I do not like change! I do not like it all. I do not like it when it is tall. I do not like it when it is small, said Sam-I-Am (with apologies to Dr. Seuss).
Seriously, I’m not a big fan of change. I CAN change, but it takes me awhile to adjust to modifications, whether they are major life changes or moderate alterations. I enjoy routine and the expected. I do not like change, especially when things are pretty good.
Almost two weeks ago, a change took place in the Troy High School football program, and at the same time a little Troy football history was made. Troy’s head coach, Matt Burgbacher, decided he would leave Troy and go to Tipp City. The thought of yet another search for a head coach got me thinking about the past (imagine that) and the many coaching changes and coaches in Troy’s history.
Troy has had a long interesting list of men who have held the head coaching position in Troy, and several notes, trivia and random thoughts are fascinating to ponder.
Did you know that the majority of the men who have led the Troy program through the years have been Ohio-born? That seems logical, but there have been several born in other states, and even one in a foreign country.
As far as occupations, most of the coaches have been educators, especially in the last 80-100 years. In the early years, when coaching was more of a hobby or volunteer position, some of the men were physicians, ministers, automobile executives, painters, and even a few student-coaches. In addition, the men attended a multitude of different colleges or universities following high school. The most common educational institutions among Troy’s head coaches are: Ohio State, Miami (Oxford), Wittenberg and Ohio Wesleyan.
The average length of stay as head coach over the program’s 122 year history is just about four years. Obviously, the coach who stayed the longest was Steve Nolan, who walked the sidelines for 28 years. If you pull Coach Nolan out of the equation, then the average is just under three years.
The lengthiest tenures after Nolan are Carlton Kazmaier and W.A. Howald with 11 years and eight years, respectively. There have been about 10 coaches who were in charge for only one year. In fact, there is documentation that at least twice Troy had hired a new head coach only to have him resign before even taking charge of the team or leading them for one season.
Oh yes, the bit of history which was made recently. Coach Burgbacher was the third head coach for Troy who came from Tipp City. Two of them, Kazmaier and Allen Richards came directly from the Tipp City lead position to Troy; whereas Burgbacher came via Ft. Loramie. Although he was not the head coach at Tipp, he was an assistant coach for his father. Moreover, he is the first Troy coach to leave here and return to his alma mater to coach. One other coach did return to his former school. W.A. Howald was head coach at Montpelier H.S. when he took the position at Troy in 1927. He coached the team for 8 years, then became athletic director at Troy High School. In 1940, he returned to Montpelier, Ohio to become the principal and then superintendent of the district, but he did not coach.
So as Troy begins looking for the 34th head coach (by my accounting) in its history, I will say I am sorry to see Coach Matt Burgbacher leave. I was hoping he would have a long stay here as the Trojan’s coach. He brought a lot of energy and excitement to the program, and he not only sought to teach the “Men of Troy” football skills, but also necessary life skills such as hard work, team work, honor, respect, and dignity.
As he moves on to Tipp City, perhaps, even to make a run at his own father’s longevity record as head coach at Tipp, I wish him success and may his teams be 9-1 every year in the new Miami Valley League!
Patrick D. Kennedy is archivist at the Troy-Miami County Public Library’s Local History Library, 100 W. Main St., Troy. He may be contacted by calling (937) 335-4082 or sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org