December 22, 2014

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H.S. Football: Lorain release head coach, search for replacement

The “Help Wanted” sign is back up for Lorain High football.

After a three-win season under head coach Tony Shoulders, Lorain athletic director Bryan Koury wants the Titans program to go in another direction. He posted the job opening for the head football coach position after releasing the longtime coach Wednesday.

“They were looking for someone long-term,” Shoulders said. “I’m close to retiring soon. I did want to come back, but they want someone long-term. It was a good opportunity that I took. Life goes on and life is good.”

Shoulders coached this season under an interim basis after former coach Mark Solis accepted another head coaching position at Olentangy after two seasons at the helm. After starting the season 0-3, Shoulders led the team to three straight wins in which the Titans combined to score 162 points, including a 76-6 win over Warrensville Heights.

“I thought the season went pretty good,” Shoulders said. “I thought we could’ve had a few more wins, but that’s the way things go. It wasn’t the record we were looking for, but it was improvement overall from last year.”

Koury has a lot of respect for Shoulders and would love for him to return to the coaching staff in some capacity, but was up front with him on what he wants for the program.

“Tony is a great football mind, a great motivator, and he’s great for kids,” Koury said. “He was the interim head coach and we had that conversation before the year, and we said we would have the conversation at the end of the year, and we did.

“He’s at a stage in his career where he’s a year away from retirement. He hasn’t made any decisions yet to what he wants to do or how he wants to do it. He was very honest with me with his intentions. I have so much respect for the guy, not only as a coach, but as a person.”

Koury wants the new coach to build the program up from the elementary school level all the way up the varsity level.

“We’re looking for what hopefully could be a long-term solution, a long-term plan,” Koury said. “There’s never any guarantees, but ultimately we want to try to find somebody that we think will be here for many years and build the program from the bottom up.”

The job is enticing. The team is full of talented underclassmen. Out of the 43 touchdowns scored this season, 42 belonged to underclassmen.

“I would think that this would be a very intriguing position,” Koury said. “We had a few seniors that played a huge role in the team’s success, but the vast majority we have on the roster are underclassmen.

“We also have a tremendous crop of junior high kids coming in next year. I would think for a person interested in the position, they would be excited about the talent that’ll be coming back.”

Shoulders hasn’t decided what he wants to do next. He said he’s not going to rush into any decision. He does like where the Titans program is headed, though.

“There’s a really good junior class coming back,” Shoulders said. “A lot of those guys will be three-year starters.

“They have the playing experience under their belt, but what needs to be done is going to have to come from the kids, making more of a commitment and giving a little more dedication and discipline. If they do that, they’ll follow whoever the head coach’s lead. I think they’ll be very successful.”

Contact Steve Walker at 329-7135 or ctsports@chroniclet.com. Follow him on Twitter @Steve_R_Walker.