Mike Owens was approved by the school board last Monday to be the next coach of the Westerville North High School football program.

Mike Owens was approved by the school board last Monday to be the next coach of the Westerville North High School football program.

Owens will take over for Chad Williams, who was 24-40 in six seasons at North, including 2-8 last season. For the time being he will not take a teaching position.

"I liked having the opportunity to build from the ground up and to see all three levels succeed," Owens said. "My goal right now is just to start building relationships with the players, staff and the community.

"Mike was enthusiastic in his approach to football and the needs of our program," athletics director Jeff Will said. "He was excited to work on bringing our numbers up and to carry on the Warrior tradition."

Owens was an assistant the last two seasons at Hilliard Darby and was the offensive coordinator last year. In his first year with Darby, the Panthers finished 11-2, won their first OCC title and earned their first playoff appearance.

Owens was the head coach at Mechanicsburg for one season, 2006. He led the team to an 11-2 record, a league title and a Division VI regional final. He was unable to remain with Mechanicsburg because his teaching position was eliminated.

Owens was an assistant at Cincinnati Elder from 2003-05. He coached the defensive line and running backs as Elder won the Division I state title in 2003.

He also has coaching experience at Cincinnati Finneytown and is a 1988 graduate of Mount St. Joseph College in Cincinnati.

The last time North had a winning season was in 2004, when the Warriors finished 6-4.

Owens must deal with the loss of 18 seniors, including key starters at quarterback, running back, along the offensive and defensive lines, at linebacker and defensive back. North has seen its average roster size fall to two-thirds that of other Division I schools in the area in the past five years.

"The first thing we need to do is get the kids out. We need to get them our and keep them out," Owens said. "I'm meeting with the players Friday and after that I'm writing a letter to the student body encouraging them to come and play football.

"We need to start winning some small victories now. Our goals would be, we want to win on Friday nights and after that of course we want to win league titles, make it to the playoffs and as is with every other coach's goal, hopefully win a state championship."