West Branch goes in a new direction

West Branch football coach D.J. Dota won't be back on the Warrior sidelines next season. (File photo)

BELOIT — West Branch has decided to move on from head football coach D.J. Dota.

West Branch Local Schools superintendent Timothy Saxton announced Wednesday that he would not make a formal recommendation to retain Dota as head football coach.

“It’s unfortunate, it’s not how I hoped things would end up,” Dota said. “I can’t say that I’m happy with the decision, but they have a different direction they want to go in. I like being a part of the West Branch community and I really enjoyed my eight years as the head coach.”

Dota finished his eighth season at West Branch with an overall record of 38-42. This past season the Warriors won six of the first seven games before losing the final three. West Branch has not made the playoffs since 2007.

“I’m going to miss the relationships most,” Dota said. “I think we did a lot of good things both on and off the field during the past eight years. I appreciate the fact that I was able to work with a lot of great young men at West Branch.”

The school district will begin the head coach search process immediately.

“Everyone at West Branch appreciates the time and effort involved in athletic programming, and we thank coach Dota for his dedication to Warrior athletes,” Saxton said. “After looking at several benchmarks, it is time to move in a different direction with the Warrior football program.”

Before coming to West Branch, Dota was the head coach at Warren Harding where he posted a 23-17-1 mark which included a playoff appearance in 2010. He also had a stint as the Harding defensive coordinator for four years and in the same position at Struthers for two seasons.

Dota said his desire to coach in some capacity remains strong.

“I’ve been coaching since 1991, and it’s obviously something I love to do. It would be really hard to see myself staying away,” Dota said. “Right now though, I can’t speak to anything specific. I need to take a little bit of time to sort things out and get my bearings.”