Tippecanoe football coach resigns after four seasons

Joel Derge unexpectedly announced his resignation as the Tippecanoe High School head football coach after four seasons on Thursday.

Tipp athletic director J.D. Foust said he recommended Derge be rehired for the position following an end-of-season evaluation that among other things, addressed diversifying the offense.

“We were on the same page,” Foust said on Thursday. “He understood that and agreed as well. I thought everything was right. This was completely his decision. It definitely caught me off guard and surprised me.”

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Previously Tipp’s offensive coordinator, Derge was promoted to succeed Charlie Burgbacher as the Red Devils’ head coach in 2015. He didn’t rule out a return to coaching.

“It’s in my blood. I want to coach again, eventually,” said Derge, at 30 years old among the GWOC’s youngest head coaches. “I love coaching. I love impacting young people. I love using the game of football to teach life lessons.”

It’s at least the fourth resignation by a Greater Western Ohio Conference head football coach following the end of last season. Earlier this week Steve Channell resigned at Miamisburg. Also resigning were Aaron Shaffer (Greenville) and Chris Roark (Fairborn). None of those positions has been filled.

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Tipp was 10-2 in Derge’s debut 2015 season, its last in the Central Buckeye Conference. The Red Devils won a CBC Kenton Trail championship and were knocked out of the Division III football playoffs by Trotwood-Madison in a regional semifinal.

Tipp, along with Stebbins, jumped from the CBC to the GWOC American North for the 2016 season. The Red Devils (7-4) were one of eight GWOC teams that qualified for that postseason. That also would be the last of 12 consecutive playoff teams for Tipp football from 2005-16.

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Tipp was 4-6 in the 2017 season and 5-5 this past season. Tipp was 26-17 overall with Derge as head coach.

“We did good things and we made the playoffs a few times,” Derge said. “I’ve loved every minute at Tipp and I plan to stay at Tipp (as a teacher) and I hope to coach again someday.”

Next season Tipp joins nine current GWOC American North and South teams in a revised Miami Valley League: Butler, Fairborn, Greenville, Piqua, Sidney, Stebbins, Troy, West Carrollton and Xenia.

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Derge’s resignation extends a turnover trend among GWOC football coaches. Since the 2016 season, there have been 12 head coaching changes:

• 2019: Fairborn (Roark resigned), Greenville (Shaffer resigned to become the AD), Miamisburg (Channell resigned) and Tippecanoe (Derge resigned).

• 2018: Butler (John Puckett succeeded Nathan Hyatt) and Lebanon (Matt Hopkins succeeded Shawn Lamb).

• 2017: Centerville (Brent Ullery succeeded Rodney Roberts), Stebbins (Greg Bonifay succeeded Trace Smitherman), West Carrollton (Derek Hauk succeeded Doug Hatcher) and Xenia (Smitherman succeeded Bob DeLong).

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• 2016: Butler (Hyatt succeeded Greg Bush), Fairborn (Roark succeeded Roy Thobe) and Fairmont (Dave Miller succeeded Andy Aracri).

Contact Foust for more information at jfoust@tippcity.k12.oh.us. The deadline for application is Friday, Jan. 18.

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What: Joel Derge resigned as coach.

Best season: 10-2 in 2015, his first.

Last season: 5-5, 2-3 GWOC American North.

Overall record: 26-17 in four seasons.

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