Oberlin High didn’t have to look very far for its new football coach — just a couple of blocks to the west, to be exact.
Mike Law — an Oberlin College assistant coach the last three seasons after a successful playing career for the Yeomen — was officially hired and approved by the Oberlin school board Tuesday night. Law replaces Fred Howery, who was dismissed after coaching the Phoenix for the last four seasons.
“While searching for a coach, I took a great deal of time finding the best possible fit for Oberlin,” athletic director Ty Stillman said. “With the new direction that the football program is heading in, having an energetic, hard-working football professional lead our program was great for all parties involved.
“Mike has played for some of the greatest coaches in the area and is a true student of the game. Mike is a dynamic individual who I trust to bring this program and this community great pride in the near future.”
Stillman was an assistant coach under Jeff Ramsey at Oberlin College while Law was a three-year starter at left tackle from 2008-10. Law started 31 games during that span and was a first-team All-North Coast Athletic Conference selection following his senior season.
“Ty Stillman coached me at Oberlin and his brother was our defensive coordinator, so I had a familiarity there,” Law said. “When I found out about the opening, I talked to him about the opportunity and about some of the visions he had about where this school district was going athletically. To me, it was a good bet for me to stay in the Oberlin community and be a part of the student-athletes’ lives within the sport of football.”
Law also played at Perry High School, where current Avon coach Mike Elder was his head coach and new Amherst coach Mike Fishleigh was a Perry assistant. Law contacted the pair before landing the Oberlin High job.
“Those were two people I reached out to for advice,” Law said. “They gave me a lot of confidence to step out of my role as a recruiter and developer at the collegiate level and to go run my own program at the high school level, where it’s more about community development and having student-athletes succeed both in the classroom and on the field.
“They gave me some great advice about dealing with parents and that type of thing. Having the track record they’ve had at Perry and at Avon and what I believe Coach Fishleigh will bring to Amherst, it’s nice to have those types of people to reach out to.”
Law also sought the advice of Ramsey, who was Oberlin College’s coach during Law’s four years and was the first person to give him a coaching job. Law coached the running backs and was a recruiting coordinator at Oberlin from 2011-12 and was the offensive line and strength and conditioning coach last season.
“He was a great resource because he was in the Oberlin community a lot longer than I have been,” Law said. “He was able to talk to me about difficulties that I may run into, but also about the great people he ran into within the Oberlin school system.
“When you’ve been around a guy who has great football knowledge, you want to utilize that as much as possible. And Jeff’s someone that I will continue to reach out to and utilize for his advice as I make my own path as a head coach.”
Law is excited about the challenges of reshaping the Oberlin football program and lending more stability.
“I want to communicate to everyone how excited I am and how big an opportunity this is for me,” Law said.
“Ty Stillman is doing a great job transitioning to the high school level and has a great vision for the athletic programs here at Oberlin High School, and I’m excited to be working with him.
“I met with the team today and I plan to meet with them individually over the next couple days. It’s a long road, but it’s something I’m excited to get started on.”
Law said he wanted to bring some of the spread and West Coast offensive elements he’s been around at the collegiate level to the Phoenix, but won’t commit to a style of offense and defense until he sees what type of talent he has to work with.
“I want to make sure I’m tailoring the system to what we have personnel-wise,” Law said. “I haven’t been able to watch these student-athletes in action, and the more I watch them, the more I can see what we want to do both offensively and defensively.
“I benefited greatly from being a student-athlete and playing under great coaches at all levels, and I hope I can bring that experience to Oberlin for this group of student-athletes.”
Contact Dan Gilles at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.