For the second time this spring, Oberlin High School has hired a new head football coach.
Mike Akers was introduced April 19 as the Phoenix’s latest sideline general after Jesse Robinson, hired March 15, announced his resignation due to an undisclosed medical issue.
The coaching change is also OHS’ fourth since the end of 2015. Last year, Garrett Mack led the Phoenix to a 4-6 record in what turned out to be a one-year stint before accepting a spot on Oberlin College’s coaching staff.
Akers, a former head coach at Admiral King and Brookside, is eager to put his foot in the revolving door.
“The team’s biggest question when I met them was if I was going to stay around,” he said. “I think they keep getting these young guys who stay a year and use the job for a stepping stone. It sure looks that way. With me, I’ve done the Division I head coaching thing and the Division IV head coaching thing. My staff has come with me here, and we want to make an impact in these kids’ lives and stick around for a while.”
A 28-year coaching and teaching career has included assistant jobs with Westlake and Lorain for Akers, where he worked as defensive coordinator in 2015 under former OHS coach Dave McFarland.
John Monteleone, Oberlin Schools’ assistant superintendent, encouraged Akers to apply for Oberlin’s vacant head coaching position during the initial hiring process.
Monteleone was coached by Akers at Lorain’s Southview High School and worked with him as principal at the city’s Washington Elementary School.
“He was definitely one of the main reasons I applied,” said Akers. “I might not have been the first choice. Why that was isn’t important now. When I got the call to take the job, it didn’t take long before we all wanted to give it a shot. Letting me bring my staff is a huge positive. We’re going to get things turned around here.”
The new coach said a key to his longevity has been willingness to change.
“Having so much coaching instability makes a lot of kids question why they should play,” he said. “Kids will play for you if they get to know you. Coaching is just different than it was 28 years ago. You can’t just be a ‘my way or the highway’ coach anymore. You have to be a relationship coach. A good coach changes with society.”
Jonathan Delozier can be reached at 440-647-3171 or @DelozierNews on Twitter.