GREENVILLE — Greenville Head Football Coach Aaron Shaffer has been selected to serve as this year’s grand marshal for Thursday night’s homecoming parade.
In his fourth year at Greenville, Shaffer also teaches junior high math for Greenville City Schools.
“We’re doing okay,” said Shaffer when asked how the team is doing this year. “We’re 2-3. I’m excited to get started into GWOC North play. There will be additional opponents.”
Shaffer hails from Greenville, son of Rhonda Hess and Randy Shaffer. He graduated from GHS in 1995 and from Wittenberg University in 1999.
He said he lived on the south end of the city when growing up in Greenville; thus, attended grades K-5 at South School, sixth grade at North School; before going on to junior and senior high.
“I started my educational career in Springfield, where I was language arts teacher for eight years,” he said. “I was in Fairborn for four years as a math teacher and them came to Greenville.”
He is looking forward to working in Greenville’s grades K-8 new school when construction is complete.
“I did that process in Springfield,” he said. “It was an opportunity to be in a new modernized building. It was really neat. Environment can enhance the educational process.”
He initially wanted to get into business when he started college, but soon changed his mind.
“What I really wanted to do is get into education,” he said. “High school friend Beth Bish’s mom was an elementary teacher at Woodland Heights and that inspired me.”
Shaffer subsequently received his certification for grades K-8, with no design at all in becoming a football coach. However, he said he stayed at Wittenberg an extra semester and served as a student assistant one season.
“That gave me the opportunity to see if I could enter into the football world,” he said. “I coached another five years after that.”
While in high school, Shaffer played football and baseball, was involved in Varsity G activities and was part of the student council.
“In high school, I was team captain, first team all league, GMVC my junior and senior years and was on second team all-Ohio as a senior,” he said. “I continued at my career as a four-year letter winner, three year starter and an offensive tackle and two-time first team North Coast Athletic Conference; two-time All-American, was on first team Hewitt-Packard and on second team Don Henson’s Football Gazette.
Shaffer is married to wife Jessica, whom he met at Wittenberg. She is from Princeton, Massachusetts.
They have two children, Aaron Jr., also known as A.J., who is 11 and a fifth-grader at South School, and daughter Elizabeth “Lizzie,” 6, and a first-grade student at Woodland Heights.
In his spare time, Shaffer said he likes “to chase baseball and peewee football.” He coaches his son’s baseball team and his daughter’s softball team as well as follows her dance schedule.
“We are really busy with our children,” he said. “I like spending time with my family and friends.”
Shaffer has an older brother, Shawn Shaffer, and a sister, Ashley Hess.
His response when asked to describe his coaching skills: “That’s a hard question. Philosophically, I’m trying to make young guys turn into good respective young men. I push academics and social responsibility, which are every bit as important as athletics that will play over into the athletic field. I want to foster the environment of trust and respect. That is important. They trust you if they know you have their best interests in mind.”
He said the junior high youth he educates makes for “a neat group.”
“They’re young, innocent enough to be willing to learn,” he said. “They have meaningful commitments in the educational environment. It’s a lot of fun teaching kids that age.”
Yes, he did come back to Greenville as a teacher and coach.
“It’s really neat to come home,” he said. “I am on the Greenville Youth Football League and am part of the Friends of Harmon Field Committee.”
His mother’s ex-husband, John Hess, played an important role in his life and Shaffer considers him a mentor.
“John got me interested in sports at an early age…playing baseball at Sater Park, then youth wrestling and football,” Shaffer said. “That helped me in becoming who I am.”
Probably riding with Shaffer on Thursday during the parade will be his daughter.
“She asked to ride with me,” the 39-year-old Shaffer said. “My wife and son will be on the GYFL fifth-grade football float.”
Linda Moody can be reached by calling direct at 569-4315. Be her friend on Facebook by searching her name. For more features online, go to advocate.360.org or “like” The Daily Advocate on Facebook by searching Advocate 360.