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Top Indiana High School Coaches on The Radar


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Top Indiana High School Coaches on The Radar
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If I were an AD and was looking for a solid, experienced young coach to take over my Indiana high school football program, I'd start with this list of hot up and comers currently making their respective marks in the Hoosier state :
 
1. Justin Pelley – Western Boone / 3 time state champ running a program that always plays well above its weight class. Pelley is on record that he is happy being at WEBO forever but he will always be high on the list of big Indy schools looking to make an upgrade in the future.
2. Chris Skinner – Andrean / The 59er grad led his team to a 2A state championship this year in spite of declining numbers in northwest Indiana. The Niners continue to develop high end talent as they have the top junior in the state in LB Drayk Bowen. Skinner is meticulous in his approach, on top of the strength and development game and pushes his players to be multi sport athletes. Duneland schools will be after him as well as other strong programs throughout Northern Indiana.
3. Rob Gibson – Owen Valley / In his first head coaching sting, Gibson turned around a beaten down Owen Valley program and took the Patriots to the regional, finishing 10-2. Gibson went to great lengths to make the players feel important and a part of something special when he took over the program, and the team bought in and had a huge season. Gibson quickly is now a hot commodity in western Indiana and could be a target for the Terre Haute schools in the future.
4. Nick Hart – Gibson Southern / Hart is known state wide and in ten years has built a southern Indiana 3A power house with his Titans. Hart is not only a target in Indiana, he is well known in Kentucky as well and will be targeted by big schools in northern KY. Would love to see what Hart could do in The HCC.
5. Kyle Padgett – Centerville / Padgett has slowly built the Bulldogs into a small school power and the Scecina grad might at some point be looking to return to the big stage in Indianapolis, where he will be a target of the PPs as those jobs rotate open.
6. Jake Meiners – East Central / Meiners runs a program that is expected to win double digit games every season, and he does it with class, extreme organization and great humility. East Central looks and plays a lot like Chatard and Roncalli, with discipline and precision. Meiners could be at EC for the next 20 years, or he could possibly be poached by a neighboring school in Ohio. Top notch guy.
7. Shane Fry – West Lafayette / Fry runs one of the strongest and most complete football programs in the state, regardless of class. WL can play with anybody. Solid, tough football program that has great discipline and executes with precision. Big question. Does Fry want to stay in Lafayette and continue to chase 3A championships, or is he ready to move on to something bigger?
8. Grant Moser – South Adams / The Starfires are beloved in Berne, Indiana, and Moser is the Mayor of Footballville. This is a perfect match nade in football heaven. The right young coach for a football crazed community that loves to win, and Moser delivers. So what happens if a Fort Wayne schools calls with a nice opportunity? Not sure you can shake the “small town guy” out of this head coach.
9. Brad Seiss – Merrillville / Seiss came to Merrillville from Muncie and struggled in his first few seasons, as expectations are very high at MHS. But the Pirates have been on a roll in the past two seasons and have surpassed Penn as the premier program in Northern Indiana. Merrillville continues to develop some high end talent, including massive DL Kenneth Grant who will play at Michigan. Northern Indiana coaches rarely get the call to come down to the central Indiana football cauldron, but Seiss could be a target given his success with the Bucs.
10. Austin Colby – Kokomo / Colby, son of former Kokomo HC Brett Colby, is making a name for himself since returning from Maconaquah to take over the program his Dad ran for years. The talent is there and Colby is determined to make his team a perennial challenger in 5A.
11. Josh Shattuck – Elkhart / Shattuck rebuilt a broken Seymour program in 4 years, taking the 2013 Owls from 0-10 to an 8-4 record just 4 years later. Now at the helm of the Elkhart program, he has lead the transition of merging Memorial and Central programs into one cohesive unit, with back to back 9 win seasons in 2019 and 2020. The Lions were snakebit with injuries and covid in 2021, slipping to 5-5, but this program is rising and has a lot of talented football players. Shattuck’s work has not gone unnoticed and he will be coveted by programs looking for a proven upgrade.
12. Luke Amstutz – East Noble / Very similar to East Central. Solid program top to bottom, great staff, and a very organized and driven young head football coach. EN is stuck in a weak conference and his team is not challenged enough during the regular season, which might hold them back in the playoffs. Amstutz loves what he is doing in Kendallville and is likely here for the long haul.
13. Kyle Mullins – Scottsburg / Mullins has rebuilt the Scottsburg program since the Warriors resumed playing varsity football in 2015, and the program registered its first winning season in 2021. He could be a target for other Southern Indiana schools looking to rebuild as well.
14. Travis Nolting – Greenfield Central / Nolting bolted from North Central Farmersburg after taking the team on a 19-4 run in 2017-18 and took on a massive rebuilding project at GC, where the 2018 team was 0-10. Nolting’s team has gradually improved, and won a surprising 7 games in 2021, and may be ready soon to challenge Hoosier Heritage top dogs New Pal and Mt Vernon in the near future. GCs close proximity to Indy will make Nolting a target of any 5A or 6A opening.
15. Kyle Enright - Decatur Central / Enright’s teams have dominated for the most part in the Mid State Conference, and Enright took his team to the state championship game in 2018, losing to a loaded New Pal team. Cathedral has ended the Hawks seasons in 4 of the past 5 years, and at some point, you’ve got to wonder if Enright will get a little tired of that. DC could be on the move with the MIC/HCC conference shakeout on the horizon, so things just might take care of themselves in this case.
16. Jayme Comer - Danville / The Warriors have become a regular post season 3A threat and Comer has built his program numbers from the mid 60s to over 100 players in very short order. Danville is tough and aggressive and has a great staff built for a long term run of success. Comer will most definitely be targeted by big Indy schools in The MIC, HCC and Mid States as opportunities come available. Danville is a great job and would be hard to leave. Comer is certainly sitting in a very enviable position

