By David Fong
Regional Sports Editor
TIPP CITY — After four years, Joel Derge is stepping down as head coach of the Tippecanoe football program.
“I am writing to inform you that I am resigning my position as Head Football Coach at Tippecanoe High School,” Derge wrote in a letter to friends, parents, players and alumni that he posted on his Twitter account Thursday morning. “The 2018 season marked just my fourth as the head coach but eleventh overall as a head coach and I have enjoyed every minute of it.”
Derge, a physical education teacher in the Tipp City School District, previously had previously served as the Red Devils’ defensive coordinator in 2013 and its offensive coordinator in 2014 before taking over as head coach in 2015 when long-time Tippecanoe head coach Charlie Burgbacher left to join his son Matt on the Troy coaching staff.
In Derge’s first year as head coach, Tippecanoe went 10-2, won the Central Buckeye Conference and defeated Piqua 37-12 in the Division III regional quarterfinals before falling to Trotwood in the regional semifinals. In 2016, Tippecanoe joined the Greater Western Ohio Conference. The Red Devils finished 7-4, again reach the Division III regional quarterfinals, where they fell 41-40 to Franklin, the No. 1 seed in the region.
Tippecanoe went 4-6 in 2017 and 5-5 last fall. Derge finished his career as head coach at Tippecanoe with a 26-17 record.
“I have made it my mission statement to create a culture of trust, character, dependability and leadership through commitment of one another and a tradition of excellence while competing at the highest level,” Derge wrote in his letter. “The end result of the football program was always to prepare everyone in the program to be employable adults demonstrated through trustworthiness and commitment, as well as great fathers, husbands and great members of society. I know in my heart I have done my very best executing this mission statement every single day. I truly hope I have impacted others as much as they have impacted me.
“Being the head football coach at Tippecanoe was a gift that I could never repay. I had the privilege and honor to collaborate and work with countless young men and coaches through the greatest game, high school football.”
Derge said he doesn’t know what his future will hold.
“I wish I could share with you what is next, but I’m not entirely sure,” he wrote in his statement. “I enjoy working for a great school district at Tipp and I love my teaching job. There is no question that God played a huge role in placing me at Tipp and at the perfect time. I know he has a plan for my future. I have no doubt the next football coach at Tipp will find the same joys as I have.”
Contact David Fong at firstname.lastname@example.org; follow him on Twitter @thefong