Jessie Hubbard admitted he wasn’t quite sure what to expect when he accepted the job as New Miami High School’s head football coach.
The first couple months have been extremely positive for Hubbard, a 1989 Edgewood graduate who lives in Trenton.
“I can’t complain one bit,” he said. “The kids have been nothing but respectful. Everything is yes sir, no sir. It’s been open arms since Day 1.
PREP FOOTBALL COVERAGE
“New Miami kids need something. I’m trying to change the whole culture. I’ve redone the whole weight room. I’ve redone the entire locker room. I’m just trying to give the kids kind of a fresh outlook.”
Hubbard, 47, likes the attitude he’s seeing in the weight room and the fact that he’s expecting a senior class of nearly a dozen players, a big number for a Division VII program that’s been plagued by small rosters for years.
“All those seniors are contributors, and they’ve been in the weight room religiously,” Hubbard said. “We’re looking to be in the low 30s overall, which is about 10 more than last year. We combed the hallways a little bit talking to kids.”
Hubbard has replaced John Singleton, who decided to step down after four years at the New Miami helm. His teams were 13-26 (7-22 over the past three seasons).
Hubbard’s father Walt is a member of the New Miami Athletic Hall of Fame. Local coaching legend Ben Hubbard is Jessie’s uncle and plans to be an assistant coach in the upcoming season.
“Jessie has the pedigree and the background, and we’re backing him,” New Miami athletic director Eric Hayes said. “He’s brought that energy in with him and has a vision for changing the culture of the football program.
“He’s been getting the kids into the weight room like I hadn’t seen last year, and the kids are holding each other accountable for getting in there and working. I think accountability is a good word to use because he’s really having these players own their involvement and their input.
“We’re still limited by low numbers … we just don’t have that many students. But I think Jessie’s going to find a way to get the most out of the ones we have and bring a system that maximizes their potential. I’m 100 percent confident he’s going to change things up a little bit.”
This will be Hubbard’s first high school head coaching job. He took last fall off, but coached at Little Miami and Edgewood for six years before that and also has some experience at younger levels.
“My wife said I was a miserable person last year,” Hubbard said. “I didn’t realize I missed it that much, but when you’re out there, you’re helping kids, especially at New Miami. Playing football is a great out for them.”
He was an offensive line coach at Edgewood and worked with multiple positions during his time with Ben Hubbard at Little Miami.
Jessie, who spent four years in the Marine Corps and works as a lieutenant at the Lebanon Correctional Institution, said he’s an old-school football guy like his uncle.
“Absolutely,” Hubbard said. “I’m big on discipline. The Marine Corps taught me that. Discipline and fundamentals — that’s what I preach to the kids. That’s what wins football games.”
Michael Pressler will be the Vikings’ defensive coordinator, and Jessie Hubbard will run the offense. Ben Hubbard will help out with the defense, and Rocky Hubbard and Ken Ritchie will work on the offensive side.
“The minute I got hired, I called Ben,” Jessie said. “He was with Arvie Crouch at Mount Healthy last year, so he was driving all the way to Mount Healthy to help. He’s a lot closer now, so he’s as happy as he can be.”
He said New Miami will combine the Wing-T with a full-house backfield approach, so don’t look for the Vikings to put the ball in the air very much.
“If we throw the ball 10 times this year, we’ll be lucky,” Jessie said. “We’ve got a downhill power run game, kind of like the old Badin offense when Terry Malone was there. I’m a firm believer that you need to eat the clock and keep your defense off the field, especially at a small school when you’re playing ironman football so much. Steve Channell taught me that.
“We’re just preaching to the kids that it’s a new beginning. Under me, they’ve never lost a game. That’s the way we’re looking at it.”
The Vikings will open the season with a Saturday night home game against Gamble Montessori on Aug. 25.
The Jessie Hubbard file
Family: Wife Erin, sons Jessie (21) and Jake (13), daughters Jayna (16) and Jillian (15)
High school: Edgewood, Class of 1989
College: Attended Cincinnati for one year, spent four years in the Marine Corps
Job: Lieutenant at the Lebanon Correctional Institution
High school coaching history: Four years as an assistant at Little Miami, two years as an assistant at Edgewood
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