By SCOTT COTTOS
KANSAS — Troy Albright is the new head football coach at Lakota High School, and he aims to keep it that way for a while.
If nothing else, the Raiders recently have been a team of change, with Albright coming in as their fourth coach in as many seasons. He succeeds Shane Jacoby, who resigned shortly after the 2015 campaign. Last season was the only one in Jacoby’s second stint as Lakota’s head coach; he also coached the Raiders from 2003-2007.
“The football kids have been through an awful lot with change,” Albright, a Clyde resident who is taking his first head-coaching position after assisting in three different programs through the last 16 years. “Hopefully, we’ll be able to instill some stability.”
Lakota athletic director Kellen Taylor is excited about bringing aboard the 46-year-old Albright, who for the past three seasons has been the defensive coordinator at Fremont Ross.
“I heard wonderful things about his leadership and his ability to build relationships with kids, and he knocked the interview out of the park,” Taylor said. “He’s a stand-up human being.”
Albright has worked his way up the scholastic coaching ladder after having begun at the junior high level. In addition to Ross, Albright has coached at Swanton and his alma mater, Clyde, where he played under Tom Grine, who later became a longtime assistant and head coach at Fostoria High School.
When Albright joined Ross’ staff three years ago, he was brought on by Derek Kidwell, the former Ohio Mr. Football at Fostoria who recently completed his second season as head coach at his alma mater.
“I never considered being a head coach until the last couple of years,” Albright said. “I’m definitely ready to explore this side of things, and I’m happy they’re giving me the opportunity to lead things.”
Albright has been getting acquainted with Lakota while working as a substitute teacher. He’s also involved in real estate and the operation of a golf-simulator facility.
He said he’s been impressed by the people and the facilities at Lakota.
“There’s a lot of positivity connected with things out there,” he said.
Albright said he likes that the returning football players are either competing in other sports or putting in time in the weight room, and he wants to see them getting the most out of what they’re doing.
“Most kids have one-time opportunities to participate in things,” he said. “And if you’re going to participate, why not give it your all?”
Lakota has had three consecutive 4-6 seasons after having gone 2-8 in 2012, and the Raiders have not had a winning campaign since 2007. Albright said gaining the school’s first playoff berth is a goal to take aim at, though more immediately he wants to increase the team’s numbers. Taylor said at this point, between 30 to 35 youngsters are expected to be out for football for 2016.
Albright said that while there’s been turnover in coaching and a limited number of victories in recent years, he’s inheriting a program that’s been in good hands with Jacoby, Eric Brickman and Dave Vodika.
“Although there have been changes, it’s not a basket case,” he said. “These guys have put some work in. I’m cautiously optimistic that we can advance the work that those other guys have done.”
Said Taylor: “It’s a new beginning with the new staff coming in. Hopefully the kids latch on. And if they do, I think they’ll be successful going forward.”