As far as decisions go this one is not on the same level as LeBron leaving Cleveland for South Beach, but it does include a lifelong Ohio boy moving on to Florida.
It was announced on Thursday that Boardman head football coach D.J. Ogilvie would be stepping down after seven seasons to assume the head coaching duties at Lemon Bay High School in Englewood, Fla. Unlike King James’ decision, this one by Ogilvie truly did cut to the core.
“There was lots of prayer involved,” said the former Spartan leader over the phone. “It was a tough decision that was made with my family in mind. I always preached to my team faith, family and football. This was the best thing for my family.”
One of the top factors why Ogilvie will pack up his family and move to the Sarasota area was that Lemon Bay would give teaching jobs to both D.J. and his wife. Those jobs will include the experience he and his wife have accumulated in this area. Although Ogilvie has called Boardman home for his entire life, he knew that the opportunity for a change was here and he better take it.
“The time to move was now,” he said honestly. “My daughter is a freshman and a lot of my family is not around here anymore. “
Boardman Athletic Director Dave Smercansky was surprised that Ogilvie decided to skip out on the Spartans, but understood how much family played a role in that choice.
“I was shocked,” wrote Smercansky in an email, “but family is the most important thing in someone’s life after faith. D.J. is very strong in his faith and he has very strong family values. I believe he is doing what is best for his family.”
So what is the best thing for the Boardman family now that Ogilvie has left?
“The assistant coaches will have to step up and assume a little more responsibility until a successor is named,” Smercansky wrote. “We had been working on the schedules for 2012 and 2013. We have to move quickly as time is not on our side, but take enough time to make a good decision. We will look at the interest from inside first and foremost. We have quality coaches on staff that could all be successful head coaches now or in the future.”
Smercansky went on to express his gratitude towards Ogilvie.
“I wish him only the best and want to thank him for restoring the Boardman Spartans football program,” he announced.
Restoring programs is something that is not foreign to the former Boardman boss. He led United High School to a 36-24 record over six seasons and turned the once proud Spartans around with 30 wins and two playoff appearances. That is a huge accomplishment considering Boardman was playing in the brutal Federal League while maintaining a devilish Division I schedule. At Lemon Bay, Ogilvie will once again be expected to rebuild a football program. The Sunshine State school has not had a winning season since 2003 and finished 3-8 last season. That record does not scare Ogilvie however.
“It will be a good challenge for me,” the coach explained. “The school hasn’t won in a few seasons so there is nowhere to go but up.”
Lemon Bay is about the same size student wise as Canfield is locally. The football team would be at the Division II level if it played in Ohio. Perhaps Ogilvie’s experience at the Division I level can aid him in retooling things at Lemon Bay. No matter what happens at his new school, Ogilvie will always have a warm place in his heart for this community and he wants everyone in Spartan Nation to know that.
“Boardman is home,” said Ogilvie succinctly. “I grew up here. I ran out on that field. My dad played on that field. I am a Spartan for life.”