By: Baylee VanKirk
New Ripley head football coach Dave Tennant is hoping to bring a new energy to the program, taking over for Jimmy Frashier who resigned earlier this year to become an administrator at Ravenswood High School. Tennant served as the head coach at Eastern High in Ohio for the past two seasons.
“I think they’re ready for a change,” Tennant said. “I think they’re ready for the excitement that we are going to bring. They’re excited and I think it (practice) went really well.”
Tennant has spent the past week or so transitioning into his new job, one he had hoped to eventually land after spending a brief tenure with the program in 2010.
“When I got the call that I had the job, it was an amazing feeling, because three years ago I coached here and my heart never left,” he said.
“When I first took over there (Eastern High), we had only two seniors and lost both of them to injuries,” Tennant said. “It was a complete rebuilding process and we weren’t expected to be competitive right away.”
Following three hard-fought wins in year one, Tennant saw significant progress in 2012 as his club finished with a 6-4 record. But it was an overall mindset change from his team that came along with those wins – something he hopes to implement with the Vikings as well.
“I hate to lose. I’ve been around successful programs from Wahama to programs in
Every experience I’ve been through, every coaching stop I have had and the
people I have surrounded myself with, I’ve learned a lot from them – it’s made
me a better coach.” said coach Tennant Cleveland
“We turned the page this past year where they started believing in the program, to where teams that had beat us by 30 in year one, we beat in year two,” he said.
It’s a somewhat similar rebuilding process that Tennant is now faced with at Ripley. The Vikings have just a handful of playoff wins all-time, one of which came back in 2009 under Frashier. And while the schedule will be rough in the loaded Mountain State Athletic Conference, Tennant is anxious to face those challenges.
“I believe they’re going to build off of the excitement that I’m bringing,” Tennant said. “They’ve had some good years, but they’ve also had some struggles as well. I believe we can set the foundation for something that eventually could be great.”
Ripley went 5-5 this past season, winning 36 games in all over the past decade under Frashier.
Tennant played college football with Ohio University and plans to bring some concepts from his playing days and incorporate them into our playbook.
“We’re going to change whole philosophy of the program,” Tennant said. “It’s full speed every single day. There are no plays off. I love how they do it in college – even if you’re in shells, you’re at full speed. We’ll get them ready in practice, so that they won’t be surprised when it’s game time.”
“Every experience I’ve been through, every coaching stop I have had and the people I have surrounded myself with, I’ve learned a lot from them – it’s made me a better coach.”
And whether or not the wins come right away for the Vikings, it’s clear the program now has a fresh start, one Tennant is hoping to accelerate to the next level.