JFK coach more than an assistant

Greenamyer part of Eagles’ veteran staff

WARREN — There’s a familiarity factor every coach has with his staff.

John F. Kennedy football coach Jeff Bayuk knows this quite well.

Rod Greenamyer, 51, is such a person.

“It’s nice to have somebody that will challenge some of the things you think, and some of the things they think,” Bayuk, 58, said. “That’s how you make progress. I don’t need people nodding their head and agreeing with everything I think. That doesn’t help you get better.”

Greenamyer joined the Canfield coaching staff in 1987 as a freshman coach.

He later became a varsity assistant the next couple of seasons before heading off to Lowellville, where he spent a couple of seasons as the Rockets assistant and, later, head coach.

That was the experience Greenamyer needed when he joined the Hubbard staff in 1997, a place Bayuk was from the early 1990s to the mid 2000s.

Greenamyer followed Bayuk to Campbell for a couple of seasons, was assistants with him at Howland and Harding before being Bayuk’s offensive line and offensive coordinator for the past three seasons at Kennedy. The Eagles (13-1) are taking on Minster (10-4) in Saturday morning’s Division VII state title game at 10 a.m., at Ohio Stadium in Columbus.

Bayuk said the two coaches know each other so well that internal arguments are par for the course. It’s something that is part of the coaching growth process. Greenamyer said the experience he’s had with Bayuk helped him build up what he calls equity with his friend and colleague.

Greenamyer said the two have pretty much the same philosophy. He said he can recite what Bayuk wants during a game — even though it may seem like the two disagree. There was such an instance when the two were assistants at Harding.

“We’re playing Mooney and (Harding coach) Steve Arnold was on the headphones with us and we got into an argument about a play Jeff wanted to run,” Greenamyer said. “I told him I didn’t think it would work. We ran it and we scored a touchdown on it. He was giving me the business. I was giving him the business. At halftime, Steve came to us and said, ‘Hey, is everything alright with you two?’

“We just kind of laughed.”

Greenamyer said his offensive coordinator duties went from calling 30 to 40 percent of the plays at Hubbard to 90 percent what he does with the Eagles. However, he emphasizes Bayuk has the veto power as head coach.

The two are like brothers, with Greenamyer being Bayuk’s younger sibling — so to speak.

“I don’t take anything personal,” Greenamyer said. “He and I, we’ve been friends for so long. To me, he’s like the older brother that I never had. The thing he respects about me is I understand when people talk about Warren JFK, it’s his name that is on that program. I’ve been in that situation. I understand it. He’s the one that’s going to take the heat. A lot of times as head coach, it’s not even decisions you’ve made. There’s been times I’ve screwed up some play calls and he had to answer some questions about it.”

It’s not just Greenamyer who has the history with Bayuk, making this JFK coaching staff so successful.

Defensive coordinator Dominic Prologo, who played for Bayuk in his early coaching days, is part of this Kennedy staff.

Assistant coaches Brian Bosheff and Frank O’Brien were on staff with Bayuk at Hubbard.

“It’s kind of a team thing,” Greenamyer said. “A lot of us have been together for a while. I think that’s part of our success is we work well together.”

“I’m blessed to have some guys I’ve worked with before that I can count on,” Bayuk said.

Greenamyer said it’s his pleasure to be part of JFK’s staff as the Eagles return to the state title game for the first time since losing to St. Henry in the Division V championship in 2006.

He says Bayuk, in his opinion, is the best coach in this area.

Bayuk lets his assistants do their jobs this week to get the Eagles prepared for Minster, taking care of any outside distractions.

“He’ll certainly put is two cents worth in,” Greenamyer said. “He does a very good job of insulating us all the other stuff. Even thought this is unfamiliar territory to us, he has enough experience that he understands all the demands of his time and our time. We’re trying to keep everything as business as usual. That’s kind of the way he planned things for us this week. He’s a great leader. That’s why it’s a pleasure to work for him.”