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Published: Monday, 8/6/2007

Cromwell is boss on sidelines and in office

BY IGNAZIO MESSINA
BLADE STAFF WRITER

In high school, two of the most demanding jobs are principal and head varsity football coach.

Dick Cromwell, longtime leader on the gridiron for the all-male St. Francis de Sales High, now will hold both jobs this school year.

We are going to have a busy fall, Mr. Cromwell said last week just after football practice.

To be principal of a school our size is a pretty full-time job and, because of the situation, we have a lot of people who are going to help me, he said. If it wasn t for that, it would be improbable.

Former principal Andy Hill recently left the 595-student school on Bancroft Street to become a middle school principal for Crestwood Local schools near Akron. The Rev. Ronald Olszewski, president of St. Francis, said Mr. Cromwell was appointed interim principal because of his long history at the school.

We decided to either just carve up the job and have different people do different parts, or name someone here to be an interim, Father Olszewski said. Dick has had some administrative experience here, he handles things really well, and he has a good relationship with all of our faculty and staff.

Mr. Cromwell will discontinue teaching math this year and will dedicate all his time to his two full-time jobs.

Students both on and off the field have admired Mr. Cromwell s leadership, Father Olszewski said.

In 2005, he was inducted into the Ohio High School Coaches Association Hall of Fame. He guided the Knights to two state championships.

Mr. Cromwell, now in his second stint as the Knights head coach, began his football love affair as a youngster in Medina, Ohio. He lettered in football, basketball, and baseball at Medina High and won the Mike Gregory Trophy for the Ohio Conference s most outstanding of-fensive performer while playing quarterback at Ohio Wesleyan University.

From 1975 to 1979, he was head football coach at Olmsted Falls, and first coached at St. Francis from the fall of 1979 to 1984. His 1980, 1982, and 1984 teams qualified for the playoffs, and the 1984 team won the Division I state title.

Mr. Cromwell was head coach at Findlay from 1985 through 1988 and returned to St. Francis in 1990 to continue a career that has included seven City League championships and eight trips to the playoffs.

Mr. Cromwell was head coach of the USA team for the NFL Global Junior Championship X all-star tourney in January, 2006, at the Pontiac Silverdome as part of the Super Bowl XL festivities. He led a 36-man roster of Ohio high school players.

The two jobs partially have the same goal, he said. The things you do as a coach or role model is to instill a work ethic, he said. That is similar to what you do in the school building.

This winter, Mr. Cromwell said, St. Francis probably will start searching for a principal to take over in the fall of 2008.

Contact Ignazio Messina at:imessina@theblade.comor 419-724-6171.



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