April 20, 2014

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High school football: Howery’s tenure over as Oberlin coach

OBERLIN — Fred Howery’s tenure as Oberlin High football coach came to a close Tuesday just two weeks after he completed his fourth season.

Howery and athletic director Ty Stillman came to a mutual decision during an afternoon meeting. He leaves Oberlin with a 10-30 record and one winning season. Oberlin was 2-8 in 2013 and 1-6 in the Patriot Athletic Conference.

“We had different philosophies, different views, on where the program was headed,” Howery said. “I guess there were things in his eyes I didn’t do properly to move the program in the right direction.”

Stillman said Howery did a very good job, but he also admitted to having a different view on how to go about running the program. Stillman is in the middle of his first season as Oberlin’s athletic director.

“He was ready to move on and I think our coaching philosophies were different,” Stillman said. “I definitely feel that he has left it at a good place for whoever comes in and takes over. I think it’s better off after the four years than what he took over.

“I’ve coached football a long time. I know the way I would want things done. It doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the right way, it’s just the way I know. Fred likes to do his way and through no fault of his, they’re just not the same.”

The Phoenix had a breakthrough in 2012, going 6-4 with a 3-4 PAC record, but last season Oberlin managed just two wins against opponents with a combined 0-20 record.

“I was there for the kids and to move them in the right direction,” Howery said. “In my four years they’ve probably had more kids go onto college and play football then they’ve had in the last 10 to 15 years. My thing was I wanted to see kids succeed from Oberlin and I never backed down from anybody when they degraded our kids.”

Howery said he might take a year off, but he is also exploring possible opportunities in Cleveland. Howery teaches health and physical education at John Hay High School. He said his unwillingness to leave his job in Cleveland was a sticking point with some members of the community, but he also said that he was not offered a teaching position within the Oberlin city school system.

“Hopefully the Oberlin kids know that I was there and I did my best to help them,” Howery said. “I think the program is in better shape than what it was when I took over four years ago.”

As for Oberlin’s next coach, Stillman said he didn’t have any candidates in mind and the school will begin its search shortly.

“To lead this Oberlin football program to greatness, it’s going to take a real dynamic individual,” Stillman said. “One who obviously knows football, but at the same time really understands how to lead men, lead a staff and be a real positive figure influence within the Oberlin community and Lorain County.”

Contact Chris Sweeney at 329-7135 or ctsports@chroniclet.com.