When Brian Cross became Ready High School football coach in February 2014, he said his plan was to lead the program for a “minimum of five years.”
That’s exactly what the now 67-year-old gave to the Silver Knights before announcing Dec. 10 that he was not coming back as coach.
In five seasons, Cross led the Knights to a 30-22 record that included two playoff appearances.
“We have all the respect in the world for Brian,” athletics director Steve McQuade said. “He was a fantastic coach for us so we’re excited to see where he goes in the future. I don’t think he’s done coaching.
“We’ll start the application process (soon) and hopefully by the end of January we’ll have somebody picked out.”
Ready didn’t make the playoffs in Cross’ first two seasons but went 8-4 and made it to a Division VI, Region 23 semifinal in 2016. The Knights then finished 7-4 in 2017, losing to eventual Division V state champion Wheelersburg 34-0 in the first round of the Region 19 playoffs.
The Knights went 4-6 this fall while going 1-6 against teams that made the playoffs.
After Ready struggled for decades to find opponents to schedule because it was a part of the two-team CCL-Gold Division along with Hartley, Cross was among those who helped lead the effort to have the program become an auxiliary member of the MSL-Ohio in 2017. The Knights went 4-2 against the teams in that league in 2017 and 3-3 against MSL-Ohio opponents this fall.
“We’re going to be an affiliate for another two years, so we won’t be officially in the league or get league awards,” McQuade said. “We’ll probably talk after each season and evaluate where we’re at to see if we want to stay as an affiliate in football. The MSL has been really good to us and it makes scheduling better for us, and they’ve enjoyed having us in the league as well.”
Cross has been a head coach for 37 seasons and is 248-146 overall.
A 1970 Warren Harding graduate, he coached Andover Pymatuning Valley to a 15-13 record from 1982-84, Eastmoor to a 15-5 mark in 1985-86 and Grove City to a 114-55 record from 1987-2002.
Cross was Canton McKinley’s coach from 2003-07, posting a 41-21 mark that included a Division I state runner-up finish in 2004.
He then was the first coach for Olentangy Orange, posting a 33-30 record from 2008-13 that included two playoff appearances.
“I wouldn’t mind (hiring) a Ready type of guy, not necessarily an alum, but someone who understands our feeder system and who will just try to get kids excited for the program,” McQuade said. “With competitive balance, I don’t see us moving (out of Division V). We just want to see somebody that has a passion in the weight room and a passion that Ready has always seen under Brian. Numbers are down across the board in Ohio with participation, so we’re hoping to get our participation numbers back into the 50s.”
Ready went a combined 19-5 under Joel Cutler in 2012 and 2013, including going 12-2 and reaching a Division VI state semifinal in his second season.
Cutler spent the last five seasons as coach at Upper Arlington, but is not returning to that post.