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Well it’s a good thing Coach Hart is now the Athletic Director at Gibson  Southern lol  

 

it’s been a solid 10 years of rumors or speculation that Coach Hart would leave.  
 

Imo, he’s the best offensive play designer/play caller in the state and likes to play mind games with opposing coaches to get them in the defenses he wants for certain plays. 

 

If he were to ever leave Gibson Southern, it wouldn’t be for another high school lol.  It would be for a college program.  

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On 12/25/2021 at 2:07 PM, DumfriesYMCA said:

Well it’s a good thing Coach Hart is now the Athletic Director at Gibson  Southern lol  

 

it’s been a solid 10 years of rumors or speculation that Coach Hart would leave.  
 

Imo, he’s the best offensive play designer/play caller in the state and likes to play mind games with opposing coaches to get them in the defenses he wants for certain plays. 

 

If he were to ever leave Gibson Southern, it wouldn’t be for another high school lol.  It would be for a college program.  

Id like to see what Coach Hart can do in The MIC or The HCC.  That is the ultimate test of high school coaching in Indiana.  Weve seen some Big Ten Qbs (Hunter Johnson/Brandon Peters/Tommy Stevens)  who have not dominated in Indy the way that Allen dominated in Southern Indiana.  Too many good athletes' on defense in the metro. 

In my view, Pike and North Central represent the ultimate challenge for a proven head coach to come in and turn around a chronic losing program against the very best competition week after week.  If I were in Hart's shoes and had a choice between the two, Id go with Pike.  Bigger upside, better athletes, more internal program control.

 

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32 minutes ago, HHF said:

Id like to see what Coach Hart can do in The MIC or The HCC.  That is the ultimate test of high school coaching in Indiana.  Weve seen some Big Ten Qbs (Hunter Johnson/Brandon Peters/Tommy Stevens)  who have not dominated in Indy the way that Allen dominated in Southern Indiana.  Too many good athletes' on defense in the metro. 

In my view, Pike and North Central represent the ultimate challenge for a proven head coach to come in and turn around a chronic losing program against the very best competition week after week.  If I were in Hart's shoes and had a choice between the two, Id go with Pike.  Bigger upside, better athletes, more internal program control.

 

I think you forget who his dad is lol you have already seen what happens when a Hart is coaching in the MIC 

 

either way I don’t it’s going to happen and I think it’s inappropriate to speculate on coaches leaving their positions for another coaching spot

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10 minutes ago, DumfriesYMCA said:

I think you forget who his dad is lol you have already seen what happens when a Hart is coaching in the MIC 

 

either way I don’t it’s going to happen and I think it’s inappropriate to speculate on coaches leaving their positions for another coaching spot

I think Nick would coach circles around his Dad in a matchup of equal talent.

