Assistants missing as prep grid season starts
Everyone always hears about the head coaching changes, but there has been some significant moves in the all-important assistant positions this season.
Of course, the most glaring change will the the absence of Mike Burcham from the Ironton sidelines.
The 30-year veteran right hand man of the Ironton Fighting Tigers head coach Bob Lutz has retired. Assistant coach Mark Lutz, the former Division III Associated Press Player of the Year in 1988 for Ironton, will move up to fill the void.
Mark Lutz went on to play quarterback at Marshall before an elbow injury cut his career short.
A similar change has occurred at Portsmouth although not with the same circumstances.
Portsmouth's line coach Greg Hickman, the top assistant of Curt Clifford for the past 20 years, has left to take a similar job at a school in Myrtle Beach (S.C) due to personal reasons.
And a former head coach is returning in an assistant's capacity.
Vic Marsh, the winningest coach in Ashland history, has joined the team's arch-rivals. Marsh is now an assistant coach at Boyd County along with his son.
Despite heavy losses at Ironton, the Fighting Tigers are still being viewed as one of the top Division IV teams this season.
Youngstown Ursuline is the top-rated team in a preseason poll. Kenton, the defending state champions, are second followed by Portsmouth and then Ironton.
Ursuline was 8-1 last season but did not have enough points to qualify for the playoffs. It was later discovered the team used an ineligible player and had to forfeit most of its wins.
The Fighting Tigers, who have just two starters back on offense and three on defense, are rated ahead of Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary's.
One of St. V-St. M's assistant coaches is Frank Stams, the former Notre Dame and NFL star who scored three touchdowns in the 1982 Division III title game to beat Ironton 21-14.
Next comes Kettering Alter, Coldwater, Akron Manchester, Huron, Mansfield Ontario, and Portsmouth West is 11th.
Rounding out the top 15 are New Lexington, Tuscarawas Valley, Delta, and Lima Bath. Jim Walker/The Ironton Tribune