The recommendation for Sheffield's next head football coach is a familiar face for supporters of the orange and black.
Longtime assistant Dave Fitch has been recommended for the position and will become the school's next head football coach, pending approval of the Warren County School District Board of Directors.
"After eight years in the assisting ranks, I feel honored to have this chance," said Fitch. "I've been given an opportunity to continue what (former head coach) Bryan (Gould) and I have been building and I couldn't be more excited about the future of the program."
Times Observer file photo by Allen Seybert
Sheffield's Dave Fitch, right, gives some guidance to a member of the Sheffield football team during preseason workouts prior to the start of the 2011 football season. Just weeks after Bryan Gould vacated his post as head football coach, Fitch was recommended for the position and will take over the team, pending approval from the Warren County School District Board of Directors.
After three-plus seasons as coach of the Wolverines, Gould resigned earlier this month in order to accept teaching and assistant football coaching positions in his native Blairsville. Gould's departure came after one of the most memorable Wolverines seasons in school history. In 2011, Sheffield qualified for the District 9 Class AA football playoffs for the first time in school history.
Fitch says that if he is approved as the new head man at Sheffield, the transition from coach to coach should be about as smooth as possible.
"Things should transition very smoothly," said Fitch. "Not a lot of things are going to change. There may be some new coaches in new positions, but even those guys are familiar with the kids and vice versa."
Fitch would take over what Gould called "one of the toughest coaching jobs in America." After being on probation because of low numbers a handful of years ago, Gould and Fitch helped reintroduce the school's sports co-op agreement with Abraxas three seasons ago.
While it can be difficult to combine groups of players from different cultures and backgrounds, Sheffield, its players and the community have embraced it wholeheartedly.
"That's what's so unique about this job," said Fitch. "Before you can even sit down and talk about x's and o's, you have to work on joining the two groups of players and work on getting them to become a singular unit. Through the years, it seems that process has just been getting better and better and the kids and community have really stepped up to make this co-op work. Without the support of the players and fans, it very easily could be a difficult situation."
While waiting for official word on his hiring, Fitch has been overseeing the team's summer workout program and has been extremely encouraged at what he's seen.
"I've been pleasantly surprised," he said. "We've had about 12 to 16 kids there each and everyday. The seniors have really stepped up in the offseason and that's been great to see. I'm just very excited about the future of the program and what I think we can accomplish down the line."