EAST LIVERPOOL - The East Liverpool Board of Education selected Josh Ludwig to the head varsity football coach position by a 5-0 vote on Monday. Ludwig is the 46th coach of what will be the 117th year of East Liverpool High School football.
A 2000 East Liverpool graduate, Ludwig played at Ashland University and Mount Union College (now University of Mount Union). Ludwig started 12 games at defensive tackle on the 2002 Mount Union squad which won the NCAA Division III National Championship.
"I loved playing football at East Liverpool under coach Bob Thayer," said the Potter coach. "I respect the tradition and pride of Potter football. I'm a hometown guy and I'm deeply honored to be selected as the next Potter head football coach."
Ironically, Ludwig succeeds his best friend, college teammate and college roommate as head coach.
"Rick Prescott and I have been best friends since we were eight years old," said Ludwig who was Prescott's defensive coordinator this past year. "When I transferred from to Mount from Ashland halfway through my sophomore year, I started rooming with Rick. I really enjoyed being on Rick's staff the past two years. It's really something when you get to coach with your best friend."
The Potters went 5-5 this past season, winning four of their last five games. Prescott decided to resign so that he could devote more time to his family.
"Rick did a very good job of strengthening the program and I want to continue to build on that," Ludwig said. "A lot of his ways will be mine, but I will make some changes. Every coach has certain little things that they want to do. Rick took us from having just over 30 players to where we had close to 60 players. He brought accountability to the program. That's a big thing with me. Everyone needs to be held accountable. Accountability helps builds success and sustains a program over time."
East Liverpool athletic director Bob Shansky expressed confidence in Ludwig's selection, saying, "Josh understands football. He understands East Liverpool as he is an East Liverpool guy and is a good family man. He is an ideal role model for our players."
Ludwig earned his bachelor's degree in sports management and business administration. He is in his second year of teaching landscaping design and horticulture in East Liverpool's Vo-Tech program. He previously taught alternative education in the Midland (Pa.) school system.
"Josh does an excellent job in the classroom and relates well to the students," Shansky said. "He will should be able to get kids to come out for the team. He loves Potter athletics and I think we're very fortunate to be able to get him as our coach."
In addition to being on Prescott's staff for two years, Ludwig also coached on Pat McNicol's staff for two years before taking some time to do advanced work in the field of weight training.
"I'm a big believer in weight training," said Ludwig. "I will have a meeting for potential football players as soon as possible and then we'll get in the weightroom. I had tremendous respect for coach Thayer when I played for him. He made us work very hard, but we also had fun as he made it a positive experience. I hope that I am able to do the same for our players."
Ludwig was awarded supplemental contracts of $4,930 for his duties as football coach, $3,479 as weight training advisor and $1,601 for equipment manager duties.
According to Potter football historian Frank Dawson, Ludwig is the seventh East Liverpool graduate to serve as head football coach, joining a select group that includes Arthur "Frick" Wallover (1910), Edwin Wells (1914), Ernest Bucher (1922), George "Pop" Kidder (1926), Thayer (1996-2004) and McNicol (2005-2008).
East Liverpool's board also hired Ryan Willis as its varsity baseball coach on Monday. Willis, a first-year coach, will make $2,764 on the supplemental contract.