By Chris Chaney
After a lengthy search to replace Don Sizer as the head football coach at Batavia High School, the Bulldogs tapped one of their own, Caleb Corrill, to take the reigns of the program ahead of the 2014 season.
Corrill, a 2008 Batavia graduate, played his college football at Mount Saint Joseph and Thomas More College before wrapping up his studies at the University of Cincinnati. Following college, Corrill came back to Batavia where he has been on the staff for four years in various roles.
“My first two years, I was the JV head coach and helped the (varsity) quarterbacks and defensive backs,” Corrill said. “When (Coach Sizer) got there (in 2011) I became the weight room coordinator and last year I picked up the title of special teams coordinator as well as continuing to do the quarterbacks and defensive backs.”
In his mid-20s, Corrill is among the youngest coaches in the area, a fact that he is well aware of and one that has provided some more fuel to his competitive fire.
“Everybody in the coaching community has been good to me,” he said, “but I’ll hear, ‘the kid doesn’t know this’ or ‘the kid doesn’t know that,’ and with the (staff) I have, they’ve been through the fire before.
“I’ve been around football a long time — and that doesn’t give me all the answers and I don’t think I’m the greatest — but I know that I’ll bring energy every day, not just on Fridays. It’s going to be something that 365 days a year, I’ll be constantly working and trying to improve.
“But I hear the whispers out there. I like to see what we can do when the pressure’s on and it gives us a boost; we’ve been trying to use that with the players. We know that we have to earn that respect, but there’s definitely a little chip (on our shoulder).”
Corrill has assembled a staff of some names that are familiar to the Clermont County football community. Just as he’s getting a big shot at a young age, he’s giving other quality coaches around the area a similar opportunity.
“I brought in Jason Connely, who was the head coach at CNE for three of four years, to call the defense for us,” Corrill said. “That was a big get for us because he’s got experience and been through the fire. He had some lean years, but he’s well respected in the coaching community.”
Rob Bowman, a former teammate of Corrill’s at Mount St. Joe, is taking over the offensive line while Matt Lester, a former coach at CNE and Summit Country Day, will head up the offensive play calls.
Corrill said by his calculations, the average age of his staff is 25 years old. He believes that what he and his staff may lack in experience, they will make up for in energy and excitement on a daily basis.
Adding to the positives Corrill brings to the head coaching position is a ready-built rapport he has with the team.
Having been around the program for four years already, Corrill knows this year’s team as well as any coach in the district and plans to use that base to field a competitive team.
“I would consider myself a player’s coach,” Corrill said. “I can relate with them. I’m all about the kids and the community. Batavia’s at its best when the kids enjoy what they’re doing and know what the goals are.
“Then, when the community gets involved — getting the kids getting down in town to clean up or read to the elementary school kids — football has that special power over us in such a small town. We want the kids to be a part of the community and the community to be a part of the team.”
From a strategic standpoint, Corrill plans to utilize what he has learned from the Wing-T offense over the past few years and incorporate more of a spread scheme to best utilize the talents of the athletes he has.
Defensively, Corrill wants to ball hawk and create turnovers. He said that he expects his defense to flock to the ball and get 11 helmets around the ball carrier to make up for what they lack in size and speed with sheer numbers and gang tackling.
A good summer turnout in the weight room and over four coaching days so far has the new coach and his staff excited about the end of the restricted period.
The Bulldogs will officially begin the Caleb Corrill era on Friday, August 29 when they host East Clinton at Holman Stadium.