Archive for August 23, 2016

BIG SHOES TO FILL AS DAVE DUBOIS ANNOUNCES HE WILL RETIRE AS CHIEF OF THE KOKOMO YMCA

Dave Dubois 2

BY DEAN HOCKNEY

KOKOMO, Ind. – When David and Shirley Dubois arrived in Kokomo in late 1998, they thought the stay would be short lived – five years at the most. As the newly crowned CEO of the Kokomo Family YMCA, Dave’s intentions were to continue the capital building campaign, build a new facility and move on to a new assignment within the organization.

“When the board interviewed me 18 years ago, I gave them the stock answer of three to five years,” said Dubois. “I promised them I would be gone within a year of opening a new Y. I firmly believed the timeline – I would get the new Y built and find my next Y gig. Here we are 18 years later. But instead of moving on, I am going to retire.”

Dubois will stick to his word – he will retire on March 3, 2017, which is one year and three days after the new state-of-the-art downtown Kokomo YMCA building was opened – now called the Delmar E. Demaree Family YMCA.

“I told them I am giving them a bonus three days,” Dubois said with a chuckle. “I have told my board and national, so it is official – I am going to retire.”

Kokomo Mayor Greg Goodnight, who worked closely with Dubois through the years as the new YMCA was built next to the Stephen J. Daily Government Center, said the community leader will be missed.

“First, congrats to Dave on his retirement,” said Goodnight. “The next person leading the YMCA is going to have some big shoes to fill and I hope the board does a thorough job because it is an important position in the community. It will be hard to find someone to stay as long as Dave did, but I hope they find someone who was as passionate about it as he was.”

Dubois, a 33-year YMCA employee, said he is just the seventh director of the Kokomo branch. The YMCA of Kokomo began meeting in 1875 and was active in Sunday school, teaching and was evangelical, though it had no permanent space to call its own for the first 35 years. In 1910, a new building was erected at 200 N. Union St. in Kokomo. At the time of completed construction, it was the biggest and newest building in downtown Kokomo.

“There has only been seven (directors) in 106 years,” said Dubois, who noted the title has changed through the years. “It is not like they turnover very often. For a while I thought I had the longest tenure, but it turns out that one gentleman was here from 1920-1958. He wins. I am not going that long! But the YMCA in Kokomo has an interesting history.”

The father of four grown children – Kyle, Kaitlyn, Kelci and Keaton – arrived in Kokomo after working for 10 years at the YMCA of Pittsburgh and five years in Gadsden, Alabama. While he said he will not sit idle in retirement, the 56-year-old is not looking for another high-stress position.

“I will still have to work for another few years, but I have some freedom and flexibility in what I do next,” said the Indiana State University graduate. “I love the Y and I believe in the Y. My retirement has nothing to do with me losing faith in the organization. What we do matters. But it is time; I just want to do something different.”

Dubois said his intentions are to stay in Kokomo once he retires.

“This is where my network is. This is where we raised our kids,” he said. “Like I said, I have flexibility. But this has been my home for 18 years. We love Kokomo. I think I will be able to find something here.”

The CEO position at the YMCA in Kokomo is currently posted through Sept. 6 with intentions of selecting the eighth leader of the Kokomo mainstay by Nov. 21. Questions about the CEO search process should be directed to Franciene Gill at franciene.gill@ymca.net.

This story was first reported by the Kokomo Herald and appeared in the Aug. 18 edition.

HOWARD AND TIPTON COUNTY FOOTBALL SQUADS READY TO KICKOFF THE 2016 CAMPAIGN

Football - Gridiron Friday Night

BY DEAN HOCKNEY

KOKOMO, Ind. – Touchdown passes, interceptions, hard hits, long runs, popcorn, hot dogs, ice cold Coca-Cola and hot chocolate. Yep, it’s time for football to kick off on striped fields across the state – and the local area is no exception.

