Randy Baughman is the dean of football coaches in Licking County and is in his 26th season at Licking Valley High School.

With a 4-1 start this year, his Panthers are taking aim at a fourth consecutive playoff appearance, eighth this decade and 12th overall. His record at Licking Valley is 227-70-1, which includes a 44-game regular-season winning streak that ended in 2003. The Panthers are 92-17 since the start of the 2000 season and finished as state runners-up in 2001 (Division IV) and 2007 (Division III). They have won 27 consecutive games in MSL-Ohio Division play and are three-time outright champions.

A Hanover native, he also was coach for one season at what is now known as Gnadenhutten Indian Valley, finishing 6-4 before the call came that brought him home again to coach at his alma mater. Success is the defining theme of his tenure at Licking Valley, where his Friday nights are spent patrolling the sidelines on a field named after him.

Q: Can you tell us about growing up in the valley and about your education?
A: After graduating here, I went to West Liberty (W.Va.) State College outside Wheeling. I studied social studies. I played football, basketball and some baseball when I was a student here, and then I taught social studies until I became the athletics director here 12 years ago.

Q: What positions did you play in football and basketball?
A: I was a quarterback and a point guard.

Q: Who were some of your early coaching influences?
A: There's (the late) John Krichbaum, who was the football coach here when I played, and Dick Torbert, who was the basketball coach and athletics director. Our gym is named after him. Another guy was Bob McCutcheon, who was the (football) coach at Indian Valley North near New Philadelphia. That school is closed now and it's become a single-school district. I was an assistant under him for six years when I first started coaching. I learned a lot from him and we're still doing a lot of things here that I learned from him, like running the 'I' formation on offense and even some of the terminology.

Q: Tell us a little about your coaching style. Are you a delegator of responsibility?
A: No, one of my weaknesses is probably that I like to keep control over a lot of stuff, although I think I've adapted some over the years. On game nights, I let (defensive coordinator Tim German) have great control over what we're doing. It used to be I'd be yelling one thing and he'd be yelling another, but I think now we've got a system that's less confusing for the kids.

Q: How much credit do you give your staff for the success Licking Valley's enjoyed?
A: My first 10 or 12 years here we had the same group in place. When a lot of them moved on I'm fortunate that we came up with another group that's been here with me now for anywhere from eight to 15 years. That stability has helped. I don't have to keep coaching new coaches.

Q: Only one of your children, son T.J., has gone into coaching. Can you tell us about him and the rest of your family?
A: He's one of our assistant freshman coaches and he's also our video technician. My wife, Kathy, and I have been married 17 years. We're kind of like the Brady bunch in that we both have three children from previous marriages. They're all adults now and we have four grandchildren. Kathy has always been real supportive of what I'm doing. She's kind of like an assistant AD.

Q: At age 55 now and with such a hectic schedule at school, is exercise a part of your daily routine in trying to keep up with everything?
A: Well, I probably don't do as much as I should. Other than walking, it's difficult to keep a regular schedule. I really don't have anything structured. I know the winter months is when I need to do more.

Q: How long will you keep going and could you envision yourself coaching anyplace else?
A: That would certainly be an adjustment, but I haven't set any time frame yet. I think my wife is worried about me retiring. I'll probably drive her nuts. As far as being athletics director, I think I have maybe two more years. As for coaching, well, I still enjoy it. If a new AD wants me to stay, I'll stay. I think I'll know when it's time."

Q: What advice do you have for the younger coaches out there?
A: If you feel you can help the kids, stay with it. We need you. It's not always easy and there's a high level of commitment needed, but it can be very rewarding.