As the athletics director at Hamilton Township, Dave Lewis watched Steve Evans, who had only two years as an assistant under his belt, transform the football team from a perennial loser into a playoff team.

Since making the playoffs in 2001, the Reynoldsburg High School football team has struggled mostly. The Raiders went 6-4 in 2005, but more often than not over that last six years they have been relegated to homecoming fodder.

After reviewing several applications last winter, Lewis contacted Evans, who had turned around the Teays Valley program, and asked if he wouldn't mind applying for the Reynoldsburg coaching job. Liking the thought of moving up to a Division I school, Evans agreed.

Last March the school board made his hiring official, and now Lewis, as well as everyone tied to the program, is hoping he can do what he's done before, turn a down-trodden program into a winner.
He'll get down to the nitty-gritty today, the first day of two-a-day practices.

Q: How is the transition to Reynoldsburg going so far?
A: It's been nice. I've met a lot of nice people. It's been getting nice to know the people that I've gotten to know. There's been some turnover in the administration. I've been able to work with (superintendent Dan Hoffman) with trying to get assistant coaches, and they've been able to work with me. I have not gotten everybody, but I've been able to put a good staff together and they've been working with me on. I've been fortunate to have the strength and conditioning coach, Chris Arp, through this process.

Q: Have you noticed any difference at this point between the smaller schools you've coached and Reynoldsburg, a Division I program?
A: One of the big things is the number of assistant coaches I get. The number of players is one thing, but having the number of assistant coaches I get is another thing. Having the ratio as small as we can get has been a good thing, but having to fill that large of a staff has also been interesting.

Q: As for your staff, did you bring anyone over from Teays Valley and has anyone returned from Reynoldsburg's team last year?
A: The guy that was my defensive coordinator for Teays Valley, Brett Murgatroyd, he's going to be my inside linebacker coach. Jeff Arndt, he's going to be my defensive coordinator. He's been the defensive coordinator at Amanda-Clearcreek from the late 1970s to early 1980s and they won two state championships when he was there and were state runner-up there three times. James Yarborough, he was the defensive coordinator at Independence and at Groveport and he's going to be the defensive line coach. I have three guys on the defensive staff that were coordinators. On my offensive staff I retained three from last year - Jason Hayes and Shane Schempt. Shane's going to be my wide receiver coach. Bill Schmitz was the defensive coordinator last year, he's going to be my offensive line coach. And then Mike Techeck, he's coming to us from Beechcroft High School. He was a teammate of mine at Mount Union. He spent a year as a grad assistant at OSU. He was a defensive line coach at Brookhaven when they won the state championship. We've know each other for a long time and he will be our outside linebackers coach. And then my head freshman coach is Buddy White. Buddy was a varsity coach last year, but had some time constraints this year.

Q: What area of Columbus do you live in and are there any plans to move to Reynoldsburg?
A: I live in Amanda, Ohio, and about three months before I got that job my wife and I built a house out there so we don't really have any plans of leaving.

Q: What are some of the things you're looking forward to most about being the head coach at Reynoldsburg?
A: Definitely looking forward to playing on the new turf stadium. We were up there last week and had camp. It's coming along. They have the construction done this week and hopefully they're ready to put the turf down. They're ready to renovate the stadium. I think it's an exciting time. I know there are some people in the community that want a football program they can be proud of. That's something were trying to build on trying to get that tradition back. We want to fill the stands week in and week out.

Q: Reynoldsburg has been a downtrodden program for the last few years. What do you feel will be the keys to running things around?
A: Just the short amount of time that I've been here I can tell they kids are hungry. The biggest thing is getting the kids to believe in themselves. That's going to be the biggest motto, believe. Just getting them to kind of believe in themselves and in each other.

Q: When did you realize that you were going to make a career out of coaching?
A: To be honest, I've know basically since in junior high that I want to be a coach. I've been in athletics all my life and I knew that was something I wanted to go into. As far as the head coach, it happened faster than I dreamed of. After being an assistant coach at Hamilton Township for three seasons I was named coach. We were 2-8 that first season and we hadn't had a winning season in two years. Then we were 8-2 and I was named Coach of the Year for Division III in the state of Ohio. After that year I had the opportunity to be a coach a Pickerington North for two years. After being a head coach and going back and being an assistant coach, I didn't mind it because all the responsibility was off of you, but you don't have the final say so.

Q: What are some things a football coach does that people might not realize come with the job?
A: Once you decide to get into coaching, you become so much of a role model, so much of a father figure. Just the past two or three months I've tried to get equipment ready and have to keep checking on it and checking on the coaching staff. I'm really looking forward to starting the two-a-days. You have to be a manager and you're worrying about the kids' grades and their behavior in school. We want these kids to know they're football players all year around. Whether they like it or not, they're going to be held to a higher standard all year around.

Q: What do you believe is the most difficult part of being a football coach?
A: Being able to manage your time just simply because there's so much that needs to be done, just managing that time at school and coaching and taking care of your family and my wife just had our third child and taking care of that.