 

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1 hour ago, HHF said:

Id like to see what Coach Hart can do in The MIC or The HCC.  That is the ultimate test of high school coaching in Indiana.  Weve seen some Big Ten Qbs (Hunter Johnson/Brandon Peters/Tommy Stevens)  who have not dominated in Indy the way that Allen dominated in Southern Indiana.  Too many good athletes' on defense in the metro. 

In my view, Pike and North Central represent the ultimate challenge for a proven head coach to come in and turn around a chronic losing program against the very best competition week after week.  If I were in Hart's shoes and had a choice between the two, Id go with Pike.  Bigger upside, better athletes, more internal program control.

 

This may come as a shock to some… but many coaches look for a forever home and just stay.  It’s not always about the next biggest thing.  Lots of the coaches on this list may never leave their current home.  Life is about what’s right for you…not what others think is right for you.  Even for a coach, there are lots of things in life more important than the profession itself, and what these things might be are as individual as a finger print.

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16 hours ago, Titan32 said:

This may come as a shock to some… but many coaches look for a forever home and just stay.  It’s not always about the next biggest thing.  Lots of the coaches on this list may never leave their current home.  Life is about what’s right for you…not what others think is right for you.  Even for a coach, there are lots of things in life more important than the profession itself, and what these things might be are as individual as a finger print.

Agreed! These kind of lists always makes me wonder what would the GID look like in the mid-90s.

Jerry Brewer and Bob Clayton. Will they get bored winning against their competition and step up to coach an Indy school? No way do the up and coming coaches Mike Goebel and Reed May spend their careers at one school. 

HS football coaches don’t think like fans (that’s a good thing) and always look for the next big thing. 

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2 hours ago, oldtimeqb said:

Agreed! These kind of lists always makes me wonder what would the GID look like in the mid-90s.

Jerry Brewer and Bob Clayton. Will they get bored winning against their competition and step up to coach an Indy school? No way do the up and coming coaches Mike Goebel and Reed May spend their careers at one school. 

HS football coaches don’t think like fans (that’s a good thing) and always look for the next big thing. 

I agree with the fact that not all coaches want to move on to the next "big thing". I agree that I personally enjoy seeing coaches stay at a place their entire career. 

However, I don't see anything wrong with these lists. All they really do is give recognition to these coaches. Saying that they done such a fabulous job, that other schools may try to poach them. 

One could come up with a list of guys who had success at one place. It also wouldn't be hard to come up with a list of guys who had success and then moved on to a larger school or a school that some may think is a better job. 

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20 hours ago, DumfriesYMCA said:

I think you forget who his dad is lol you have already seen what happens when a Hart is coaching in the MIC 

 

either way I don’t it’s going to happen and I think it’s inappropriate to speculate on coaches leaving their positions for another coaching spot

Plus it’s against GID rules. STATE LAW!

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3 hours ago, oldtimeqb said:

Agreed! These kind of lists always makes me wonder what would the GID look like in the mid-90s.

Jerry Brewer and Bob Clayton. Will they get bored winning against their competition and step up to coach an Indy school? No way do the up and coming coaches Mike Goebel and Reed May spend their careers at one school. 

HS football coaches don’t think like fans (that’s a good thing) and always look for the next big thing. 

But some do.  And many move around, looking to move up the ladder like most career oriented people do.  Its a lot easier to feed at the public trough for 35 years and then retire without ever having to make a move than it is to challenge yourself to become the best possible version of yourself that you can be.

 

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East Noble has a very impressive program.  I believe they finished 3rd in the NE8 the last 2 years so not sure where the “weak conference” comment is coming from.  


Grant Moser has done a really nice job over the past few years at SA. They had a ton of talent roll through.  He has his work cut out for him over the next few years.  While the ACAC guarantees 4-5 conference wins per year it could be tough sledding at SA for a few years.

Colby’s time at Mac was puzzling.  They returned a ton that year including their do everything back.  Guess one could blame it on covid like everything else but that was a very disappointing year for Mac.

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On 12/25/2021 at 1:07 PM, DumfriesYMCA said:

Imo, he’s the best offensive play designer/play caller in the state and likes to play mind games with opposing coaches to get them in the defenses he wants for certain plays. 

If he were to ever leave Gibson Southern, it wouldn’t be for another high school lol.  It would be for a college program.  

Everybody needs a hype-man and you are clearly his.. LOL, mind games? Like Jedi stuff? 

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2 hours ago, tango said:

Everybody needs a hype-man and you are clearly his.. LOL, mind games? Like Jedi stuff? 

