Cotter embarks on 'dream' job
Morgan Cotter's dream is now a reality.
A 1995 Marysville High School graduate, Cotter, 35, is returning to his alma mater to coach the football team. He replaces Jeff Gafford, who resigned Dec. 19 after five seasons with the Monarchs.
"It was definitely one of those goals when I knew coaching was the direction I wanted to go," Cotter said of coaching at Marysville. "I definitely wanted to be the head coach at Marysville. It's always been kind of a dream for me, a lasting goal."
The 21st coach in the history of the program, Cotter coached Fairbanks the past five seasons, posting a 38-12 record. In 2007, he led the Panthers to a Northwest Central Conference title and a Division V playoff berth.
Cotter was an assistant coach at Marysville from 2003-06 under Rich Weiskircher after serving as an assistant at North Union from 2000-02.
Marysville was 26-25 under Gafford. Last season, the Monarchs finished 6-4 overall and 4-3 in the OCC-Cardinal Division.
Marysville qualified for the Division I, Region 3 playoffs in 2008, losing to Upper Arlington 28-16 in the first round to finish 7-4. In 2007, the Monarchs shared the OCC-Central title with Pickerington North at 4-1.
"We're going to build on what coach Gafford did," Cotter said. "Not knowing him real well and just being around him through the coaching community, he's done a great job of building fundamentals. Our kids really know how to work in the weight room, they have great fundamentals in the weight room and their attention to detail is outstanding. They really want to know the whys and the hows of what we're doing. I know those are things coach Gafford built, so we're just going to continue to build on those things and even take them a little further."
Cotter has been impressed with the players' work ethic this offseason.
"The real nice thing is you don't have to worry about them working hard," he said. "They just naturally want to work hard and do things right. That's really the upside."
This fall, Marysville will compete in the realigned OCC-Central with Central Crossing, Dublin Coffman, Hilliard Davidson, Olentangy Liberty, Thomas Worthington, Upper Arlington and Westland.
"Morgan has the experience and knowledge of the game necessary to make Marysville football a competitive program, which will be crucial as Marysville transitions into a new and arguably more challenging division this fall," athletics director Joe Bline said.
During his prep career, Cotter excelled at football, wrestling and baseball, earning all-state recognition in football and wrestling.
He was a center and linebacker for the football team and went on to play middle linebacker at Kent State University.
Last year, Cotter was inducted into Marysville's athletic hall of fame.
"That was real exciting," he said. "When you're in high school, those aren't things that you're really thinking about. You're always thinking about what can I do for the team and things like that."