FRANKLIN FURNACE — Ted Newsome got Green’s numbers up, got the Bobcats going in the right direction, and ultimately got the Green and White into territory not seen since 1990.
Now, Newsome —after six seasons as the Bobcats’ head football coach and five years as athletic director —is stepping away from both roles.
In a telephone interview on Tuesday, Newsome discussed his gratitude to Green and officially confirmed his stepping aside.
Newsome will remain as a teacher in the Green Local School District, as an instructor in Special Education.
“This is something I’ve actually been thinking about since the start of last summer. Each year, I take a step back and eventually make decisions about this (returning as Green coach), but this is finally the time to pull the trigger and step away. I’m comfortable with this decision, and I believe we are leaving the program in a good place and have brought it as far along as I think we could,” he said. “I’m extremely proud of what we’ve done in the past six years and I am extremely grateful to Green to have given me the opportunity to coach these young men and play a part in their lives as not only a football coach but also as an athletic director. It’s been a blessing to be a Green Bobcat. I’ve had a wonderful time, but I’m comfortable moving on.”
Newsome — who coached at his alma mater of Portsmouth High School for 14 years and at West for one — admitted guiding Green to greener pastures wasn’t easy.
A small Division VII program, the Bobcats battle low numbers on an annual basis — usually slightly above but sometimes dropping dangerously below 20.
The young Bobcats lost at least seven games in each of Newsome’s first four seasons, and hit the lowest point when they were forced to cancel their 2017 season finale against Oak Hill — due to lack of numbers.
“There were some low points, but there was a lot of good growth from those,” he said.
None more evident than the Bobcats’ comeback campaign of 2018 — when they posted not only a winning record for the first time since 2005, but also qualified for the state playoffs for the first time since 1990.
Green’s turnaround featured an 8-2 regular-season record, and Newsome named as the (Ohio Prep Sports Writers Association) Southeast District’s Division VII Co-Coach of the Year.
Newsome said the program set two key school records that season, allowing only eight points per game through the first nine games while rushing for over 3,000 yards as a team.
“The 2018 team showed just how far the program had come and how many strides had been made. I was proud of what we were able to accomplish that year. We won eight games, were a competitive program and a lot of good things happened,” he said. “It was our first winning record in 13 years and our first playoff appearance since 1990. We got those two monkeys off our backs.”
With the exception of Oak Hill, which moved up to the larger-school Southern Ohio Conference Division II this past season, the Bobcats — under Newsome — also defeated each of the other SOC I squads at least once, starting with upsetting Symmes Valley in 2016 and finally knocking off Notre Dame 28-22 in overtime last year.
The Bobcats bested Oak Hill last in 2006 — after the Oaks endured a winless season the year before.
Newsome also had the honor of being named as the head coach of the small-schools (Division IV-V-VI-VII) South squad for last year’s prestigious Ohio North-South All-Star Football Classic, which is the longest-running high school football all-star game in the entire country.
Among those on his coaching staff as assistants was Gallia Academy head coach Alex Penrod.
Newsome noted the numbers challenge the Bobcats always experience, although actually Green got close to 30 boys out for football prior to the season opener of last year.
The Bobcats’ up-and-down 2019 season sported a final 5-5 mark —the first back-to-back Bobcat seasons in which they went at least .500 since 2005 and 2006.
“We’ve never had a ton of kids, usually around 20. But it’s going to be that way when you coach at a small school like Green. The last couple of years, we were able to get our numbers up to around 25,” said Newsome. “I hope that many kids and a few more can come out for whomever the next coach is.”
As for Newsome, he is just grateful to Green.
“I’ll never forget my time coaching and being AD there,” he said. “We made a lot of progress with the program and I am proud of that.”
Reach Paul Boggs at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1926, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @BoggsSports © 2020 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved