A New Era Begins

Published 9:53 am Monday, January 30, 2012

Ironton names Vass head football coach



Mark Vass is more than ready to answer the challenge.

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A 5-0 vote by the Ironton City Schools Board of Education on Sunday made Vass the new head football coach, replacing Bob Lutz who retired following 42 years as a head coaching including 39 seasons at Ironton.

“The Ironton Board of Education and administration believes coach Mark Vass understands the challenges and commitment that will take to carry on the rich tradition of Ironton football established by former head coach Bob Lutz,” said Ironton Superintendent Dean Nance.

Vass accepted the job that saw Lutz rack up an Ohio high school record for most football coaching wins at 381 along with winning two state titles. He said it is an honor to follow in the footsteps of Lutz.

“Number one, I’m excited. I really want to do this. But I know this is a tremendous challenge. I grew up in the program and I know the tradition it has had year in and year out. I look up to those guys. I know what it takes to make the program so successful,” said Vass.

“I’m not going to be coach Lutz. But I’ve learned from him and other coaches from all the places that I’ve been. I just want to continue in the right direction. The blueprint is there. The system is there. We just need to work hard and keep it going.”

Vass is a former player who was a member of the 1989 state championship team. He also played college football at Marshall and Baldwin-Wallace before embarking on a coaching career that has included three stops at the high school level and four stints as a college coach.

“I feel 100 percent confident in him,” said Ironton athletic director Mark LaFon. “It has to do with the right fit. It’s the same in college and professionals. Mark is definitely the right fit. I feel we have the right candidate in Mark.”

Board member Jay Zornes agreed.

“I am very excited about the hiring of Mark Vass. Mark has much experience in the game and, having played at Ironton and coached here on two different occasions, I feel he is ready to accept this task. Mark has a great football mind and will develop a great staff around him that can continue the tradition of our program.”