Ischy named to Monroe Central head grid post

WOODSFIELD — When Jay Circosta announced his retirement nearly three weeks ago as the face of the Monroe Central football program, he said “it was time.”

Josh Ischy believes it’s “time,” too; time for him to carry on the aura Circosta created.

Ischy, who spent the last 10 years working in the shadows of the Ohio High School Football Coaches Association Hall of Famer, became the program’s second head coach Wednesday.

“It’s pretty great,” Ischy said moments after being approved during a special meeting of the Switzerland of Ohio Board of Education.

“I got an education from Coach (Circosta). It’s kind of a dream come true. I came through the program and coached 10 years here. It’s a special day.”

From the moment he retired, and even in the months leading up to it, Circosta made it clear that it was Ischy whom he would like to see lead the program after he stepped down. He cited Ischy’s football acumen, his knowledge of the “Seminole way” and his overall relationship with players as some of the reasons he felt this way.

After officially being named to replace Circosta, Ischy was quick to point out that all of the attributes his mentor saw in him were there because of the more than 14 years spent on the sideline with him.

“He’s definitely a mentor,” Ischy said of Circosta, who retired with more than 330 victories, 14 playoff appearances and a like number of OVAC crowns.

“I’ve picked his brain on several occasions. I have the utmost respect for him and what he’s done for the program. I’m truly inspired by it.”

Ischy played for the Seminoles from 2000-03 and was part of the Monroe Central squad that almost reached the state semifinals in 2001. As a senior, he moved to quarterback, and it was there where he began looking at football in a different light.

“Then, I started thinking more about the strategies of the game and fell in love with it,” Ischy, a former all-Eastern District performer, remembered. “Then, when I got to college (at Mount Union, where he was part a pair of national title squads in 2005 and 06), I started to think how can I take what I’m learning here and take it back.”

Upon graduating from the Alliance school in 2008 with a degree in Spanish and minor in education, Ischy returned home and started teaching at Beallsville. But he also began coaching at his alma mater.

“That spring I asked Coach if I could help and he let me do some summer work and continue on with the staff that fall,” Ischy said.

Ischy started with the Seminoles as a JV coach and defensive assistant with Dave Schuerman. Then, about five years ago, he took over as offensive coordinator, setting the stage for his current position.

“Again, the mental aspects are what I love,” Ischy said. “Not only is (football) a physical sport, but you have to have a mind for the game.”

Ischy has nothing but praise for the way Circosta helped mold him as a coach, bringing him along little by little, the last few years and adding to his workload each campaign.

“He gave me more freedom,” Ischy said. “I know there are some things I’m not aware of, but maybe I have an advantage because I was a player in the program and coached in it.”

Well-versed in the traditions of the Monroe Central program, Ischy said he wants to do little in the way of changing some of the core values instilled by his predecessor.

“Everything is done the right way,” he said. “Our kids will taken care of. We’ll be hardworkers and prepared.”

Monroe Central athletic director Ryan Rosnick is looking forward to Icshy taking the reins.

“I couldn’t be happier with our selection of Josh,” he said following the meeting. “Josh is not only a great coach, but also a leader for the kids. His experience, energy and his time at Monroe Central as the offensive coordinator will make the transition very smooth.

“I am happy for Josh and his family to get this opportunity. I really look forward to working with him.”

The Ischy family includes his wife of nearly five years, Dana, and children — Emma, almost 4, and Lucas, 1.