By Steve Ruman
When it comes to coaching high school football, Bill Bohren has never been accused of doing things backward.
The longtime area coach has 288 wins under his belt, and he has already earned a spot in the Ohio High School Football Coaches Hall of Fame. From Steubenville to LaBrae and everywhere in between, Bohren has found success at each stop during his lengthy career.
Still, the path that led Bohren from his coaching roots in 1965 to today can only be described as, well, backward.
You see, after serving as a head coach for 47 years, Bohren is finally getting around to doing something that he probably should have done half a century ago.
For the first time in his career, Bohren is an assistant coach.
Earlier this month, Bohren joined the staff at Champion High. With the Golden Flashes, he will serve as the quarterbacks and running backs coach.
Last October, Bohren resigned from his head coaching position at LaBrae after completing his ninth year with the Vikings. He went 46-46 at the school, including a pair of playoff appearances. At the time, he stated that “the time was just right to move on,” but stressed that he planned to continue coaching.
“I actually had hoped to land a (head) coaching job somewhere, but there weren’t many local openings, and other legitimate opportunities were too far from home,” Bohren said. “The important thing for me is that I’m coaching. I knew all along that I wanted to be on the sidelines this coming fall.”
Bohren joins a staff led by Terry Howell.
Howell served as an assistant under Bohren for 13 years at Niles and LaBrae.
“This will be the first time I’ll have to learn to keep my mouth shut around Terry,” Bohren quipped. “This will be a new experience for me.”
In reality, Bohren said the transition from head to assistant coach was made easy because of his relationship with Howell and the rest of the Golden Flashes staff. Other assistants include Rich Palumbo, who also worked under Bohren.
“I have always had a tremendous amount of respect for Terry,” Bohren said. “Champion is heading in the right direction, and I knew they would with Terry in charge. He has a great football mind, and he knows what it takes to be the man in charge.
“Being an assistant is all about buying into the philosophy of the head coach and it’s about being loyal. In that regard, I’m at the right place because I know what Terry is all about. I look forward to working with him.”
Howell called the most recent addition to his staff “an absolute steal” and said that Bohren is already making an impact with the program.
“The thing about Bill, he is a players’ coach,” Howell said. “I have never met a single guy who played for Bill who didn’t like him. And beyond that, his knowledge of the game is just off the charts. What he will bring to our program will be immeasurable.
“He joined us around the middle of the month, and he’s been here every day since. He lives and breathes football.”
Bohren said that he hopes to become a head coach again in the future, but for the time being, he looks forward to what he calls “an entirely new experience.”
“I’m working for a great guy,” Bohren said. “Besides, this fall when fans are yelling, ‘Hey, bonehead!’ from the stands, it will be nice to know they’re yelling at Terry and not me.”