EAST LIVERPOOL - The one and only applicant was selected Monday night as the new varsity football coach at East Liverpool High School.
Richard Prescott Jr., a junior high school language arts teacher, is taking over the duties.
Prescott received a warm welcome and a heap of compliments at the school board meeting.
"I'm particularly enthused about approving this recommendation," board member Dick Wolf said. "I've known this young man for many years. He is a winner."
Speaking directly to Prescott, Wolf added, "I ask nothing more, Rick, than you give us representative football and that the kids have fun."
Robert Estell, board vice president and the one running the meeting with an absent Scott Dieringer, agreed with Wolf's assessment.
"I've heard nothing but good things about you," Estell told Prescott. "One thing I know that you will bring to this school - that we've been working on but we're still low in is in making sure that the kids have great ethics and behavior."
The Athletic Committee conducted the interview and recommended the selection to Superintendent Ken Halbert. Halbert put the item on Monday's agenda.
"I'm extremely grateful for the opportunity I've been blessed with," Prescott said. "I'm thankful for the Athletic Committee, the board of education and for Mr. Halbert for the recommendation for the job."
Prescott was the Morning Journal's 1999 All-Area Lineman of the Year and a first-team All-Ohioan after paving the way for Beaver Local's first playoff appearance.
He was a two-year starting center at Mount Union College and played in the NCAA Division III national championship game in 2003.
Prescott had some added support in the audience Monday and introduced his wife, son, mother, mother-in-law and father-in-law.
"I'm excited to get working with the students, the team, the school and our community to continue to bring pride back into our Potter nation," Prescott said.
"Three or four years ago, Mr. Prescott came to apply for some teaching jobs, but we just didn't have any openings," Halbert said. "We were fortunate in that he kept coming back and trying."
That all changed at the end of the last school year when 21 teachers retired. A spot opened up for Prescott.
"Lo and behold, some positioned opened up," Halbert said.
As a union member, Prescott will likely feel a little more secure in the position.
When former head coach Mark Asher was awarded the position in 2008, the East Liverpool Education Association (ELEA) countered by saying the position should have gone to Ron Paul, a certified teacher and ELEA member already teaching at the high school. The union and the school board battled the issue and a court hearing was averted when a deal was announced.
This time, the district did not open up the process to outside candidates like it did in 2008.
Prescott applied for the position when it was offered to Asher. According to those close to the matter, Prescott was denied the position in 2008 because Athletic Committee members thought Asher was more qualified.
"I'm excited, and this certainly is a great opportunity," Prescott said. "I get to work at a place with great kids, a good, solid, tradition and with a good administration that all get behind what it takes to win and have good student athletes."
Members of the Athletic Committee include Jack Cunningham, Randy Taylor, Bob Shansky, Jay Kiger and Quinn Carter.
Asher led the Potters to an 8-3 record last season, including a 10th-place state ranking and their first state playoff appearance since 2002. He was named the new head coach at Struthers High School in January.