The Centennial High School football team will have its third coach in as many seasons this fall.
Donte Goosby, a 1998 Centennial graduate who played for the Stars and served as the Stars' defensive coordinator the past three seasons, has been hired to replace Mark Shaffer.
"It feels real good to become the head coach at my alma mater because I've been preparing for it for a long time," Goosby said.
"I've been a part of this team for a big part of my life, and I want to do what I can to help our program continue to get better."
Shaffer, 56, recently stepped down as coach of the football and wrestling teams. He had been an assistant football coach for 22 years before taking over the Stars' program last season after longtime coach Pat Sergio retired.
The Stars finished 1-9 overall and 1-6 in the City League-North Division last fall.
"I've been teaching and coaching for 34 years and it's gone by quick because I've enjoyed it, but I've had some health issues with some bad blood clots the past few years, so it's time to go and enjoy my life," Shaffer said. "I've known too many teachers and coaches who have stayed around too long and haven't been able to do some other things that were important to them. I'm looking forward to spending more time with my family, including my grandson.
"My time as the head football coach was real quick and I feel bad about that, but I hope that the new traditions that we started last fall with carry on."
Goosby, who teaches social studies at Centennial, was an assistant defensive coach for the Stars from 2003-05. He served as the defensive line coach for the Northland in 2008 before returning to Centennial in 2009 to become offensive coordinator. He switched to defensive coordinator in 2010.
"Donte's a good coach and the kids like him," Shaffer said.
"I'm excited for him because he's going to do a good job and he'll get this team where it needs to be."
Goosby's goal as coach is to instill a winning culture within the program. Centennial has had just two winning seasons in the past 26 years. The Stars went 54-196 in 25 seasons under Sergio.
"Shaping boys into successful young men through the game of football is our primary goal, but we also want to improve from a win-loss standpoint," Goosby said. "Our expectations are definitely to do better than a 1-9 record. We were disappointed in our record last year, but coach Shaffer put a lot of good things in place in our program, so we're going to build on those things and try to get our kids into a winning mentality."
Shaffer, who will be retiring from teaching health and physical education at the end of the school year, headed the Stars' wrestling program for 23 seasons. Athletics director Jeff Good said he has yet to begin the search for Shaffer's successor.
"We haven't started the process of taking applications for our wrestling coaching position yet," Good said. "Our district will post the job soon and it will stand for about a month before we start the process of reviewing applications and doing interviews."
Boys tennis team seeking City title
Boys tennis coach Barb Stevenson concedes that her team isn't as strong at singles as it was last season when 2012 graduates Sam Zafris and Miles Wilburn and Brazilian exchange student Rafael DeCarvalho were in the lineup.
Centennial, which opened April 8 with a City League match against Linden-McKinley, finished 11-3 overall last season. The Stars went 10-2 in the City to tie Beechcroft and Whetstone for second, behind Columbus West (12-0).
The Stars did not have any Division II district qualifiers last season.
"We're not going to be as strong as we were last year, but I think we'll be fine against most of the teams we play, and we may end up winning the City if we can do a better job of maintaining our focus in our big matches," said Stevenson, who is in her 15th season leading the program.
"So even though we aren't as strong at singles, we may end up having a better season than we did last year. We should be in the top three in the City without a doubt, so it's just a matter of beating the other top teams like Whetstone and West."
Centennial returns four letterwinners in senior Slobodan Zecevic, junior Ben Oatney and sophomores Ben Bendolph and Martin Yzeiri.
Last season, Oatney and Zecevic went 2-1 in doubles in the City tournament, losing to eventual champions Marcos Gasca and Alex Phin of West 6-3, 6-4 in a semifinal.
Also vying for playing time are seniors Cody Jones and Ronald Phillips, junior Amad Hussain and sophomores Weston Clarke and Sean Perry.
"We have some good athletes on our team and I'm optimistic that they will continue to improve and develop into good tennis players," Stevenson said.