After a successful tenure as head coach of the Galion Tiger football program, Chris Hawkins is leaving the team to take the same job with Ontario High School.
Hawkins accepted the position Thursday evening, informing his now former team the following day.
“It is a done deal but (the) board will make it official next week,” he said in a text.
Hawkins has coached the Tigers since 2008, taking the team to four playoff appearances in row and five overall in addition to four league titles.
Ontario was 2-8 last season.
The former Tigers coach said the commuting to Galion from his daytime job as an elementary school teacher in Willard was a reason for the change.
“It was getting difficult with me teaching elementary at Willard,” he said. “Even though they worked with me, the earliest I could get to Galion during the season was about 3:35 (p.m.). Practice had all ready been started.”
“During the off season” he continued. ”It is even harder to get to weights because I don’t leave unti 3:45 (p.m.) and that doesn’t get me to Galion until 4:20 (p.m.) and weights are basically over. It is not fair of me to demand and expect of my players to be to practice on time and be in the weight room during the off season when I can’t even get there.”
Hawkins added that he did express a desire to come to Galion as a teacher or an administrator the last few years, but it didn’t work out.
“When this opportunity to finish my career teaching and coaching in the same district and with a pay increase to boot at a great school system such as Ontario, I just couldn’t pass it up,” he said.
Ontario Superintendent Lisa Carmichael said she will recomend Hawkins for the job on Feb. 9.
But he will only be hired on a supplemental contract to coach football for the upcoming school year and is still expected to teach at Williard next year, she said.
But Carmichael said she expects to offer him a teaching position when the first eligible opening comes up, which may not happen until the 2017-2018 school year.
“He’s had a successful coaching career and we look forward to him bringing that enthusiasm to us,” she said in a phone interview Monday. “He’s a perfect fit.”
Hawkins was unavailable for further comment.
This will be his fourth head football coaching job. Prior to Galion, Hawkins coached at Willard and Wynford.
“We wish Coach Hawkins the best of luck at Ontario,” Galion Superintendent Jim Grubbs said in a statement Sunday night. “Galion will be moving forward and looking for a head football coach who can lead our young men, teach them about the game of football and, more importantly, teach them about the game of life.”
Grubbs said he learned of the resignation on Friday via an email. Galion’s coaches are non-renewed each year, therefore the resignation was just a formality.
Grubbs said he has been hearing rumors for a while but it was still kind of a surprise.