A total of three new varsity coaches were officially hired by the Newcomerstown Exempted Village School District Board of Education at a recent meeting.
Former assistant Chuck Peach was promoted to head coach of the girls' softball program while Brenda McCoy was selected as the new head volleyball coach of the Lady Trojans. Both replace John Dupke, who previously held both positions at NHS.
The other new addition to the Trojans' coaching staff is Steve Durbin, who was hired as the new track and field head coach.
Peach has served the last three years as an assistant for the Lady Trojans and has been a key part of the team's recent success on the field, according to NHS athletic director Eric Brock.
The Lady Trojans finish with 23 wins last year following a 20-win campaign the season before, and for that reason Peach doesn't see the need for much change needed for the Orange and Black.
"When we found out that John's contract would not be renewed for next year, I decided to throw my hat in the ring so we could keep things going," Peach explained. "We've had a lot of success here the last few years and I don't see the need to change much. It's like the old saying goes 'If it's not broke then don't fix it'...that pretty much sums up my feelings.
"John and I were pretty much on the same page as how things should be run," Peach said. "He always consulted me about things and we rarely didn't see eye to eye on things."
Peach, a 1989 graduate of Newcomerstown, will be taking on his first varsity head coaching assignment, but feels years of coaching at all levels along with his experience the last three years as a varsity assistant for Dupke have him prepared for his new role.
"I've been coaching sports for a lot of years at all different levels," Peach said. "Then a couple years ago, John called me and asked me to help him coach the softball team and I welcomed the chance. It got me an opportunity to get into high school sports as a coach and return to Newcomerstown which I always wanted to do."
Peach's new position will also allow him to coach his daughter, Karlee, who is coming off a solid freshman year for the Lady Trojans.
"I've coached all my kids before through the years and always loved doing it," Peach continued. "I realize it will be different at the varsity level coaching your own kid, but I'm confident she has the talent to earn her spot on the field. She had a real good freshman year and just expect her to get better."
In recent years, the Lady Trojans were fortunate to have a potent offensive attack to rely on and Peach feels its most important to have a solid defense and will make sure his Lady Trojans are solid in that area as well.
"I'm a defensive coach at heart...that's what I believe in," he said. "If the other team doesn't score you have a good shot at winning. Last year, we averaged something like 10 runs a game, but you are not going to have that type of offense every year so we will work to make sure we can play defense as well."
McCoy, a sixth grade math teacher Newcomerstown Middle School won't have to change the colors of her coaching gear, coming over after having served 12 years as a volleyball coach at her alma mater of Ridgewood High (1991).
"After coaching for 12 years, it's something I've always wanted to do...be a head coach," McCoy explained. "I grew up playing under Dan Smith and always looked up to him. He has a great deal of knowledge about the game and had a lot of success. Then I got to coach under him and that was a great learning experience for me as well."
In addition to Smith, McCoy also credited Lois Donahue and April Tedrick as being valuable to her during her time as a player and coach at RHS.
In addition, McCoy has served as an assistant softball coach for Kirby Shivers.
"I've been fortunate to have played for and coached with some great coaches," McCoy said. "I've learned a lot from each of them that I can now take with me."
In sizing up her Lady Trojans, McCoy doesn't know too much just yet but has already began to make plans for her program.
"I don't know a lot other then we have five seniors coming back," McCoy said. "I know a few of the girls from having them before in class, but I'm anxious to get started.
"We will be having a camp and playing in a summer league this year," McCoy continued. "And we will also have some open gym sessions to help get the girls accustomed to the way things will be done."
McCoy also has a clear-cut plan to build the Lady Trojans program to a high level of play.
"We are going to focus on fundamentals....the basics," she said. "We have a lot of work ahead of us, but I'm excited about it and confident we will get the job done."
Durbin, who has been a business and computer teacher at NHS high school for two years will also be taking on his first varsity head coaching position, but feels confident the time is right to make the jump.
Durbin has worked as an assistant coach with the track team under former coach Donnie Stevens and with football team since his arrival at Newcomerstown.
"I really feel I'm ready for that step," said Durbin, who graduated from Youngstown State in 2004. "I feel I have a good support system in place here at Newcomerstown. Donnie (Stevens) will be serving as a volunteer coach for me and will be a huge asset.
"Being a head coach was always a goal of mine," he continued, "and so the opportunity presented itself and I'm all in....very excited and ready to go."
Durbin played football at Youngstown State under former Ohio State coach Jim Tressel for two years before Tressel made the jump to OSU, but he also developed a love for track while at McDonald High School in the Youngstown area.
"I picked up a discus my freshman year in high school and just fell in love with it," Durbin offered. "I think what appeals so much to me about track is that it takes a lot of individual work and time, but it's also a team sport."
Durbin has a clear plan he wants to accomplish and feels he will have the tools necessary to get the job done at NHS.
"We have a long way to go to get where I want to be," Durbin said, "but I feel confident we have the right people in place to get the job done. The kids here at Newcomerstown are a pretty hard working group and I'm confident we can get some things done."