Two coaches who guided their respective programs to a state championship are part of a five-member hall of fame class announced Feb. 13 by the Central District Football Coaches Association.
Former Watterson coach Dan Bjelac and former Columbus Academy coach Jim Collis will be inducted into the CDFCA Hall of Fame on March 11 along with Jeff Arndt, Gerald Cooke and Rich Weiskircher. The five honorees were selected by the CDFCA Hall of Fame committee, which is comprised of eight current coaches in the Central District.
Bjelac served as an assistant at Watterson for 15 seasons before compiling a 97-63 record with the Eagles over 14 seasons from 2003-16. He is Watterson’s third-winningest coach and led the Eagles to nine playoff appearances, including the 2010 Division III state title, and six CCL championships.
Bjelac also was an assistant at Cincinnati Moeller from 1984-87 and helped the Crusaders win the Division I state title in 1985.
Collis had two tenures at Academy totaling 14 seasons in which he compiled an 83-65 record. During his first tenure from 1996-2005, he led the Vikings to a 63-47 mark with five playoff berths, including the 2003 Division V state title. He coached Academy again from 2011-14, going 20-18.
Weiskircher coached Marysville from 1987-2006, compiling a 121-80 record with five playoff appearances in 20 seasons. The Monarchs reached state semifinals in 1991 and 2000.
Cooke was an assistant at Watkins Memorial for seven seasons before coaching the Warriors from 1986-2001. He went 79-81 in 16 seasons but guided the Warriors to an undefeated regular season in 1989 when he was named Division II district Coach of the Year.
Arndt coached Amanda-Clearcreek for seven seasons from 1974-80 and served as defensive coordinator for the Aces under former coach Ron Hinton from 1983-2007.
Amanda-Clearcreek won Division V state titles in 1999 and 2000 and was state runner-up in 1997, 2003 and ’04.
Arndt coached a total of 50 years before retiring after the 2018 season. He also had served as an assistant at Akron Hoban, Sugarcreek Garaway, Reynoldsburg and Chillicothe.