ the Palmyra resident said last night. ‘Second, from a professional standpoint, it puts me in a good position and a better financial position and I see it as a move up. In the corporate world, it’s a very nice promotion and a great opportunity. These opportunities don’t come around every day.’
Wolfpack Athletic Director Jerry Hanger said last night that dozens of candidates for the football position were kicked around, but only three were seriously considered. One of those was Ward.
‘The first time I met Darin was at the organizational meeting for the football program at Crawford County. He showed up on his own and talked about the program at Corydon and how he thought it would be a great asset at Crawford. He impressed me with his excitement for the game of football and that was the first time I’d ever talked or met with him,’ Hanger said. ‘After he got done talking, I thought to myself, ‘This is the type of guy we need to head up our program.’ We’re obviously excited about Crawford County football, we think we’ll have high participation, we’ve got a nice financial backing and we want to try and do things right. Expectations are pretty high and we want things done the right way.’
Ward informed his former team last Wednesday of the pending move to Crawford’s program and reiterated that it had nothing to do with the current players, coaches, parents or fans.
‘When the word started getting out, I talked to the team and was impressed by the fact that none of the players ever came to me and asked what was going on. They sort of let the situation be my business and I really respected that. I think more adults should be like that sometimes, too, and it shows the caliber of kids that we have in the football program at Corydon,’ Ward said. ‘The thing that people in Corydon will have to realize is that the people affected most by this change are the kids.
‘The fact that this is news shows that it’s really not about me and not about the coaches. We’ve developed a football program at Corydon Central that’s about the kids. It’s the kids who devoted an incredible amount of time and energy into turning the football program around. Football in Corydon means something now.’
In addition to his staff, Ward also complimented Frank Czeschin, who heads the youth football program at Corydon, as well as junior high coaches Larry Ragland and Jim Pigg, for the job they’ve done in preparing youngsters for the rigors of Mid-Southern Conference football.
The cupboard won’t be bare at Corydon Central: the entire offensive line from last year’s 8-2 squad, which climbed to No. 7 in the Class 3A poll, returns to the trenches. In addition to the line, Corydon acquired a top-notch running back in Salem move-in Aaron Motsinger, who was the backup to the Lions’ R.J. Hartsfield last year.
A talented freshmen group from the 8th grade will help, too.
As for who will fill the vacated coaching spot at Corydon Central, look for 1998 Corydon graduate Jason Timberlake, who was the defensive coordinator and strength and conditioning coach under Ward for the past two years, to be calling the shots from the sidelines pending board approval.
‘I don’t have a say into who they hire, but Jason is a tremendous asset within the school and I know it’s probably been his dream to come back to Corydon and coach,’ Ward said. ‘If Jason is hired on to fill that position, I know he’ll do well.’