With its history and tradition, the Urbana High School football program always seemed like a good destination to Carleton Cotner.
Now Cotner hopes it’s his final stop.
“Being in the league with them and knowing the football tradition they have there, the way the town is passionate about football, I’ve always been attracted to the program,” said Cotner, who was approved as head coach during the Urbana Board of Education meeting on Tuesday night. “I always thought it would be a good opportunity if it opened up.”
Cotner replaces Jon Daniels, who finished 4-16 in two seasons at Urbana.
Cotner spent the last three seasons as an assistant at Bellefontaine. Prior to that he served as head coach at Benjamin Logan from 2007-13, going 26-44. He was also head coach at Fairbanks and coached 10 seasons as an assistant at the collegiate level.
Cotner takes over an Urbana program that went 2-8 each of the past two seasons. Urbana was 7-3 and won the Central Buckeye Conference Mad River Division in 2014.
“The (player) numbers need to be built back up and that’s going to be a major emphasis for us,” Cotner said. “But being around the kids I feel like we have a lot of speed. We don’t have a lot of size. … I think one of the things about Urbana and one of the things they’ve been known for for a lot of years, they’re a team that offensively gets off the ball and runs downhill. We need to be able to do that and build that toughness.”
Cotner, 48, will teach social studies at Urbana. He is the third Hillclimbers coach in five seasons following Daniels and Nick Marino, who left to become the head coach at Anna.
“You gotta tell the kids you’re there long term and go to work every day,” Cotner said of his commitment to the program. “Nothing is going to alleviate those fears than action. From my standpoint, I’m looking for this to being the last head coaching job I’ll have. I’d definitely like to finish my career there.”