Excitement is in the air around Howard County and the surrounding area, and rightfully so. Last year, the Kokomo Wildkats advanced to the IHSAA Class 5A Final Four and the Taylor Titans turned its program around with a four-win season. Meanwhile, young coaches at Western and Northwestern now have their programs firmly in place and Eastern is set for its second season in a new conference.

The most excitement revolves around the Wildkats, fresh off the programs second sectional title (first since 1985) and first-ever regional championship in a 12-1, North Central Conference championship campaign. With Kyle Wade returning at quarterback – now a veteran third-year junior starter – Kokomo has high expectations despite key graduation losses. But head coach Brett Colby (73-23, 10th year at Kokomo) understands that was last year – and 2016 is a new season.

“We had the talk that there is no entitlement,” said Colby. “Last year is last year. We want them to win something new for themselves. But it has been a rough start with some injuries.”

While not going into details, Colby said his offense has changed slightly. Wade returns after throwing for 1,419 yards a year ago – the most since Kevin Lechner’s 1,466 in 1981.

“We are still going to do the same stuff in the shotgun – we are still doing the double-wing,” said Colby. “Kyle is going to be a big run-threat for us. Hopefully, that will catch them off-guard. And we are going to focus on some of the old stuff. We have to focus on our own identity this year.”

EASTERN: Josh Edwards (27-64) returns for his 10th season at Eastern and will look for his second winning season – and this time, the Comets are looking for the defense to lead the way.

“We put a lot of emphasis on defense this summer,” said assistant coach Craig Standish. “Defense wins championships. Fans don’t necessarily want to see a grind-it-out football game, but our defense is vastly improved. Defense was the highlight of our scrimmage.”

Scott Mullinex, the Comets quarterback and defensive end, will lead the way after recently committing to play NCAA Division I football for the Sycamores of Indiana State.

“He is 6-foot-2, 220 pounds,” said Standish. “He is a load. He throws the ball well and runs the ball well. Indiana State wants him to play middle linebacker – we are proud of him.”

NORTHWESTERN: Alex Stewart (4-6) is back for his second year at Northwestern, and he has high expectations for the new season.

“Our kids had a phenomenal off-season and really bought into the weight program,” said Stewart. “

Stewart said the offense will fall onto the shoulders of fourth-year starter Trey Richmond. The senior had a 532-yard passing game in the sectional last year.

“Trey had a really good year as a junior despite being hampered by a hamstring injury,” said the coach. “You really saw the real Trey Richmond in the second half of the season. He is growing up and becoming a leader. He is doing things he would not have done last year.”

TAYLOR: The Taylor Titans entered the 2015 campaign on a 36-game losing streak, and things from the outside looked bleak after two losses to start the season. But head coach Dennis Bentzler (4-17, third year) saw things differently, and a 27-8 win over Frontier not only snapped the streak, it led to the Titans going 4-5 over the rest of the season. But to keep the momentum going, Taylor will have to overcome losing 15 players to graduation.

“That is huge for a program our size,” said Bentzler. “But I am proud of where we are. The program is going in a positive direction.”

The veteran coach, Bentzler retired after 23 years of helming the girls basketball program, said the younger kids will need to step up this season.

“We can run our wide-open spread offense this year,” said Bentzler. “We don’t have any outstanding players, but it is about team – these kids love to play.”

TIPTON: Aaron Tolle returns for his 12th year at Tipton (81-47), and he is as excited this year as in years past – especially coming off a pair of sub-par seasons by Blue Devil standards.

“We feel good about where we are,” said the veteran coach. “We have some good kids in our program and it is fun to work with them every day. We are excited to see if we can get this thing back rolling again.”

Kellen Woods returns to the quarterback position for the third consecutive season.

“He is going to run the show; we tuned the keys over to him long ago,” said Tolle. “He is a great kid and his parents should be very proud – and he is a straight-A student. He is not the biggest guy in the world, but he gets it done as a quarterback and defensive back. He gives us a weapon.”

TRI-CENTRAL: Once the doormat, the Tri-Central Trojans under coach George Gilbert (53-27, eighth year) are now the one with a target on its back. The Trojans won the Class 1A state title in 2013 and the program has four consecutive double-digit win seasons – including an undefeated regular season last campaign.

“We are ready to get it started,” said Gilbert. “We have a big senior class, although we did lose our entire backfield from last year. But this year, we will have some exciting running backs. We use the cliché, “next guy up.”

Gilbert said he is also excited that the group that started practices is still coming back, despite the grind.

“We started with 36 and we still have 36,” he said. “Their focus and attitude has been good; now, we need to develop our concept of, ‘team of one.’ We want them to develop a chemistry together, just like a family. But we have great senior leadership and I think we will be fine.”

WESTERN: Third year head coach Ron Jankovich (5-16) said the program is headed in the right direction and he is excited about what is to come.

“I feel comfortable with the staff and I think the players understand what I expect,” he said. “I think everyone is starting to buy-in and are staying the course. It is starting to show a little and we are on the right path.”

Jankovich said he will rely on returning quarterback Tyler Knepley as the key to the offense.

“And we want to control the middle – control the run game,” said Jankovich. “We had 16 freshman and sophomores play and start last year. Now they are juniors and they are starting to develop. They are starting to understand the schemes. We have some young guys, but they are battle tested.”

The high school football season begins this Friday with only one Howard County squad playing at home as Taylor will host North White at 7 p.m. Other local games include Kokomo at Chesterton (8 p.m.), Northwestern at Clinton Central (7 p.m.), Western at Frankfort (7 p.m.) and Eastern at Oak Hill (7 p.m.).

Returning to its traditional 9 a.m. slot on the radio dial is the Saturday Morning Breakfast Coaches Show with host Chris Lowry. This year, the seven varsity football coaches from Howard and Tipton County’s will break down their games from the previous evening live on ESPN 1350 AM WIOU.

QUENTIN BROWN ABRUPTLY RESIGNS AS HEAD BASEBALL COACH AND TEACHER AT WESTERN

Quentin Brown web

Staff report

RUSSIAVILLE, Ind. – The Western High School sports community was in shock on the morning of Aug. 16 when word spread that head baseball coach Quentin Brown had abruptly resigned from his duties as a coach and teacher. Last June, Brown led the Panthers to the IHSAA Class 3A state championship game, where they lost a heartbreaker to Northview 2-1.

“Mr. Quentin Brown, high school teacher and varsity baseball coach, has submitted a letter of resignation,” Western Principal Rick Davis said in an emailed statement. “Western would like to thank Mr. Brown for his dedication and contribution to the students of Western High School and the WHS Baseball program. His presence, personality, and abilities will be missed.  We wish Mr. Brown the best of luck in his future endeavors.”

Brown, a 2005 graduate of Western, had served as the baseball coach for three seasons, taking over for Howard County Sports Hall of Fame coach Ty Calloway following the 2013 season. Brown played for Calloway from 2002-2005, where he was named an Indiana North All-Star and led the squad to a sectional and regional title in 2004.

After high school, he played four years for IPFW at the NCAA Division I level.

Following college, Brown was an assistant for two seasons at Garrett High School. He returned to Western as an assistant coach and social studies teacher in 2011, where he helped Calloway lead the Panthers to the 2012 IHSAA Class 3A state championship and the 2013 3A Final Four.

His first year as the head coach also marked the first of two years where the Panthers were bumped up to Class 4A due to the IHSAA Success Factor. While going 17-8 and 10-12 in his first two years, Western was knocked out of sectional play in the opening round. His third season at the helm resulted in an 18-14 campaign that ended with sectional, regional and semi-state titles before falling in the state finals at Victory Field.

Brown departs Western with a 45-34 record in three seasons.

The Howard County Sheriff Department confirmed they were conducting an investigation but would not comment further. Athletic Director Josh Larsh referred comments to the statement issued by Davis.