By David Fong
Regional Sports Editor
TROY — The Troy Christian football program is getting a new program — but it won’t be a new name.
In fact, the new coach is someone many of the players have known almost their entire lives.
Thursday, Troy Christian announced Jeff Weaver — a physical education teacher at Troy Christian Elementary School for the past decade and an assistant coach for the Eagles in two stints, including the past three years — has been named the program’s head coach.
“My son (Zach) is going to be a sophomore on the team this year, so I’ve known a lot of these kids since they’ve been in kindergarten,” Weaver said. “The seniors on this team, I had in my physical education classes since they were in second grade. I know the kids and I know the Troy Christian community.
“I think that’s going to be a big advantage for me. Having had a lot of them in PE class, I know what works with them and what doesn’t. With some kids, you have to get on them. With other kids, they back away a little bit if you do that. I think knowing most of these kids is going to make the transition a lot easier.”
Weaver takes over for Ryan Jones — the team’s head coach since 2016 — who took the head coaching job at Versailles last month. Weaver coached the offensive line and outside linebackers for Jones the past three seasons. He also coached at Troy Christian for five years, then coached at Ansonia for three years before returning to the Troy Christian program. He also has had coaching stops at Ottawa Glandorf and Campbellsville University in Kentucky.
“Jeff has been on staff as a Physical Education teacher since 2009,” Troy Christian athletic director Jeff Sakal said. “Coach Weaver is a great fit for our ministry; he has proven over time that he has a big heart and follows the mission, values and beliefs of our TC community and wants nothing but the best for our students and athletics.
“Coach Weaver is a student of the game of football and is always seeking ways for him to improve as a coach. He will be able to use his character qualities, knowledge, and leadership skills and his degree in sports ministry to provide the positive direction to continue to build on the program utilizing the past accomplishments of former Coaches Steve Nolan and Ryan Jones.”
Weaver met with the team Thursday and said he plans to get to work immediately.
“I want to meet with the kids and communicate to them what we want our program to be about and what we want our core values to be,” Weaver said.
He said his two biggest priorities in the offseason are trying to expand the program — the Eagles did not have a junior high school program last year and are just seven years removed from not fielding a team due to lack of participation — and filling out the remainder of his coaching staff. One of his biggest needs will be finding a defensive coordinator.
“We did not have (a junior high school team) last year,” he said. “That’s one thing we are going to try to get going again. I think me being in the elementary school will help. I will be able to talk to the kids and identify who wants to play and who doesn’t. A lot of the kids and their families know and trust me.
“We are trying to put our staff together. We’ve got a lot of guys coming back, but we also have some positions we need to fill. We’re also looking at moving one or two of our junior high coaches up to the varsity, so we’ll be looking for some junior high school coaches.”
Weaver is a graduate of Ottawa Glandorf High School and Campbellsville University. He and his wife Kristen have one son, Zach.
“There is work to be done,” Sakal said. “Coach Weaver looks forward to the challenges of being our next head football Coach. Jeff has already started the process of addressing the long list of items that need to be accomplished for the Eagles football program.”
Contact David Fong at firstname.lastname@example.org; follow him on Twitter @thefong