Five new coaches set to begin careers
By RICK DeLUCA
Times Leader Sports Writer
Anyone that thought that the 2017 football season brought a lot of changes in the coaching ranks of the schools in The Times Leader’s coverage area, take a look at 2018. Not only are there at least seven new coaches on the sidelines this season, but the Ohio Valley saw two great ones exit the field prior to this season.
Monroe Central and Martins Ferry fans will see someone new on the sidelines for the first time in over 40 years as both of those school’s legendary coaches called it a career.
Jay Circosta had racked up a 336-144-5 record at Woodsfield and Monroe Central combined over a 47-year career. Circosta departed and handed over the reins to Josh Ischy.
Dave Bruney, a name linked to Martins Ferry football for 40 years also handed in his whistle after accumulating a 273-135 record. He is being replaced by Chas Yoder.
Justin Kropka, who built a good program at Harrison Central and saw a magnitude of changes at the school, has moved on after putting together a 64-57 record during his tenure. He is being replaced by Anthony Hayes.
Bruce Stiles short, but successful stint at Union Local has come to an end after compiling a 26-25 record.
Rick Goodrich posted a 26-36 record at John Marshall, but has left the Monarchs. Kevin Gunn is no longer the head coach at Cambridge, leaving with a 28-33 slate and Gary Krol, a former coach at St. John Central, has vacated his role at Bridgeport after one year and a 3-7 record. Josh Lowery will replace Gunn, Bernie Thompson is back at Union Local, Jason Willis will take over at John Marshall and former Ferry standout Fred Ray has assumed the head coaching spot at Bridgeport.
So, what’s left after all of these changes among veteran coaches?
Well, Reno Saccoccia is still roaming the sidelines at Steubenville. The Big Red mentor is not only the winningest coach in the Ohio Valley with a 371-68 career record that has included multiple state championships and a year bid in the post-season playoffs, but is also one of the best in the state of Ohio.
St. Clairsville’s Brett McLean may be over 200 wins behind the Big Red general, he does sport a very impressive 126-52 career mark with the Red Devils, finishing at 8-3 last season and another trip to the post-season.
At Indian Creek, Andrew Connor continues to produce winners and currently sports a 90-64 record. Mike Flannery at River comes in with an 90-72 mark and Mark Holenka opens the new season with an 80-28 record at Shadyside. B. J. Depew is coming off a 9-1 season at Linsly and has boosted his coaching record to 73-50.