Meh for such a minor comment you sure want to make it bigger than what it is

im calling a spade for a spade…he’s the best play caller/play designer in the state.  And like anyone who is great at that, they leave opposing defensive coordinators guessing and rattle their head. 
 

football is as much a mental game as it is a physical game…and I would like to think the people behind the headsets on Friday nights are just as important for winning as the talent on the field. 

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20 hours ago, DumfriesYMCA said:

Meh for such a minor comment you sure want to make it bigger than what it is

im calling a spade for a spade…he’s the best play caller/play designer in the state.  And like anyone who is great at that, they leave opposing defensive coordinators guessing and rattle their head. 
 

football is as much a mental game as it is a physical game…and I would like to think the people behind the headsets on Friday nights are just as important for winning as the talent on the field. 

I guess opposing defenses won the mental game from 2016 to 2020. 

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25 minutes ago, Screagle said:

I guess opposing defenses won the mental game from 2016 to 2020. 

Coach Hart is going to be judged on what he can accomplish without Brady Allen.  

We used to joke that anybody with a pulse and a whistle could coach the Warren Central teams that won 4 straight state championships at the highest level.  Talent makes a difference.  

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Not sure how you gauge the "best in the State" as far as design and play calling; unless someone has access to a LOT of video and time to watch. I can think of 4 off the top of my head that I would consider among the best I have ever coached with or against. But the fact is that we put WAY too much on how good a coach is to a team's record; completing discounting the ability level of the dudes putting the pads on every day. 

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On 12/27/2021 at 2:09 PM, HHF said:

But some do.  And many move around, looking to move up the ladder like most career oriented people do.  Its a lot easier to feed at the public trough for 35 years and then retire without ever having to make a move than it is to challenge yourself to become the best possible version of yourself that you can be.

 

These two things are mutually exclusive IMO. I understand your point above, and I can certainly agree when talking about college or pro jobs. There is nothing wrong with climbing the latter if you so choose, but the relationships are the best part of coaching. Some lose their way or become burned out constantly bouncing around. If you invest your heart, communities have a way of making you one of their own. You get to see first hand the impact you make on and off the field. There is no hall of fame or internet clout I'd trade that for, and I can speak the same for a lot of my coaching colleagues. This is a great list of leaders, I wish them nothing but the best whatever they choose.

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5 minutes ago, CoachVeatch said:

These two things are mutually exclusive IMO. I understand your point above, and I can certainly agree when talking about college or pro jobs. There is nothing wrong with climbing the latter if you so choose, but the relationships are the best part of coaching. Some lose their way or become burned out constantly bouncing around. If you invest your heart, communities have a way of making you one of their own. You get to see first hand the impact you make on and off the field. There is no hall of fame or internet clout I'd trade that for, and I can speak the same for a lot of my coaching colleagues. This is a great list of leaders, I wish them nothing but the best whatever they choose.

For every Don Howell, there are 5 Brad Smiths.

For every Larry "Bud" Wright, there are 50 Lance Scheibs

For every Mike Goebel, there are 100 Brian Parker's

Pick your poison

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On 12/27/2021 at 1:09 PM, HHF said:

But some do.  And many move around, looking to move up the ladder like most career oriented people do.  Its a lot easier to feed at the public trough for 35 years and then retire without ever having to make a move than it is to challenge yourself to become the best possible version of yourself that you can be.

 

The best version of yourself might be more concerned with finding a great fit for your little ones in school and the community you would like to seem them grow up in or a great church that is a fit or an administration that fully supports you or a community that supports the program in everyway or a feeder system that doesn't need an overhaul or perhaps proximity to grandparents matters.  This list isn't all inclusive.

That said I do think the list is a nice acknowledgment of what all these fine coaches are doing.  Thanks for putting it together.

I am a professional myself and I can tell tell you keeping my kids in the South Gibson School Corporation has cost me hundreds of thousands of dollars with regard to my own work.  Best decision I ever made.

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9 minutes ago, HHF said:

For every Don Howell, there are 5 Brad Smiths.

For every Larry "Bud" Wright, there are 50 Lance Scheibs

For every Mike Goebel, there are 100 Brian Parker's

Pick your poison

That's a solid rebuttal, though I'd be more solid with a Jeff Adamson on that list too 😉

I feel like you skipped over some of the other points made, but you're making your court case, and I can't say you're right, wrong or otherwise. Just trying to provide a different perspective.

 

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