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Published: Friday, 4/24/2009

Waite, Libbey name new coaches for 2009 season

BY STEVE JUNGA
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

Waite and Libbey will both have new football coaches for the 2009 season and each already has ties to those high schools.

Gardner Howard, 32, who spent last season as the coach at Scott, will succeed John Johnson at Waite.

Sean Wesolowski, also 32, has been an assistant for six seasons at Libbey, where he will replace Eric Henderson as the head coach.

Howard, who has spent the last six seasons as an assistant girls basketball coach at Waite, is employed by TPS. He currently serves as acting assistant principal at Robinson Middle School, where he was dean of students before taking the interim position.

"It wasn't easy," Howard said of moving from Scott to Waite. "But for me it was a more stable situation having already been coaching at Waite for several years. I've worked with the administration and staff there for a while now, and that allowed me to do more things and I had a better comfort level."

Howard, a 1994 graduate of Defiance High School, was an All-Ohio player there before lettering four years as a defensive lineman at Bowling Green State University. He earned second-team All-Mid-American Conference honors his final two seasons with the Falcons. Before taking the Scott job last year, Howard spent six seasons as a football assistant at St. John's Jesuit.

Scott was 2-8, 1-6 in the City League in 2008.

Wesolowski, son of the late

Fred Wesolowski, said he swore to himself as a youngster that he would never become a teacher or a coach. He made that assessment after having tagged along with his father, who spent 32 years as a teacher and/or assistant athletic director at Libbey. The elder Wesolowski also served as a longtime coach at both Libbey and Start.

The younger Wesolowski, a 1995 Start grad who later played football and ran track for four years at Oberlin College, got a taste of teaching and coaching shortly after earning his history degree and found he enjoyed working with kids.

Wesolowski hopes to continue the impressive work of Henderson, who guided Libbey to consecutive 4-6 (3-4 CL) seasons in 2007 and 2008. Overall, Henderson was 14-46 (9-33 CL) in six seasons after the Cowboys had gone 6-79 (3-51 CL) from 1994-2002. He resigned because his wife was reassigned out of the Toledo area in her job with the federal government.

"The situation is a little awkward because Eric had to leave," Wesolowski said, "but it's been a smooth transition because most of the staff has stuck around. The first thing we want to do is make sure we take care of eligibility.

"It hurts when you lose key players to [academic] ineligibility. There has been excitement in our program the last few years, and we've gotten the kids at Libbey interested in football. They want to be a part of it. We've had three teams [freshman, junior varsity and varsity] the last few years, and we've got a good base of guys right now."

Contact Steve Junga at:

sjunga@theblade.com

or 419-724-6461.



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