By TED RADICK
The Hardin Northern Local School District has fulfilled its obligation to the five Blanchard Valley Conference schools that lost home games after Hardin Northern dropped its varsity football program for the 2013 season.
The district paid a total of $12,993.66. Bylaw 33 of the BVC constitution requires six months notice if a school does field a varsity program; Hardin Northern missed that deadline last spring.
The penalty fee is the average of each school’s last three home dates with Hardin Northern. The district paid McComb $4,348.33; Liberty-Benton $3,518.33; Leipsic $2,893; Cory-Rawson $1,212; and Vanlue $1,022.
Hardin Northern will reinstate its varsity football program this fall, playing an independent schedule. A search for a football coach continues after Keith Obenour stepped down after last year’s season in which the Polar Bears played a predominately junior varsity schedule.
“We’re still looking,” Hardin Northern Superintendent Doug Roberts said. “We will continue to accept applications until we fill the position. You never know what jobs will open up, or somebody will decide to leave another school. We are in the process of talking to different people.”
Interest in the position has been strong. Roberts said the more than 50 candidates applied for the job.
“The downside to that is, most of those people would need a teaching position that we do not have an opening for,” Roberts said.
Roberts said the school’s return to varsity play likely led the strong interest in the coaching job.
“I think our numbers will be good,” he said. “And, I assumed they would be. We knew we were going to struggle in the 2013 season, but we also knew that most of the kids were young. Our numbers should be considerably better this coming season.”
Hardin Northern’s home and season opener will be Aug. 29 against Fostoria St. Wendelin. Home games on the schedule include Toledo Horizon Science Academy, Fremont St. Joseph, Gibsonburg and Lakota. The Polar Bears will travel to Waynesfield-Goshen, Ridgemont, Elyria Open Door Christian, Riverside and Crestline.
Separately, Pandora-Gilboa and Leipsic have begun their searches for new football coaches. Carey Arthur retired at P-G after last season and Joe Kirkendall left Leipsic to take the head coaching job at Patrick Henry.
Both schools had a bit of a delay in opening their searches as they determined whether teaching openings would be available. Leipsic is taking applications through Feb. 7 with promise of a teaching job for next year; an announcement listed in The Courier states there may be future teaching position openings in the district.
Pandora-Gilboa athletic director Josh Kauffman said his district is also interested in the next football coach being a teacher.
“That would be ideal,” he said. “That may or may not happen, because of the openings we have. We are going to have a search committee and we will move forward late this month and into February.
Kauffman said there is no specific deadline to fill the job, other than that P-G wants to hire a coach as soon as possible.
“I don’t know that it will happen at the February school board meeting,” he said. “It may be the March meeting.”
By TED RADICK