A Fox will lead the Panthers.
Elyria Catholic has hired Heidelberg assistant Brian Fox to replace Dave Stupka as its new football coach.
Fox, a Huron graduate, has 12 years of coaching experience, most recently as the passing game coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Heidelberg. He also was the strength and conditioning coach for all Student Princes athletes.
He was selected from more than 30 applicants.
“I’m extremely excited. It was a perfect situation,” Fox said. “Elyria Catholic is an incredible program that I was always familiar with, growing up in Huron. I wasn’t even looking for a job, but when I saw it was open I thought it would be exactly what I was looking for.
“I was very excited when (EC athletic director) Jack (Duffy) called me.”
Fox was the strength and conditioning coach at Illinois College for six seasons prior to his tenure at Heidelberg. He played for two seasons at Baldwin Wallace and coached the Yellow Jackets’ linebackers from 2007-09. He also was an assistant at Brookside in 2010.
The Student Princes’ passing attack flourished under Fox. The season before he was hired by head coach Scott Donaldson, Heidelberg averaged 250 yards passing a game, 77th in the country in Division III.
Under Fox, they averaged 327 yards, which ranked ninth in the country. Overall, the Heidelberg offense averaged 474 yards and 35 points a game.
“Brian is an unbelievable coach,” Donaldson said. “What he’s been able to do in a short period of time with us, as far as strength and conditioning and offensively, can’t be understated.
“He gets our guys prepared physically and mentally and really is a top-tier coach.”
At Huron, Fox played for Tony Legando, who went 211-99 in 28 years as the Tigers’ coach and made 14 playoff appearances.
“They got a good one,” Legando said. “Brian is a hard worker that really loves the game. He will always outwork his opponent, I guarantee that. I always had individual meetings with my players and Brian expressed interest in coaching back then. He did some great things at the college level and I’m really excited for him to have this opportunity.”
Fox hopes his program will share some of the characteristics of Legando’s.
“He set a very high standard,” he said. “So much of what I hope I am, what I want to become and really why I want to be in coaching is because of him and what he was able to do beyond football. He’s a spectacular coach and an amazing person.
“He came in and spoke before the season to our junior class and I was still on the edge of my seat with my heart racing. I’m really hoping I can continue to draw from him and have my program resemble his.”
Elyria Catholic last made the playoffs in 2010 under Ben Malbasa when, ironically, it defeated Huron 28-21 in the first round.
Fox knows Panthers fans and the school’s alumni are eager for a return to the playoffs.
“There is going to be pressure as far as that goes, but the biggest thing I hope to do is to focus more on the characteristics of winning and digging your roots deep,” Fox said. “Coach Legando used to tell us that winning takes care of itself. … As long as you’re doing the right things to grow and build character, things will take care of themselves.
“I will try to instill a disciplined, hard-working group and let the success come from that.”
Donaldson said Panther fans will have a product to be proud of, both on and off the field.
“His players are going to be high-character kids,” he explained. “If they’re going to play for Brian they are going to be taught the right way to do things, both on the football field and off. And he will hold them accountable.
“On the field they will be a passionate group. Brian is a motivator, a fiery young man and I am looking forward to seeing what his kids are going to do on the field for him next year.”
Fox, who is currently working on putting his staff together, is eager to get started.
“People can expect a lot of excitement and a lot of fun,” he said. “You will know practice is over when you stop hearing my voice. I’m very intense and very excitable. I love the game, love to have fun and football is not going to be a job for these kids.
“It’s going to be fun and we’ll have a group of guys that grow a lot as men. On the field I’m hoping to put on an exciting show. I’ve always been a fast-paced, physical type of guy on offense. My team will reflect that.
“What I’ve learned from all my coaches is that a lot of what you do as a football coach doesn’t have anything to do with football. It’s about building young men of character. That’s why I was really excited about this position, because I will have the chance to work in-depth with these kids and watch them grow as men.
“That’s one of the really exciting parts about the new responsibilities I will have.”
Contact Mike Perry at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.