It’s a one-and-done year for Brett Stubbs as Monroe High School football coach, but he wants to make an impact before handing off the reins next year.
That’s why Stubbs, a former Hornets assistant and head coach, has adopted the motto “Be the change” this season.
Stubbs plans to retire from coaching after this season but accepted the position on an interim basis when Barak Faulk, who was hired to replace Bill Leach in January, resigned in May.
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“The first day of weight lifting, I got shirts made,” Stubbs said. “And I pulled kids together and I told them, ‘I live in this community. I’ve been here for 12 years, probably longer, and I hear the parents complaining and people in the community complaining. Obviously, people are getting their info from somewhere, so if you don’t want to hear that, if you want things to change, you have to be the person to make the change. In all things you do, be the change.’ That’s been the attitude.”
The changes don’t necessarily have to equate to a sudden turnaround in the program as far as wins and losses go, Stubbs said.
Monroe went 4-16 over the last two seasons, including a 1-9 (0-6 in the Southwestern Buckeye League Southwestern Division) last year, and only 38 players are on the current roster. Stubbs coached seventh-grade football in the district last year but was the defensive coordinator under Leach and served as Monroe’s head coach from 2010 to 2012, going 13-17 over his three seasons.
“It’s more of a change of the attitude and the effort and changing everything about all the things we hear people complaining about or whatever it is and make it a positive situation,” Stubbs said. “From there hopefully the results come. Kids have worked hard all summer, so there are lots of positives, and kids are excited.
“If we go 10-0, that’s great and will be because of the work the kids have done. And if we are not so fortunate, we are still going to enjoy each other and make sure it’s a positive experience.”
Stubbs isn’t making any big changes schematically.
The Hornets ran a pistol/spread offense last year but were in the process of switching to the Wing-T under Faulk during the offseason and will continue with it this season — Stubbs was familiar with it from a stint at Edgewood. Defensively, they will move from a 4-3 to a 3-3 stack, which many of the players were familiar with from when Stubbs was defensive coordinator two years ago.
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Personnel-wise, Stubbs feels pretty good with what he has to work with, despite the low numbers.
“The kids have really bought into our ‘Be the change’ motto, and it’s showing in practice every day,” Stubbs said. “We have 10 seniors who are working hard. It’s been a solid group, and they’ve done a great job leading the kids, so we are hoping for positive things.”
The offense will be led by senior quarterback Nick Osterman, who threw for 1,665 yards and 10 touchdowns last year, and Garrett Morris, who will step in at running back to replace the production lost from the graduation of 1,000-yard rusher Hunter Collins.
Slotback Tyler Hendricks also returns, and juniors Tejean Rice and Tyler Tracey got some experience last year and will be used in the slot as well. Five seniors play on the offensive line, including center Will Streit, guards Tanner Oaks and Alex Zimmerman, and tackles Quentin Brown and Quinn Sechrist.
“We’re solid on the offensive line but one injury can change that, so we have to stay healthy,” Stubbs said. “Defense is where we have some concerns. Most of our starters on offense are playing defense too, so our biggest concern is attrition. We have to get some young guys in to give these guys some rest.”
Leading the defense are Brown on the defensive line, Morris at linebacker and Hendricks at defensive back.
Stubbs will be assisted by Dwayne Terry, Jason Osterman, Alec Fultz, Jared Ferguson, R.J. Miltenberger and Tyler Burnside, four of whom are Monroe graduates. Fultz is from Middletown, and Terry is from New Miami.
“I’m trying to make it a positive thing for the seniors, and hopefully we get those seniors turning things around,” Stubbs said. “I told them it’s a one-and-done season for me, but I want things to go well. I have some young coaches, so I’m hoping to lead them in the right direction and hopefully they continue to build on what we do this year.”
Coach: Brett Stubbs, fourth season (13-17)
OHSAA designation: Division III, Region 12
Playoff history: 11-9 in 9 appearances (1983, 1986, 1993, 1994, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2014)
2017 record: 1-9 overall, 0-6 in the Southwestern Buckeye League Southwestern Division (seventh)
Schedule: Aug. 24 — Edgewood, 7 p.m.; Aug. 31 — Ross, 7 p.m.; Sept. 7 — at New Richmond, 7 p.m.; Sept. 14 — at Franklin, 7 p.m.; Sept. 21 — at Valley View, 7 p.m.; Sept. 28 — Eaton, 7 p.m.; Oct. 5 — Brookville, 7 p.m.; Oct. 12 — at Oakwood, 7 p.m.; Oct. 19 — at Madison, 7 p.m.; Oct. 26 — Bellbrook, 7 p.m.