Liberty to hire Cylar as new football coach

Two weeks after Brian Jones resigned as the head football coach at Liberty, the Leopards have found his replacement in Kevin Cylar.

The 40-year-old Ursuline assistant coach was offered the job on Friday morning according to Ursuline coach Larry Kempe, but Cylar must wait until Monday evening’s Board of Education meeting for the job to become his officially.

While being cautiously optimistic, Cylar said it is still premature to call him the Liberty coach before the board meeting. Still, he’s looking forward to the opportunity.

“I’m just excited about the possibility,” he said. “If it comes true on Monday, I’ll be ecstatic because to coach at Liberty High School, one of the premier high schools in Ohio with their tradition, with the legacy of different athletes and different people that have graduated from that school – to even be considered to be a part of that, is exciting in itself.”

A 1991 East graduate, Cylar spent the last eight seasons as an assistant at Ursuline under Dan Reardon and Kempe, who took over for Reardon last season. He coached the secondary and receivers and even helped out on special teams.

Before that, he was a basketball and track coach at Chaney.

On a list of coaches who have inspired Cylar, he named Reardon, Kempe and former Ursuline and Youngstown State secondary coach Rollen Smith.

“There’s a few other people like Dan Reardon, obviously he got me into this,” Cylar said. “He hired me as a virtually unknown like just Liberty’s took a chance on me, and we won three state championships, appeared in four. It worked out that time, so I’m hoping everything works out on Monday so we can enjoy some of the same success.”

In terms of his coaching strengths, Cylar said that he’s a players’ coach who can bring out the best out of his players.

“The best thing that Kevin does is he relates very well to the student athletes,” Kempe said. “He knows how to get the most out of kids. He’s a great communicator, and one of the things I’ll miss with him, he’s extremely loyal to his players and fellow coaches.”

His loyalty showed on Friday morning, when Cylar called Kempe about the offer. Cylar asked for Kempe’s permission to leave the Ursuline staff and go take over another program.

Kempe, who said that he believes all assistants at Ursuline could be head coaches, had no qualms about telling the 40 year old to take the job.

“When he was offered the job this morning, he called me and asked if it was OK with me that he take the job, and I said, ‘Absolutely,'” Kempe said. “I think it’s a great opportunity for Kevin. I think that Liberty has gotten a fine coach, a fine communicator of people.”

As for his plans for the Liberty football program, Cylar declined to comment on them because he doesn’t have the job yet. Should the board rubberstamp his appointment, though, he said that he expects the team to play tough and disciplined.

He also said that it will be exciting to take over the reins of the program from Jones, who turned around a 0-10 team in 2011 to a 9-3 record and a playoff appearance in 2012 during his one year as head coach.

“It’s still premature, but to be the head football coach at Liberty High School would be tremendous for me and my family,” Cylar said. “I’m very excited about the possibilities.”