New Dunbar football coach looks to ‘carry on that tradition and legacy’

Aug 23, 2018
  • By Marc Pendleton
  • Staff Writer

Corey Freed initially was referred to as the “Ohio kid” during his time as an assistant high school football coach at Waco and McGregor public-school powers in Texas. He embraced that label, always figuring he’d return north.

“Football is another level down there,” said Freed, the new head coach at Dunbar. “If you don’t win, the pressure is pretty severe. You might have a for sale sign in your lawn the next day.”

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A Findlay native, this is Freed’s first head coach position. As if that weren’t daunting enough, he’s also charged with redirecting a storied Dayton City League program that has weathered unprecedented upheaval in the last two years.

Freed succeeds Darran Powell, who was not retained. That’s not the only City League football coach switch.

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• Ryan Jackson was promoted to succeed Jim Place, who resigned after three seasons at Ponitz. Jackson previously was a Ponitz assistant under Place and before that a Meadowdale assistant.

• Robert Brown succeeds Len Hampton Jr. at Meadowdale. Hampton also was not renewed. Brown previously was Thurgood Marshall’s head coach until he was bumped by Brian Carter.

The only returning City League head football coaches are Belmont’s Earl White and Carter.

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Former Wilbur Wright Middle School principal Shawna Welch is the new DPS director of athletics. Assistant ADs are Marscilla Packer and Ramon Johnson, who was named this week after serving in the East St. Louis (Ill.) school district.

Corey Freed, in his first season as the new Dunbar High School head football coach, drills the Wolverines in preseason practice on Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2018. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF

And there’s more. The entire Dayton Public Schools probationary period by the Ohio High School Athletic Association was extended through June 2020. That was the result of a blowup between former DPS administrators and the Dunbar football coaching staff during the 2016 season.

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Additionally, Dunbar has been dropped from the boys tournament for the upcoming basketball season for a separate OHSAA bylaw violation and the school has been put on extended OHSAA probation through June 2022.

“When I took the interview, they asked me if I understood the situation I was walking into,” recalled Freed. “I said, absolutely. I said if you don’t like challenges, then athletics and sports aren’t for you in the first place.”

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Thurgood was scheduled to open at Cincinnati Taft on Thursday as part of the Skyline Chili Crosstown Showdown. On Friday, Belmont is at Troy and Ponitz is at Columbus Beechcroft. Meadowdale could not land a Week 1 opponent.

Freed will make his debut with Dunbar against Columbus DeSales at Wayne on Saturday. That game is part of the Backyard Blitz by Flyin’ to the Hoop creator Eric Horstman.

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City League home games will still be played at Welcome Stadium. The Southwest Ohio Public League affiliation with Cincinnati schools has ended, although most of the schools will still play each other.

Dunbar football players participate in a preseason practice on Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2018. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF

Both Belmont (9-1) and Dunbar (8-4) are coming off playoff seasons. Massive Jonathan Allen, 6 feet 6, 315 pounds, anchors the Dunbar offensive line. Ohio State University, Cincinnati and Wisconsin are among the many programs that have offered Allen, who remains verbally uncommitted.

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But Dunbar graduated All-Ohio receiver Joseph Scates, a freshman at Iowa State. Also graduated is running back Tavion Thomas, another All-Ohioan now a freshman at Cincinnati. He decommitted from Oklahoma.

“Dunbar has a history of turning out some serious talent,” Freed said. “We’re just trying to carry on that tradition and legacy. I’ve met everything head on. We’ve taken that same mentality as a football team and we hope that translates to the field.”

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• Schools are reminded to send game results by email only to sports@coxohio.com as soon as possible. Include the final score, where the game was held, significant stats, notable plays and team records.

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