Roosevelt Mukes is the new head football coach at Wayne High School.
The 1985 Wayne graduate says not to make the change at the top of the Warriors program about him, though.
“Going to Wayne and being here for 30-some years, I already know what the expectations are,” he said Wednesday after the Huber Heights City School board approved his hiring to replace Jay Minton in a special morning meeting. “I know what people expect from our program. Nobody’s going to put more pressure on us than we will put on ourselves. It’s not about me. It’s about the kids. One thing I’ve always known is tradition doesn’t graduate. That continues. So to hold our young men to a high standard, to want them to be student athletes and good citizens, that’s what this is about.”
After accepting a job as a physical education teacher when he was not allowed to return as director of athletics, Minton decided against returning for a 22nd season in charge of the football program, and he endorsed Mukes as his replacement.
“Rosey’s earned that,” Minton said Friday night. “He was there before I got there, and now he’s there after. He’s earned that. He was a great player there and went off to college and represented Wayne well, and he’s given back to Wayne and the Huber and to these kids, so he’s really earned that opportunity. I’m sure he’ll do great things with it.”
While Minton was a fixture on the Warriors sideline for more than two decades, Mukes has been there even longer.
The 1985 Wayne grad wore the Red and Black before playing at the University of Cincinnati, and he returned to coach in the middle school in 1991 and has been part of the program ever since.
“He is a well-respected member of our community that has been coaching and teaching in the district for more than 25 years,” Huber Heights City Schools said in a statement issued to the Dayton Daily News. “HHCS is excited to see Roosevelt help our student-athletes be successful on and off the field. We appreciate Jay Minton for all the years of service he has given to the football team and athletic program.”
While he would have preferred to become head coach under different circumstances, Mukes said he is grateful for the opportunity.
“It’s truly humbling,” he said. “I was talking to my wife about it, and it’s something I had looked forward to but under different circumstances. At the same time, it’s a blessing and something I look forward to.”
Minton replaced longtime Warriors coach Mike Schneider in 1998 and took the Warriors to the first of four state title game appearances a year later.
Although they lost all four, they were perennial playoff participants and went 187-58-1 under Minton while also putting a dent in the dominance Cincinnati Division I teams enjoyed over squads from the Dayton area.
It’s a tradition of excellence Mukes, who teaches sixth grade at Wright Brothers Elementary, has every intention of continuing with the support of his wife, Camille, and son, R.J., who will be a freshman this fall.
“First of all, we’ve been fortunate enough and blessed to have some great players, and then coach did a great job of just changing our mindset about competing at that level,” Mukes said. “Those opportunities came along and instead of shying away from them we embraced them. Because I remember those days when Wayne would play Princeton and teams like that in the playoffs and it didn’t go so well. It was something where we just looked forward to the challenge of taking the next step and we want to continue to do that.”
The Warriors will continue to run a version of the spread offense while the defensive front is to be determined by Mukes and a coaching staff that will include George Amburgey, Andre Cokes, Alex Earley, Guy Victoria and James Williams.
“We have some great guys in place and they’ll do an excellent job with whatever we decided to go with,” he said.
A search to replace Minton as director of athletics is ongoing.
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