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Moving on

Bohren stepping down at LaBrae

November 1, 2012
By JOHN VARGO - Tribune Chronicle ( , Underthelights

Most 78-year-old men are enjoying retirement. Not Bill Bohren.

His passions are coaching football and building programs.

Wednesday, he decided it was time to lend his expertise to another high school and leave LaBrae's program after nine seasons.

Article Photos

Tribune Chronicle file photo / R. Michael Semple
LaBrae coach Bill Bohren resigned from his position with the Vikings on Thursday after nine years as head coach.

"I always like the challenge of the job," Bohren said. "You get a program going. Size doesn't matter. I've coached at Division I, Division II, all the way down. I want to find one more job, refreshment, new program and everything. I really don't know where it would be, but I'll find one. I'll find one before next season starts."

It was odd timing for the LaBrae High School coach to announce he's leaving the Vikings' post after nine seasons, being Halloween and all. Wednesday's move for Bohren wasn't a trick, but treat for him spending nine seasons at one stop.

He added this year's 1-9 record at LaBrae wasn't the reason he's leaving.

Fact Box

Bill Bohren file

Age: 78

Coaching record: 288-163-6.

Record at LaBrae: 46-46 (including two playoff games).

Coaching stops: Ottawa-Glandorf, Steubenville, Lakeview, Boardman, Butler (Pa.), Salem, Niles and LaBrae.

"That wasn't the reason at all," said Bohren, who had a 46-46 mark at LaBrae, including two playoff games. "Since I've been there, I thought we've played good football. I've been there nine years and I really enjoy the kids there. They play hard. They practice great. They're great young men."

LaBrae Athletic Director Todd Rowe said Bohren has a great rapport with the players.

"He had a great relationship with the kids," Rowe said. "We've had several kids he's helped go on and play in college. He did a great job around the fieldhouse as far as preparation, keep the kids enthusiastic about learning the game of football. I have a lot of respect for him. I think he's a great individual. I think he'll be missed in a lot of ways as he moves on."

Bohren said trick of him leaving is actually a treat for the next LaBrae coach.

"I just thought this was the right time because next year we're going to have a nice nucleus coming back," Bohren said. "For a new coach to come in, we'll have an outstanding quarterback (Peyton Aldridge) and a lot of kids back.

"It'll be a good time for change."

Bohren, who has a 288-163-6 career mark, has been at Ottawa-Glandorf, Steubenville, Lakeview, Butler (Pa.), Salem, Niles and LaBrae in a career that has spanned nearly five decades.

He has soft spot for LaBrae, where he spent his career-best nine seasons, and said the reason he came there was the build up the program.

"When I got there, they were 3-27 and won one game a year. We won six games a year," Bohren said. "I feel really good about that. I still want to coach. I'll just find a new job and some guy will come in at LaBrae and have a real good job there. There are real good people there and real good kids."

Rowe said candidates from inside the school district and current assistant coaches will get first consideration to be Bohren's replacement.

"We're going to take a look there first and see if we have some potential candidates," Rowe said. "Then, we'll try to expand after that.

"Even if it ends up being an outside candidate, we would prefer to have some people that we know who are good, quality individuals that are on the teaching staff still be part of the program. It's going to be a combination of those things."

In addition to finding a candidate with the right staff, Rowe said he's mindful that off-season weight training starts soon. He also knows some of those candidates might have teams still playing in the postseason.

"This process could take a few weeks to a couple of months to figure out who the right candidate is," Rowe said. "There are still a lot of great football people inside and outside the district that may play a role in LaBrae football.

"We don't want to rush to a decision to think we need to do it with a particular deadline. At the same time, it will be one of the top priorities to fill that position."

As for Bohren, leaving his position at LaBrae will mean leaving some good players.

"You always miss the kids," Bohren said. "LaBrae kids are great kids to coach. They practice every day. They play as hard as they can play. They're really great young men. The nice thing about it is the next coach coming in there inherits those kids of kids. They're just good football kids."

Now, Bohren is in search of his seventh team in Ohio to coach.

"I'm 78 years old and I think I'm going to coach about three more years. I think I'll crack 80," Bohren said.

Whoever hires Bohren takes on a legendary figure.

A couple of years ago, Bohren was inducted in the Ohio High School Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame.

"The six guys that went in with me - all are retired and one is dead. I'm thinking I'd better stay healthy," Bohren said.

Coaching football and building programs, not retirement, is what drives Bohren.

"Most guys as they get up at that age, just want to sit on the couch and maybe watch football on TV," Rowe said. "He's still the first guy out there getting the fieldhouse ready for practice and typically he's the last guy to leave.

"He still has a lot of time and energy somehow that he wants to give to the program. It'll be interesting to see what the future holds for Bill."