Supporters expect good things from Triplett

Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 29, 2006

So far, they like what they see.

Those who know Merril Triplett II have expressed a positive reaction toward his hiring as the new Ironton Fighting Tigers head football coach.

Triplett was hired Thursday to replace Bob Lutz who retired after 34 years at Ironton following three seasons at Ironton St. Joseph. Lutz is the second on Ohio’s all-time list for career victories.

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Carl Robinson, who has a son on the Ironton team, played for Triplett when he was the head coach at Symmes Valley. Robinson was an All-Ohio lineman on the Vikings first playoff team in 1989. It was also the school’s only unbeaten regular season.

“Merril is a good character guy. Kids like him because he’s a good motivator. That’s a big thing to me. He’ll get the most out of the kids,” Robinson said.

“I think they’ll like him. There’s nothing fancy about him. I think it’s going to be the same old Ironton football. I think he’ll be a good fit.”

Senior tackle John Paul Pemberton and senior two-way end Andy Colegrove were happy to get a coach in place and to move forward with their senior season.

Colegrove and Pemberton are both being recruited by Division I colleges and will anchor strong offensive and defensive lines.

“So far, everything is going great,” Pemberton said. “He’s more outgoing. He won’t cut corners. He’ll get you excited just telling you stories. He asked our opinions on how we play other teams and how we would like to change things.”

Despite the limited time the players have known Triplett, Colegrove said his first impression of the new coach has been positive.

“He’s enthusiastic. He seems like a nice guy,” Colegrove said. “I think he’ll do all right. I’m just excited about getting started and trying to have a good season. We just want to go 10-0.”

Ironton will return to the Southeastern Ohio Athletic League this fall. The Fighting Tigers open the season at Wheelersburg Aug. 25 in a non-league game.