Hahn ‘excited’ for opportunity

By on February 5, 2015

Approved by MC School Board to be the Barons’ new football coach

For the first time in 34 years, the Manheim Central football team will have a new head coach calling the shots.

Long-time Manheim Central assistant Dave Hahn (second from left), shown here with QB Tony Staffieri and recently-retired head coach Mike Williams in the District Three Triple-A playoff quarterfinals last November, has been hired as the Barons’ new head football coach. (Photo by Preston Whitcraft)

Long-time Manheim Central assistant Dave Hahn (second from left), shown here with QB Tony Staffieri and recently-retired head coach Mike Williams in the District Three Triple-A playoff quarterfinals last November, has been hired as the Barons’ new head football coach. (Photo by Preston Whitcraft)

It became official on Monday night when the MC School Board approved Dave Hahn &tstr; a 20-year assistant under recently-retired legend Mike Williams &tstr; for the position by a 5-4 vote.

A product of Johnson City High School (N.Y.), Hahn went on to play football at East Stroudsburg University, where he was the center for QB James Franklin &tstr; currently the head coach at Penn State University &tstr; prior to graduating in the spring of 1995. Since joining Manheim Central’s staff, Hahn has been involved in many different facets in the Barons’ program as an assistant coach, most recently as the offensive line coach. Currently a Manheim Central High School health/physical education teacher, Hahn also coached on the defensive line (specifically defensive tackles) and worked with special teams, in addition to playing a key role in the weight program.

Hahn will be paid $10,989 in his role as Manheim Central’s head coach.

On Tuesday, Lititz Record sports editor Bruce Morgan spoke with Hahn and got his thoughts about taking over at the helm of the Barons’ program. The following is a transcript of their conversation:

Bruce Morgan: What does this mean to you to become the head coach at Manheim Central? What are your emotions about being the head coach for one of the State’s top football programs?

Dave Hahn: It’s very humbling and with that said, I’m also very excited about the opportunity. I don’t take the opportunity lightly &tstr; I know it comes with a lot of responsibility, both on and off the field. I just look forward to the challenge.

BM: Have you heard or been congratulated by coach Franklin about getting the position?

DH: We text back-and-forth a little bit, but I kinda keep that quiet and don’t talk much about that. It’s a friendship that we have that goes back 20, 25 years ago. It’s not like we’re buddy-buddy and I can call him up all the time. He’s at a major institution and has a big job to do. But we do talk.

BM: How would you describe your coaching philosophy?

DH: It’s all about the kids. I wouldn’t say I’m a players’ coach, but then again, I am. Sometimes that’s used as a negative connotation at the upper levels, but I think here, it’s being in tune. You’re in the line of fire with the kids every day, so you have to be with their what they’re going through and what they’re doing and I think that helps you better understand them and relate to them. So I try to use it as part of a way to connect with the kids.

BM: Do you think that’s what makes you best qualified to be the new head coach, or what do you think makes you the best person for the job?

DH: I think I’m prepared for the job, I think I’m ready for the job. I don’t know what makes me more qualified than any other one person or another person. That was for the committee to decide. That wasn’t my decision at all. I just applied for a job that I felt like I was prepared for and was hoping to get.

BM: Could you describe the system that you envision running offensively and defensively? Will it be similar to what Mike ran for all those years?

DH: Yes, I would say it’d be similar. I was heavily involved with it over the last 20 years, so I liked it, I liked what we were doing, I bought in. It’s not something that I’m looking to change. There will be tweaks here and there that we need to make, maybe depending on our kids and what our talents are. Things weren’t broken, so there’s not big changes to come.

BM: Was Mike also the offensive coordinator while he was head coach?

DH: Yes, he had the majority of input, but he always took from the staff, and with me, we always bounced things off of each other and worked well with each other.

BM: Following in the footsteps of coach Williams, how much pressure comes with that?

DH: Throughout, I was told, ‘We’re not asking you to have the same record as coach William’s,’ but I think personally, you kinda put that pressure on yourself. There’s a long, storied tradition here and I don’t want to be the guy to let the team down. So will I put pressure on myself to be successful for the team and for the kids and for the community? Yes. Will everybody else put pressure on there? Well, Manheim enjoys to win, but they also want it done right and have good kids and produce good young men from the program. So I think there’s just as much pressure there as there is to win. So that’s my focus and that’s what I want to do.

BM: What do you feel were some of the biggest things that you’ve learned over the years that you’ll be able to bring with you into the new position?

DH: Wow, there’s a lot. Just the day-to-day tasks that you have to do. I’ve been afforded to be able to do a lot over the 20 years that I’ve been with the program and now you have a little bit more that you have to do in the way of responsibilities. And I think the experience that I’ve had with dealing with some of those things are going to help carry over to the new tasks that I may have to take on and do as well. What I’ve learned through coaching is, I’d like to think that I’m not the same coach I was 20 years ago. As a matter of fact, I don’t think I’m the same coach I was two or three years ago. I’d like to think that I’ve gotten better, I’ve gotten smarter, become wiser with age. I probably handle things differently in my approach with the kids.

BM: What are your goals for the program going forward?

DH: To continue to keep that high standard, to be successful, both on and off the field. Of course, we want to win games, but we also want to teach these kids and have them grow being productive community members and something that the community can be proud of. And I think that’s our biggest goal. I think if we can do those things, the winning will take care of itself. What are we doing off the field to make these boys better and turning these boys into men that can help in our community? That’s the goal because the winning will take care of itself if we can do that.

BM: A lot has been made about the success of the Catholic schools lately. How do you look at that going forward? Can public schools overtake private schools again?

DH: I’d like to think we can. It is what it is and right now we have to deal with it whether we like it or not. I believe with hard work and our kids dedication to the program, we can overcome the challenge. I feel as though we are knocking at that door now. Now we need to go through it.

BM: How difficult was it going up against defensive coordinator John Brubaker for the position?

DH: Not to say it was difficult or it wasn’t difficult … it was difficult because he’s a friend. But it wasn’t really me against John, per se, or I didn’t look at it that way. I looked at it as we were both going for a position that we had goals to get. And I think the program would have been fine with either one. I was just fortunate enough to get the position.

BM: Do you expect him to be back on the staff next fall?

DH: No comment, I do not know.

BM: There’s been indications that coach Williams might remain part of the staff. Has anything been determined there yet and can you talk about what role he might play going forward?

DH: Nothing’s been solidified with our staff at all yet. I have ideas and I’ve talked to some, but I need to talk to staff members that we currently have in the program and then talk to people outside the program and then lean on people that I trust and that I respect in the game that will help me make a good decision based on our kids and our program who should be coaching.

BM: Do you expect that you will have an offensive coordinator or is that a role that you expect to play a big part in?

DH: I kinda expect to take that role on myself, but I would probably handle it very similar to the way Mike did. I may take the role as offensive coordinator, but I would have somebody that works right alongside with me and is able to work together with on that side of the ball.

BM: Have you gotten started on your duties in the new position.

DH: Yes, I started (Monday) night.

BM: What does that involve at this point.

DH: At this point, I’ve got to get different things aligned with different programs that we do during the off-season with our spring flag football league. We have to have a jersey meeting to organize our jerseys for next year. And then different workouts and clinics for the coaches, so all that stuff has kinda started rolling. We’ve got that in motion right now and I just started with that (Monday) night and continued with it today when I had some down time because I do teach. So it was after my teaching day and during my prep times and stuff like that.

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