MONROE — Bob Mullins is taking a full-steam-ahead approach to Monroe High School’s football program.
An outside linebackers coach at Lakota East for the last five seasons, Mullins received school-board approval Monday night and became Monroe’s new head coach.
“Our biggest goal is to put a product on the field that everyone can be proud of and build young men of character,” said Mullins, 37. “If you look at the city of Monroe and the history of Monroe, there’s a blue-collar element there. What I want to bring to the table is a blue-collar type of workmanship and attitude, and that’s all going to start in the weight room. We’re going to push the young men hard, and we’re going to push them in the right directions.”
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Monroe athletic director Eric Silverman said Mullins, a 2000 Lakota West graduate, was chosen from a pool of 28 applicants.
The Hornets are looking for some stability and success in the program — their last winning record came in 2015. Mullins is the fourth head coach since the end of the 2017 season.
Bill Leach stepped down after going 1-9 in 2017. Barak Faulk was hired in January, but he was gone less than six months later after a dispute about his teaching situation. Brett Stubbs agreed to step in for one season before his retirement and went 2-8 in 2018.
Silverman said there are no sure things when it comes to hiring coaches and producing success. This is Mullins’ first head coaching job.
“We talked to a lot of people,” Silverman said. “Everything we found says that Bob is a top-notch, first-class guy. He was highly recommended for what he does in the classroom and on the football field. We’re very excited and very confident in his abilities as a head football coach.
“You can tell in talking with him that everything he’s about is student first. He really is passionate about using football and the life lessons and values that come with the game to create great young men who can achieve on the field and be set up for success in life.”
East head coach Rick Haynes said he’ll miss Mullins as a member of his staff, “but we’re very happy and excited for Bobby.”
“You usually want to hire guys that want to be head coaches someday, and I think he’s at a point in his career where he’s ready to be a head coach,” Haynes continued. “I think Bobby’s great with kids. He’s very passionate. He’s organized. He’s intense. His team will be fundamentally sound. I don’t think they’ll do things that will beat themselves.”
Mullins coached at Lakota West and Oak Hills before coming to East. He was a defensive lineman during his playing days at West under Larry Cox.
“I’ve always wanted to be a head coach, but at this point in time, I wasn’t really looking hard because I was real happy at East,” Mullins said. “But I always told my wife if the Monroe job ever opens back up, that’s a job I’m going to go after.
“I grew up in Monroe, but where I lived was part of Lakota Schools. I’m very familiar with the town. When the job opened up, I knew I was going to apply for it. Then I was like, ‘I’ve got three kids, I’m happy where I’m at.’ But it worked out to where I talked to my wife and she was like, ‘You’ve always talked about how you’d love to have the Monroe job,’ so I just went all in and went after it.
“Monroe put together a really good committee with a lot of football guys. I was impressed with that. When I’ve applied for jobs in the past, that wasn’t always the case.”
He teaches special education at Princeton Middle School and plans to stay in that position for now. Mullins said Monroe wants to have its head coaches in the building, so he’ll be considered for any future openings. He’s certified to teach social studies and special education, and he also has an administrative license.
On the field, Mullins plans to be the defensive coordinator and use the 50. He’s searching for an offensive coordinator, but said Monroe will probably run the triple option.
“We’ll be a run-heavy team for sure,” Mullins said. “My background has been in the triple option and controlling the clock. We want to control the time of possession and grind it out offensively, and we want to stop the run on defense. With the type of kids that Monroe has, I think you can have a lot of success running a program like that.”
Asked about his personal style of coaching, Mullins said he’s mellowed a bit through the years. The only thing that truly draws his ire is a lack of effort.
“I started off my career when I was yelling and screaming all the time, and I’d come home with headaches and be like, ‘I can’t be doing this anymore,’ ” Mullins said. “If you screw up or do something wrong, I’m going to pull you aside and coach you up and talk to you how I would like to be talked to. But I’ll go from zero to 100 if your effort’s not where it needs to be.
“I’ve been very fortunate through the years to have coached with some great people. I wouldn’t be where I’m at today if I didn’t have every single one of them, from Coach (Kurry) Commins at Oak Hills to Coach Cox at Lakota West to Coach Haynes at Lakota East and the staffs I’ve been on along the way. Every person I’ve worked with has given me something.”
The Bob Mullins File
Residence: Liberty Township
Family: Wife Jenn, sons Jacob (6), Joey (4) and Michael (2)
High School: Lakota West, Class of 2000
College: Bachelor’s degree in social studies/education from Miami University, master’s degree in special education from Mount St. Joseph University
Prep Coaching History: Outside linebackers coach at Lakota East for five years, defensive line coach and special teams coordinator at Lakota West for three years, freshman head coach at Oak Hills for two years, defensive line coach at Oak Hills for five years