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Published: 5/18/2013

Vicars returning to coach football at Delta

Coach led Panthers to 3 titles in previous stint

BY STEVE JUNGA
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

After seven years away, football coach Mike Vicars will return to the school where he made one of his biggest impacts.

Vicars, 49, will return to Delta for the 2013-14 school year, having been hired as a middle school principal in the Pike-Delta-York system as well as the high school’s football coach.

The move comes four weeks after Vicars announced he would not be accepting similar positions with Oregon schools, where he was to serve as a junior high assistant principal and the football coach at Clay High School.

Vicars is currently finishing up a six-year administrative and coaching stint at Genoa. He had made a verbal commitment to Oregon, where he currently resides, but never signed a contact.

“I’m really happy because home is home,” Vicars said. “I’m from that [Delta] area. I wanted to get into a position [at a location] where I was not only going to finish my career, but where I’m going to live the rest of my life.

“It’s been great here at Genoa, but I truly have missed home. I’m looking forward to being closer to my mom and to my wife’s family [both in Liberty Center].

“Over the last six years, my wife has maintained her job in Wauseon, and she’s had to drive a long ways to work.”

At the time of his April 19 decision to pull out of the Oregon jobs, Vicars said, for the record, that he was better suited in a smaller school setting and that he didn’t think he had the right “skill set” to work in the bigger school setting in Oregon.

But sources within Oregon schools indicated Vicars’ decision to leave was made in part because it came to his attention that two longtime Clay assistant coaches that he intended to retain would have their merits questioned by the Oregon school board. Clay assistant coaches Rod Achter and Mike Row acknowledged that they were the coaches in question.

Vicars subsequently applied for the middle school principal’s position at Delta at that time. Once he announced he would not be coaching at Clay, he was contacted by Delta athletic director Chad Smith in regard to the vacant football coaching position.

“Mike brings excitement to our middle school building as the new leader and principal, and his leadership skills will prove to be an asset to our district,” Smith said. “Also, there is no doubt that his role as head coach will improve our football program."

Vicars’ hiring is subject to approval from the school board at a meeting on Wednesday.

During his 23 seasons as coach (154-101 record), Vicars earned a reputation for his ability to turn struggling programs into winners.

Delta was the location for one of those reclamation projects. From 1999-2006, the Panthers went 62-29, won three Northwest Ohio Athletic League titles, and reached the playoffs six times, including a Division IV state semifinal run in 2003.

At Genoa (2007-2011), Vicars’ teams posted a 56-7 record, won four Suburban Lakes League titles, and reached the state playoffs all five years. The Comets reeled off 48 straight regular-season wins during that stretch, and the 2008 team reached the D-IV state semifinals.

He stepped down as head coach following the 2011 season, but remained on the staff as an assistant coach under Tim Spiess in 2012.

Vicars, a Liberty Center graduate, also was head coach at Holgate, Ada, and Hilltop.



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