Pending school board approval, Maurice Douglass will leave the dynasty he built at Trotwood-Madison in hopes of resurrecting the Springfield High School football program.
The Springfield City School District announced on Friday that Douglass will be recommended by Superintendent Dr. David Estrop for hiring as the head football coach during Thursday’s school board meeting.
Speculation had been widespread since the first of the year that the former NFL player would become the Wildcats’ head coach. Twitter chatter indicated he frequently had been at the school the last couple of weeks, huddling with returning players and administration.
School officials would not release its list of candidates or finalists for the position. Douglass said he would comment following the board meeting.
“I feel honored to be recommended by the superintendent,” Douglass said in a release. “I hope to have the opportunity to make a great contribution to the students and community of Springfield.”
Trotwood athletic director Guy Fogle said he’s already started the process of landing a new head coach. Longtime Trotwood assistant and offensive coordinator Jeff Graham has been the Rams’ interim head coach at least twice when Douglass was suspended by the Ohio High School Athletic Association for various infractions.
“It’s a surprise he’s leaving Trotwood, but it’s not a surprise that he’s a wanted entity,” Fogle said. “If you have a productive and successful football program, your coach is going to be sought after every year and that’s been the case since I’ve been here. I’m used to hearing the rumors. In this case, he decided to move on.”
The best Douglass could hope for is reviving the Wildcats program like he did with the Rams. A Trotwood graduate, he landed his first and only high school head position there in 2000. At the time Trotwood was stuck in a long losing streak and many of its best players were transferring elsewhere.
Featuring powerful running games, a stable coaching staff and a pledge to players to get them into college, that quickly changed.
Trotwood has played in four straight state championship games and capped a 15-0 season in 2012 by winning the Division II state title. Those teams were a combined 51-9 and all had at least 12 wins. The first three title games were in D-II. Trotwood was reclassified as D-III this past season.
In contrast, Springfield was 1-9 the last two seasons under head coach Eric Gillespie. Ironically, the Wildcats’ only 2013 win was an eventual forfeit in the opener against Trotwood, which reported to the OHSAA its use of an academically ineligible player.
Gillespie resigned soon after this past season with a combined 2-18 record at Springfield.
Douglass, 49, played collegiately at Kentucky. A defensive back, he played in the NFL from 1986-94 with the Bears and the following two seasons with the Giants.
“Mr. Douglass’ experiences, knowledge and skills are a good match to the traits we are looking for in our new football coach,” Estrop also said in a statement. “He’s a great fit for our team and community. … The enthusiasm Mr. Douglass brings to this opportunity has been evident to everyone involved throughout the interview process. I look forward to presenting my recommendation.”
Douglass is not certified to be a public school teacher in Ohio. Fogle said his position at Trotwood was non-certified and that he mentored at-risk students. Douglass is expected to land a position other than coaching with the Springfield school district.
What: Expected to be named head football coach at Springfield H.S.
Trotwood years: 2000-13.
State title appearances: 2010-13.
State champ: 2012, Division II.
Will succeed: Eric Gillespie