OBERLIN — Oberlin College has an Oberlin-grown coach to lead its football program. Jay Anderson was selected Thursday to take the position vacated by Jeff Ramsey last December.
Anderson graduated from Oberlin High School and won two state titles in the 100-meter dash in 1997 and 1998. He went on to play football at the University of Toledo, where the Rockets won or shared three-straight West Division titles from 2000-02 and appeared in the MAC Championship game in 2001 and 2002, winning the title in 2001.
“I think it’s great for the community for me being a local guy,” Anderson said. “I think it’s great for our campus community as well. Oberlin prides itself on being a progressive institution and I’m truly excited for the opportunity that’s been afforded to me to lead this football program.”
Ramsey led Oberlin for 15 seasons and finished 3-7 in 2013 with a 2-7 record in the North Coast Athletic Conference. Anderson served as his defensive coordinator last season and his defense ranked fourth in the NCAC. He spent 2009-11 with Oberlin on a part-time basis as the team’s defensive backs coach.
In 2012, he was the linebackers coach for Notre Dame College.
“Jay is a guy who during the highs and lows has strong character and has done a great job during his time here,” said Mike Mancini, assistant director of athletics for communications. “He did a great job with our defense and works very well with our kids. He proved to be a great fit for us and I think he’ll take this program to the next level.”
Anderson will have an uphill battle in getting Oberlin to the next level. Since the Yeomen joined the NCAC they’ve had just three .500 seasons — in 2003, 2006 and 2007. Those are also the only years Oberlin has had a winning conference record. The last time the Yeomen had a winning record was 1974, when they went 5-4.
“I think it starts with recruiting and developing,” Anderson said. “We have to populate our program. It’s no secret that we have a very small roster and we face those challenges every single week this past year. We’re working our tails off as recruiters and coaches to grow our football program with regards to numbers and talent. From there the culture will change.”
The school ultimately selected Anderson after narrowing the 200 applications it received down to four finalists. While the school was searching, Anderson served as the interim coach and led the recruiting effort. He helped the program secure 15 players through the early decision process, according to the school.
“For me it’s always been to do the best job that I can do in the position I’m in,” Anderson said. “Me being in an interim position didn’t affect me at all. I wanted to do a great job for Oberlin College. I wanted to do a great job for our student athletes in our program and part of that is the recruiting and development of young men.”