Bohren seeking to coach again
Legendary football coach Bill Bohren is looking around for a chance to coach again in 2017, which would be his 49th as a head coach. Bohren stands just five wins away from the 300 career wins mark, but the youthful 82-year old coach insists that he’s not going to keep coaching, just to chase numbers.
“I’d like to get to 300, but I’m not going to come back and coach just to get (five) more wins,” Bohren explained. “There has to be something in the day besides sitting around and watching television. That’s the great thing about football, it’s a year-round sport and I really enjoy the offseason program.”
Bohren, who has a career record of 295-177-6, spent the last two seasons at Chalker, where the Wildcats went 3-6 in 2015, and followed that up with a 4-6 record this past year.
However, due to a number of factors, coach thought it was best to move on and pursue other opportunities. According to Bohren, while he enjoyed his time with the Wildcats, a number of challenges, including a lack of players, led to his decision.
“I just thought it was the best time to leave Chalker,” Bohren said. “We were having numbers problems and we were losing kids to transfer. I thought it would be a good idea to step down and let a younger coach come in and take over for the next three or four years and try to build the program.”
Prior to his time at Chalker, the veteran coach had certainly been well-traveled. Bohren actually started his head coaching career in Illinois, coaching at the ironically-named Ohio High School.
After moving to a bigger program in Illinois, Bohren got the itch to come back to Ohio. He first started out in Northwest Ohio, coaching Ottawa-Glandorf High School, a traditional football powerhouse in the Lima/Findlay area.
He then got the opportunity to coach Steubenville during the “heyday” of the All-American Conference, which included Warren G. Harding. Bohren, in fact, hired now-legendary Big Red coach Reno Saccoccia, a 300-game winner with three state titles.
After stops at Canfield and Lakeview, Bohren experienced perhaps his greatest career success at Boardman, where he retired as a teacher. With the Spartans, Bohren coached a number of impressive teams in his nine years at the helm, including the 1987 team that made it all the way to the Division I state title game, before losing to Cincinnati Princeton.
While Bohren has plenty of great memories at all of his stops, those years with the Spartans may be the greatest memories in his mind. “I remember beating St. Joe’s in triple overtime when they had Desmond Howard and Elvis Grbac,” Bohren said. “The thing is, we actually had two or three teams that were as good as our ’87 team.”
According to hometeamsonline.com, Bohren has the school’s greatest winning percentage (64.8%) and won two conference titles to go along with a pair of postseason appearances.
Once he moved on from Boardman, he wound up in his native Western Pennsylvania, coaching at Butler. However, he says he preferred coaching in Ohio instead, and thus came back to the Youngstown area, making his way to Salem, before reviving the Niles McKinley football program, where he led the Red Dragons to their greatest success since the 1960’s.
Finally, he went on to LaBrae and put in nine years with the Vikings, before his latest venture with the Wildcats. At the current moment, Bohren is still looking for an opportunity, but he’s not giving up, any time soon.
“After the holidays is when things start opening up, so I’ll be looking into that,” Bohren said. “Of course there’s always a domino effect, too. One coach leaves to take a job one place, and then the dominoes start falling. I keep looking for my name in the obituaries, but it’s not there, so I’m gonna keep coaching.”
For a coach that’s been around the game for so long, he certainly would be the best one to give advice to a younger coach, just trying to break into the ranks. Bohren believes that while the game has changed, the kids playing it really haven’t.
“People ask me, ‘What’s the difference between kids today and 50 years ago?’ Basically, the kid is no different, and it’s the discipline,” Bohren explained. “Thirty years ago, we didn’t have kids wearing earrings, but a lot of the players do now.
“But, I like to have a “no earring policy” in place, and when you ask the kids to do that, they listen. What’s really changed is that football is a year-round sport now, and with the offseason program, kids have gotten bigger, stronger and more athletic. The game has also changed as far fundamentals. With passing offenses and 7-on-7 drills these days, tackling and fundamentals are really lacking. But I always say, ‘I’m gonna run the ball ’til I die.”