Filtz ready to make an impact at McKinley
There are very few programs around the state of Ohio, or even the United States, with the tradition of Canton McKinley.
There are very few coaches around the state of Ohio with the success rate – at such a young age – as Steubenville High product Todd Filtz, who is 29, and already owns a state championship and runnerup on his resume.
Thus, the two became a perfect match when McKinley was seeking a new football coach after Ron Roberts was fired despite a career mark of 31-16.
And the perfect match became a reality on March 19 when Filtz was formally hired as the Bulldogs’ head football coach.
“This job isn’t just one of the best in the state, but it’s one of the best in the country,” Filtz said. “When I saw it came open and I saw the posting, I had no hesitation about (applying). And I knew if I was going to get involved, I was going to attack it 110 percent.”
Filtz, who hand delivered his resume and letter of interest to McKinley officials, went through a series of three interviews before the job was offered on his fourth meeting.
“I felt like, when I applied, I had a lot going for me,” Filtz said. “I played in a program, at Steubenville, where the tradition is there every single year and I was able to have success at an early age, at a similar type school district.”
Filtz wouldn’t have left Maple Heights for just any job, which is what he stressed to his Mustang players when he informed them he was resigning.
“It was tough to leave,” Filtz admitted. “It was my first (head coaching) job and we did great things. The kids were wonderful for us and did anything and everything we asked of them.”
Filtz climbed to the top of the Ohio football world in 2010 when he led Maple Heights to a Division II state title.
“I can’t even explain in words what that feeling was like,” Filtz said of winning the title. “I wasn’t able to accomplish it as a player and that feeling bit at me. Once we were able to do it as a staff and team at Maple Heights, it’s like a dream come true.”
Filtz didn’t pull any punches when going through the interview process or in talking to the media. The goal at Canton McKinley is simple: contend for and win the Division I state champion year in and year out.
“The sky is the limit at Canton McKinley,” Filtz said. “I don’t want to make any predictions or say ‘we’re going to to win (a state title) in this many years’ or something like that. I want our program to do great things for the school and community.”
When you’ve got the facilities, players and expectations that McKinley does, obviously there is a need to win immediately and win very, very often.
“With tradition, comes expectations,” Filtz said. “I grew up with that (at Steubenville). I don’t view it as pressure. I took this job because of those expectations. I don’t want to just meet them, but I’d like to exceed those.”
The question about Massillon – McKinley’s arch rival – wasn’t even completely out of my mouth during our phone conversation before Filtz interjected.
“Our kids will hear about Massillon from day one,” Filtz said. “We’ll focus every day of the year on the Tigers. It’s one of the greatest rivalries in the nation, and it’s going to be great to be a part of it. We realize that beating Massillon is part of what we’re measured on.”
Filtz met with the players he’s inheriting the very next day after his formal hiring.
“I set out my expectations that we’re going to have a championship caliber program and we’ve since started our off-season workouts,” Filtz said.
The work of assembling a staff also got under way immediately.
“It’s going to probably be a mesh of guys I’ve become close with at Maple Heights and some of the guys who were already at McKinley,” Filtz said. “I’ve been interviewing members of the former staff to see who wants to carry on the tradition of Canton McKinley. We’re going to put together the best staff possible with the vision of becoming a champion.”
After his hiring, Filtz was allowed out of his contract at Maple Heights and has already started teaching at McKinley.
For the time being, he and his wife, Adele, will continue to live in Maple Heights, but they’re still considering a formal move down to Canton.
“I made sure I informed those on the committee that a 50-minute drive wasn’t going to get in the way of accomplishing the goals I set forth for myself and this program,” Filtz said.
It’s safe to say that nothing has ever stood in Filtz’ way of accomplishing what he sets out to do.
If you don’t believe me, just check out his track record. It speaks for itself.
Staskey can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org