Wayne High School grads Donnie Ray Evege (left) and Mike White show their support for Warriors head football coach/AD Jay Minton during an executive school board meeting at Studebaker M.S. on Tuesday, May 7, 2019. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF

Jay Minton on end of football coaching tenure at Wayne: ‘It’s a sad day, but life goes on’

Jay Minton will still work in Huber Heights City Schools, but he will not be the Wayne High School football coach this fall. 

He said he made the latter decision based on the conclusion he would not be able to adequately perform all of a coach’s duties while working in a different building as a physical education teacher at Weisenborn Junior High. 

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“I talked to a ton of college coaches and to high school coaches at our level and they all said the same thing: It’s kind of ridiculous not to be at the high school, especially at a program that caliber,” Minton said Friday night. “If it was one of these deals where the junior high and the high school are side-by-side that might be a little different. At least you’re on the property, ya know?”

Minton feels not being in the same building as his players would prevent him from being able to stay in touch with teachers and receive college coaches on recruiting visits.

Connecting with players would be more difficult, too. 

“If you’re not forming a relationship with them as much as you’re working with them on the field then I don’t think you’re doing the job the right way,” Minton said. 

“So that’s all I told ‘em. My feelings and my research I’ve done says I really need to be at the high school, so could you please see if that can happen. And that couldn’t happen. So I’ll be teaching P.E. at Weisenborn. That’s what they had to offer me.”

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Minton became the coach of the Warriors in 1998 and assumed the duties of athletics director in 2006. 

He resigned the latter position in May after receiving an unfavorable evaluation that cited among other things his lack of fulfilling requirements to obtain a principal licensure, something that had not been addressed in previous evaluations. 

According to Minton’s personnel file, he was put on a performance improvement plan following the 2017-18 school year. His April eval included two of 32 subjects that received the lowest numerical grade of 5 (poor). Superintendent Susan Gunnell signed off on that eval recommending “non-renewal of A.D. position.”

“Basically indirectly it started with the A.D. and not so much that but that I wouldn’t be in the high school,” Minton said. “They did offer me the P.E. position and they told me I could still coach football if I wanted, but I didn’t have to. That wasn’t part of the position they were giving me. 

“They said you can coach if you want to. But I told them to do the job the caliber of Wayne or any major D-I program in the state of Ohio, to be able to compete at that level, there’s so much more to it. It’s not just going out there on Friday night and calling plays. There’s so much more to it off the field as there is on the field. There’s so much more to building a program.

“So my thing was I said, ‘Look, I’m sorry but I feel like I’ve got to be at the high school to do this job properly.’ I wasn’t giving an ultimatum or anything like that. I’m not that guy. I’m not a power play guy. I just stated that what I feel in my experience that’s what needs to happen.” 

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Minton, who went 187-58-1 at Wayne after posting a 53-24 record at Boca Raton, Fla., said he told the players of his decision Friday morning. 

He felt they took it as well as can be expected given the circumstances. 

“I think our kids understand,” he said. “They get what all goes on and how to build a major high school football program. I’ve just been blessed to be around some great young men and some great men. Not just great players but great people. 

“My wife and I live in Huber Heights and I think that’s important to note. When we came up from Boca Raton, people said you can live here, here and here, but I said, ‘No, we’re living in Huber Heights.’ We’re passionate about Huber Heights and want to make a positive impact. But man I’ve had some unbelievable players and families I got to deal with but also some great men. So it’s a sad day, but life goes on.” 

Top seed Hilliard Davidson outlasted the Warriors in a first round game Friday night.

The Warriors have been the most successful Division I program in the Miami Valley over the past two decades, making four state title games but coming up empty each time. 

Numerous Wayne football players received Division I scholarships during Minton’s tenure, including seven who went to Ohio State (Will Allen, John Hollins, Marcus Freeman, Donnie Evege, Braxton Miller, Robert Landers and L’Christian “Blue” Smith) and three who went to Michigan (Terry and Terrence Talbott and Tyree Kinnel). 

Including brothers Greg and Steve Bellisari of Boca Raton, Minton has had a player on the Ohio State roster 25 of the past 26 years. 

Former Warriors Allen, Miller, Larry Turner and Jerel Worthy played for Minton before making it to the NFL. 

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His successor has not officially been named, but he said he expects Roosevelt Mukes to serve as interim head coach this fall. 

Mukes, who played at Wayne and then the University of Cincinnati after graduating in 1985, was among a handful of high school and middle school assistant football coaches listed for approval by the school board on Thursday night. 

“Rosey’s earned that,” Minton said. “He was there before I got there and now he’s there after I got there. He’s earned that. He was a great player there and went off to college and represented Wayne well and he’s given back to Wayne and to Huber and to these kids, so he’s really earned that opportunity. I’m sure he’ll do great things with it.”

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And what about Minton. Will he coach again? 

He didn’t rule it out. 

“I mean, I don’t know,” he said. “If anybody knows me, they know my faith is strong. I put that faith in God and all that.

“I just firmly believe He’ll lead me where I’m supposed to go and put me where I’m supposed to serve. People don’t understand. Coaching is a service if you do it right. It’s a service to young people and the communities and the families and the players you coach. It’s a service. Where am I gonna serve next? That’s in God’s hands. I put that totally in God’s hands, and it’s up to me to stay out of the way.”

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