Mitchell Westcamp admitted always wanting to be head football coach at Groveport Madison, his alma mater, but he also had some second thoughts after Bryan Schoonover resigned in early January.

“When Bryan stepped down, I figured if there was a chance he coached again anywhere, I’d go with him,” Westcamp said. “Bryan actually pushed me the most to do this (apply for the job). I’m a Groveport graduate. I’m a Cruiser. This just ended up being one of those things.”

Westcamp, an assistant coach at Groveport the past 12 seasons, was announced as the Cruisers’ next head coach Feb. 13.

The 1999 Groveport graduate played two seasons of varsity for the Cruisers and was a two-year starter at wide receiver for Wilmington College in the early 2000s. He originally coached wide receivers under former Cruisers coach Tim Brown and Schoonover but switched to working with quarterbacks and running backs when Schoonover installed the wing-T offensive scheme two years ago.

Schoonover resigned Jan. 6 after leading the Cruisers to the best season in program history.

Groveport went 10-3 overall and 4-1 in the OCC-Capital Division to share first place with Canal Winchester and New Albany and was the Division I, Region 3 runner-up. The Cruisers, who won their first league championship since 1982, lost to eventual state champion Pickerington Central 23-7 in the regional final.

Schoonover went 29-44 overall and 13-28 in league play in seven seasons.

“Mitch is a great choice,” athletics director Steve Petros said in a statement. “He has a strong rapport with the students, he’s extremely well-organized and he bleeds red and black. I can’t wait to see what he and his coaching staff accomplish.”

Groveport opens Aug. 28 at home against Canal Winchester and will move to a six-team division with Central Crossing, Lancaster, Newark, Pickerington Central and Reynoldsburg as part of OCC realignment.

Westcamp said he doesn’t anticipate major changes next season, especially on offense.

“I’d be foolish not to keep running (the wing-T),” said Westcamp, referring to the return of running back Emmanuel Anthony and slotbacks Te’Ron Coleman and Jalil Underdown for their senior seasons in the fall. “McGraw and Underdown should end up first and second in career rushing for us. They’re both on the plus side of 2,000 (career) yards rushing.

“I want us to be tough and I want us to be physical. That’s how we’ll win.”

dpurpura@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekDave