By Chris Chaney
New Richmond High School has completed its search for Scott Herman’s replacement as the head football coach, tapping former Lloyd Memorial High School (Erlanger, Ky.) head man, Josh Stratton.
“Coach Stratton stood out to us among a deep pool of candidates,” said New Richmond Superintendent Adam Bird in a press release. “He will continue the NR tradition of excellent leadership from the football coach. I believe that he will have an outstanding impact on the lives of our football players and on the students he has in class.”
Stratton, a Columbus, Ohio native, has traveled the country teaching and coaching sports, more recently focusing solely on football. The New Richmond job was one that he had his eye on and decided that with the position opening up once again, he would throw his name into the hat.
“It’s been a job that I’ve been looking at for a while,” Stratton said. “I didn’t apply the last time it was open (in 2012) and then when it opened up again, it was kind of like fate, like here is your second shot. I wanted to make sure I gave it my best shot.”
Stratton’s journey to New Richmond has been an arduous one, beginning in his college days at Morehead State as a 20-year-old volunteer assistant basketball coach at Gahanna Lincoln High School near Columbus.
Upon receiving his degree, Stratton moved to Kentucky to coach for three years at Grant County High School as the quarterback’s coach and head freshman coach along with his duties as the head coach of the freshman basketball team.
That opportunity led into his next endeavor at Herculaneum High School in Missouri, where he was employed as the offensive coordinator as well as the varsity basketball coach up until 2009.
“I realized that I wanted to be a one-sport guy and football was definitely it,” Stratton explained. “And when I came back to Kentucky from Missouri, Holmes was the first place that I just did football.”
Stratton again relocated back to the Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky area to coach at Covington Holmes High School as the running backs’ and quarterbacks’ coach in 2009-10, where he enjoyed success, winning two district titles, the first one at the school in over 30 years.
That success made Stratton a hot commodity and he capitalized on that high stock by landing the head job at Lloyd Memorial.
“I had a great two years there and I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world,” Stratton said. “My first year there, we went 5-7 coming off of a 2-9 season the year previous to when I got there. Then this past season, we went 8-4 and were district runners-up. We had the most wins since 2003 and scored the most points on offense since 2003.”
With Stratton’s coaching abilities being spelled out by the success his team’s were having on the field, his name rose to the top of the over 70 applicants that landed on New Richmond athletic director Doug Foote’s desk.
Foote’s interest in Stratton was mutual as the coach saw more at New Richmond than just a strong football program.
“I’ve told people for a while that New Richmond is an attractive job because it’s not just about football; it’s a great academic district,” Stratton said. “It’s not just football, they take all of their athletics seriously, they’re all great programs.
“It’s a hard-working community that produces hard-working kids. The tradition of winning is already established. They have an outstanding administration that supports their athletics, aside from their great academics.”
Stratton will inherit a football squad that went 5-5 in 2012 and 1-3 in the Southern Buckeye Conference. Primarily an offensive coach at all of his stops along the way, Stratton will try to incorporate a balanced offensive attack and a rabid defense with a nose for the football as well as placing an added emphasis on the third phase.
“On offense we’re going to be fast and furious,” Stratton said. “We want to play at a fast tempo while also being balanced. We want to run a pro-style, running as much as we throw. Coming from an option background, I will try and build on that as well.
“Defensively, we’re going be really aggressive and force turnovers. We’re going to be disruptive on every snap.
“We’re going to be a force on special teams, which I feel is really important. It’s supposed to be a third of the game and it’s also a way to get more kids involved and on the field on Friday night.