The Wheelersburg boys soccer program found itself in an unfamiliar place this summer — in need of a head coach.
Fortunately for the Pirates, they only had to travel six miles down the road to hire former New Boston head coach Jon Estep.
Estep will replace Paul Boll, who announced he was walking away from the game after 39 seasons and 400 wins in his back pocket. Boll was with the program since its inception.
“The consistency that he’s had over the years with the program and the winning, and the traditions that they’ve set, there are high expectations when you come in here,” Estep said. “I look forward to the challenge.”
While he respects the tradition and the culture, Estep acknowledged that he isn’t going to try to be a reincarnation of the veteran coach.
“With any new coach that comes in, there is definitely a culture change,” Estep said. “Coach Boll had his way on how he went about things and I have my ways on how I’ve went about things the last 12 years. We adapt. There are going to be changes I have to make and there are going to be changes these guys have to make.”
Even though he’s confident in his coaching abilities, Estep is excited about the talented athletes that Wheelersburg produces every year.
“One thing I can say is I’m going to have athletes, and anytime you have athletes, you can start to piece together a way of getting things done,” Estep said. “With them, we can start an new era here and hopefully build on some past things, and create a whole bunch of success here in the future.
“You can’t coach talent. You can build on their talents but some of the raw athleticism is something these kids have been blessed with and we look forward to a very exciting year here in our first year.”
Despite the higher expectations and the success of the Pirates’ athletic department, Estep isn’t feeling the added stress to dominate right away.
“I don’t look at it as pressure,” Estep said. “I look at it as I’ve got a good group of coaches to learn from, obviously with my brother (Wheelersburg baseball coach Michael Estep) being one of them. We talk constantly. There’s not a better role model for me than what he is. But also getting to know coach (Rob) Woodward, coach (Steven) Ater — on the boys side of things — and what have they done and what’s worked for them in previous years. How they continue to build on success and how they’ve filled big shoes in their own rights when they stepped into the program. They’ve been very helpful to me.”
Reach Chris Slone at 740-353-3101, ext 1930, or on Twitter @crslone.