Scott Wetzel still remembers how his wife and children reacted in December 2008 when he resigned after 11 successful years as football coach at Big Walnut High School to be more of a family man.
“They were mad,” said Wetzel, who compiled a 100-27 record with the Golden Eagles, guiding them to the Division III state championship in 2007 as well as six OCC-Capital Division titles. “My son (Ethan) was playing college football (at Ashland University) and my daughter (Emilie) was playing high-school volleyball. I had missed a lot of things.
“But they know coaching is what I do.”
His family was ecstatic, then, at the announcement Jan. 6 that Wetzel is the new coach at Westerville North.
“They’re waiting for Westerville North T-shirts right now,” Wetzel said, laughing. “I’m rejuvenated now, and I’m excited for this opportunity. North has struggled, but I think they’re a diamond in the rough. I’ve heard people say you can’t win there, but I’ve heard that before.
“All kids are hungry to win.”
Wetzel, 51, replaces Rodger Elander, who resigned in November after going 5-35 in four seasons.
The Warriors were 0-10 overall and 0-7 in the OCC-Cardinal this past season.
Wetzel has a career record of 131-46, including a stint at Buckeye Valley from 1992-96 in which the Barons went 31-19 and won four league championships.
Wetzel was an assistant coach at Dublin Scioto in 1997 before arriving at Big Walnut. He came out of retirement in 2010 and spent the past six seasons as an assistant under Joe Weaver, who had been one of Wetzel’s assistants.
“Scott’s passion for young people, coupled with his experience and commitment to excellence, are second to none and I am excited about what coach Wetzel will bring to the Westerville North Warrior football program,” North principal Kurt Yancey said in a press release.
North has not had a winning season since 2004, when it went 6-4. The Warriors went 5-5 in 2005 and have finished with a losing record each of the past 10 seasons.
Among North’s projected returnees are sophomore quarterback Julian Malone, who completed 80 of 177 passes for 770 yards with three touchdowns and five interceptions last fall. He also rushed for 525 yards and six touchdowns on 113 carries.
Other expected returnees include junior wide receivers/defensive backs Brice Beverly and Cameron Volkert and junior two-way linemen Derek Downs and Mason Hay.
North will be leaving the OCC-Cardinal after this school year to join the new OCC-Buckeye along with Olentangy, Olentangy Liberty, Olentangy Orange, Westerville Central and Westerville South.
“I’m a multi-formation guy (offensively),” said Wetzel, a health and physical education teacher at Big Walnut who plans to teach there for at least one more year. “I’ll run the football, but if we can throw, we will. I’m a believer in playing to the talents of my players.”