UNION CITY – It is a dream come true for Steven Trobridge.
The longtime assistant football coach has been named the new varsity head coach at Mississinawa Valley.
“Even though I went to Fort Recovery, I have family in Union City and I have been an assistant coach here for the last five years so Mississinawa Valley has always been a part of me,” Trobridge said. “It is definitely a dream come true to be the head coach here.”
It is Trobridge’s first head coaching job as he takes over for Mike Griffin, who left in June to take a teaching position and become assistant athletic director at Preble Shawnee. Griffin also was Mississinawa Valley’s athletic director.
“We’re excited to have Steve,” Mississinawa Valley High School principal Jeff Winchester said. ”I think our program is headed in the right direction. We won a game last season for the first time in several years and just as important we were competitive in a lot of games too.
“What we need is stability,” he continued. “Mike was here for two years, and the coach before that was two years and before that was two or three years, so you can see the pattern here. With Steve’s background in being from nearby (Fort Recovery) and having been an assistant coach here for five years, I think he will bring that stability. He knows the community, he knows these kids and he has some ideas on how to build this program.”
Trobridge agreed saying he plans to bring that stability.
“I told the kids the coaching carousel is over,” Trobridge said of the 21 players out for football this season. “There have been four coaching changes in the last six years and that takes a toll on these kids. One way I plan to build this program is by being honest with the players and coaches. Players respect a coach that is honest with them. Two, we have to build a strong foundation which this program has not had. Three, with the support of the community we will be able to keep this program going and it will also give these players a feeling of pride knowing they represent a strong community.
“Not winning also has an impact,” he continued referring to the fact the Blackhawks won their first game in three seasons last year. “Winning will definitely help our numbers and that is exactly what we are going to try to do. I told them if they don’t give up on me, then I won’t give up on them.”
The transition hasn’t been too difficult, Trobridge said. He already knows the kids and the program, but having just two months to get prepared for the 2018 season has been a bit more challenging.
“It’s been rush, rush, rush, but it is starting to settle down some now,” Trobridge said. “We aren’t changing too much but we are trying to implement a new defensive scheme so that has taken some time. But the kids are picking it up pretty quick so it has actually been kind of smooth.”
Trobridge played football in college at Bluffton University, but his career was cut short due to an injury. He immediately joined the Fort Recovery staff as an assistant for three years before coming to Mississinawa Valley as an assistant for the last five years, the last two as defensive coordinator.
As far as filling the athletic director position, Winchester is acting as the A.D. while the interview process continues.
“Mike did a great job in his time here as athletic director and he will be missed,” Winchester said. “It is summer right now so it’s not too bad, but the start of school is right around the corner so we need to get someone hired as soon as possible.”
Both Winchester and Mississinawa Valley Superintendent Doug Dunham confirmed they have interviewed five candidates for the position. They hope to have the new athletic director hired early next week.
“We’re looking for someone to be a manager of our athletic programs, but also someone to be a leader who can help support our coaches and get more kids involved,” Winchester said. “I think it is a cultural thing where less kids are participating in athletics across the board and they are missing out on the life lessons that can lead to bigger and better things in life.”