Friday, July 21, 2017
By Brian Dzenis
Youngstown City Schools athletics is taking East High School’s football team in a new direction two weeks before the team begins fall practice.
Former Youngstown/Valley Christian head coach Brian Marrow takes over the Panthers program, City Schools athletics director Rick Shepas said on Thursday.
“For me, Brian Marrow is a local hero. He played in the Big Ten for Wisconsin. He was a leader at [former]) South High School,” Shepas said. “I just think for the type of man that he is and the type of football coach that he is. I think he’s the kind of man I would want my kids to play for.”
Marrow’s coaching stint at Youngstown Christian lasted from 2007 to 2015 where he went 43-49.
Marrow did not return a phone call for comment.
Marrow replaces Jarron Jenkins, who went 1-9 this past fall in his lone season in charge.
Shepas said Jenkins has not been let go, but will not be on Marrow’s staff. Jenkins will have a “transitionary” role, but Shepas did not give specifics.
Jenkins said he is still employed by Youngstown City Schools as a teacher, but deferred questions about his status with the football team to Shepas.
Shepas, a Cardinal Mooney graduate, took over the City Schools athletics programs earlier this month.
“It just felt like it was necessary and in the best interest of the kids to make that culture change and that’s 100 percent why I made the decision,” Shepas said of the move. “I definitely want to make sure all the parents know that these changes we’re making are for the betterment of all the young men and young women that are participating in athletics here.
“The image and perception of our schools is going to change,” Shepas said.
Marrow is not the only summer hire by Shepas. He brought in Latalia Jones, a former Chaney track athlete, to help coach the track team and work as a counselor.
He also hired former Rayen and East girls basketball coach Tanisha Franklin to serve coaching and administrative roles at East.
Marrow’s staff includes some familiar names. Former Liberty coach Kevin Cylar is on board and Chris Amill stepped down as Cardinal Mooney’s defensive coordinator to link up with Marrow.
Amill’s addition was something of a surprise for both himself and Shepas. Amill said he first heard about Shepas taking over and that he was talking with Marrow about coaching the football team. He and Shepas being Mooney grads plus a healthy respect for Marrow made working with him at East an enticing proposition.
“[Marrow] is like a big brother to me, he always has been,” Amill said.
He’s also confident that Marrow and his staff can put the Panthers back on track.
“It’s going to be about getting our guys knowing that they can compete with anyone,” Amill said. “That’s the hardest part. We definitely know we have the athletes, now we have to get them to believe.”