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Two and a half months after Oldham County football coach Matt Brown resigned, the school has named his replacement.
Mike Shatzer was announced as the Colonels’ new head coach Tuesday afternoon in a videoconference with the players and coaching staff.
Shatzer comes to Buckner after a year at Park Crossing High School in Montgomery, Ala., where he taught history and helped start a football program at the school, which opened last fall.
He was head coach at Montgomery Catholic in Alabama from 2010-12 and at South Stanly in North Carolina from 2004-06. His career record is 34-32.
“We’re really excited about this hire,” OC athletics director Kevin Combs said. “We were diligent about the coaching search.”
Shatzer takes over a program that went just 2-9 last season, finishing last in Class 6A, District 5. The Colonels haven’t had a winning season since going 7-5 in 2010.
“Oldham County has been successful in a lot of sports,” Shatzer said. “They’ve been successful in wrestling, they’re very successful in basketball, they’ve been successful in baseball. There’s no reason why football can’t follow suit.”
The public will have the chance to meet Shatzer before OC’s boys home basketball game at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 7 against Simon Kenton.
Shatzer has been in contact with some potential assistant coaches but wouldn’t put a timetable on assembling a full coaching staff.
He plans to be present for spring practice, which will begin in March.
"Everything that happened last year is in the past," Shatzer said. "Everything that happened at my old schools is in the past. We can only focus on what we have ahead of us.
"I know there are challenges... But I'm not going to let that deter me and I don't want the kids to be deterred by what's happened in the past. It's a fresh start for everybody."
Shatzer has watched tape of the 2013 Colonels and sees some potential with the team's returning players, he said.
The team lost several starters, notably kicker Sean Nuernberger, a Courier-Journal first-team all-state selection who will play on scholarship for Ohio State this fall.
Notable returning players include lineman Jonathon Queenan, defensive back Allan Farrow and quarterbacks Jeremiah Bosco and James Harding.
"I like what I see," Shatzer said. "There's a lot of young talent. There are a lot of rising juniors and rising seniors that can play football. We just have to put them in the best scheme that fits their skills."
The offensive and defensive systems will be molded around OC's roster, Shatzer said.
"I have some ideas what I'd like to do, but you've got to have the personnel to do that," Shatzer said.
Shatzer is a native of Chambersburg, Pa., a town in the south-central region of the state. He holds a bachelor's of science in education from Millersville University in Lancaster, Pa.
He's coached football and taught for the last 18 years.
Shatzer inherited a rebuilding project when he took over South Stanly in the mid-2000's. He led the Rebel Bulls to the third round of the Class 1A playoffs two straight years.
He left South Stanly to become offensive coordinator/offensive line coach at Northwest Cabarrus High School in Concord, N.C. While there the school went 23-14 and made three straight playoff appearances.
He inherited another rebuilding job when he moved to Alabama to take over at Montgomery Catholic in 2010. He went 8-22 and didn't make any playoff appearances before being released as head coach in 2012.
He was at Park Crossing for the 2013 season. The new school didn't field a varsity team.
"I've gone into situations and made the programs better," Shatzer said.
Shatzer and his wife, Amy, have been married for 12 years. They have two sons, Luke, 8, and Grant, 6. Amy is a Cincinnati native, which was a motivating factor in Shatzer making the move, he said.
It wasn't that long ago that OC had football success, going 9-3 in 2008 and making the third round of the Class 5A playoffs in 2009.
Shatzer said he'll work to get the Colonels' program back at a winning level.
"We're going to evaluate the program from top to bottom," Shatzer said. "We're going to fix what needs to be fixed, we're going to keep what works together and we're just going to build.
"It's going to be an ongoing process. It's not a one year thing, it's not a 10 year thing. It's just going to be an ongoing process."