By Marc Pendleton
Eric Gillespie has resigned as the head football coach at Springfield High School after two seasons.
A Dayton native, Gillespie told his players after last week’s season-ending 41-6 loss at Centerville that he would resign.
Springfield City Schools Superintendent Dr. David Estrop indicated he would recommend to the board of education at Thursday night’s meeting to accept Gillespie’s resignation.
“To be honest, we had a multitude of off-the-field things that prevent you from winning, just a multitude of them,” Gillespie said. “That was probably the most disappointing part in a lot of ways. We weren’t able to get those things right and do all the things we needed to do to be successful.”
Gillespie also was the head coach at Hamilton High School. He came to Springfield after several seasons at Richmond (Ind.) High School from 2007-11.
Gillespie quickly won over school administration and longtime loyal Wildcats fans with his upbeat enthusiasm and commitment to return winning football to the program. But it didn’t happen.
The Wildcats were 1-9 each of the last two seasons and 0-10 in the Greater Western Ohio Conference Central Division. Their lone win this season was a season-opening forfeit by Trotwood-Madison when the Ohio High School Athletic Association ruled in midseason that the Rams had used an academically ineligible player.
That continued a three-year losing streak by the Wildcats. Springfield was 2-8 in the 2011 season during Adam Taylor’s lone year as head coach. He also resigned.
Springfield’s last winning season was 2010 when the Wildcats went 9-3, two games into the Division I playoffs. Longtime coach Rick Robertson left the following spring and landed the head position at Oakwood.
“Anytime you go winless in anything, it makes for a very long season,” Estrop said. “I’m sure that weighed on Coach Gillespie’s mind. I’m not going to speculate as to why beyond the personal reasons he mentioned.”
Gillespie said he will stay at the school as a special education teacher. He was undecided about pursuing another coaching position. Estrop said the process of landing a new coach will begin immediately and will include community input.
“It was something I wrestled with and came to the conclusion a lot earlier than the end of the season,” Gillespie said. “It’s just one of those things.”