RV Crouch said his experience as a coach at Mount Healthy gave him the confidence he needed to take over a program like the Hamilton High School football team. He’s pleased with the progress so far and looks forward to the next step in his plan to turn things around when official practice begins Monday.
Hamilton hired Crouch, a former Big Blue assistant before spending the last 13 years at Mount Healthy, as his head coach in February, and he jumped at the chance to try to bring some success to a program that has a winning record. 11 seasons
Crouch served as an assistant at Hamilton from 1993 to 2008, before becoming the head coach at Mount Healthy in 2009, and was part of Big Blue’s only two Greater Miami Conference championships in 1994 and 1997 and five seasons. Consecutive winners during that period. . During his tenure at Mount Healthy, Crouch went 95-48 overall, led the Division III Owls to four undefeated conference championships and won a total of seven conference titles in his 13 seasons there.
“I’ve grown as a coach here,” Crouch said. “I only trained for four or five years before taking the job in Hamilton. … I know the people and kids we have in Hamilton, and it was very appealing to me to come back and try to turn it around and make everybody proud.
“I think being at Mount Healthy helped my confidence, because I didn’t know how well coached I was before,” he added. “He’s helped prove that the things I believe in as a coach are right. I’ve trained with some good ‘old-time coaches’ who have taught me ‘good style’ and put my own spin on it, and I think that will take us to the top.”
Crouch called the opportunity to return to Hamilton a “blessing” to “try to build football in Hamilton again.”
His first task was to hire staff and then set new standards to meet the culture Crouch wanted to instill at the show. To help with this, he brought everyone except his Mount Healthy assistant (none wanting to leave his alma mater) and was happy to keep JD. Vonderhide and Mike Doll from former coach Nat Mahon’s staff.
“I’m going to be myself,” Crouch said. “No job, no place is going to change the way I coach. We’ve built a culture of what we believe, how we operate, and kids working hard and engaging. I think they’ll say it’s the hardest job they’ve ever had. . We’ve changed the culture of the weight room, the culture of practice, and once we really start, we’ll change the culture of hitting.”
Crouch said the key was to create more rigor.
“I don’t want to be negative, but some of the things I’ve dealt with have been amazing,” Crouch said. “We’re going to be known as a blue-collar, hard-working, hitter program.”
Defensive line coach Joe Speziel and defensive coordinator Matt Hoover really helped implement the weight-training program, and Crouch said he was pleased with how the kids responded to what they were asked to do.
Still, he thinks the players will be surprised in the first practice.
“We’re going to be physical on offense and defense,” Crouch said. “I’m not sure if they’ll get used to that physical level. If we can convince the kids that they have adapted in more ways than one by starting the program. If they fit like that in the weight room, we’ll be fine. Children are great children.”
Hamilton will run a 3-3 stack defense and use a spread offense that includes plenty of running plays, despite losing 1,000-yard rusher Caleb Johnson to graduation. Big Blue has open competition at quarterback, Crouch said, and looks to the likes of Semaj Aldridge, Donovan Smiley and Aliza Thompson to step up in the backfield behind the lead offensive linemen with returnees. Tylor Camden and Caden Bennett.
Defensively, Big Blue brings more experience with the return of linebackers Lanny Ash and second-team All-GMC safety Jaylan Garrett along with linemen Gabe and Trey Verdon. First-team All-GMC selection and outside linebacker/wide receiver Breon Ismail was traded to Princeton.
Hamilton, who opens Aug. 19 against Mahon’s new team at West Clermont, went just 2-7 last year, but Crouch’s expectations are high.
“We don’t think rationally,” Crouch said. “Some people might say, ‘If they go to .500, that would be great,’ but we don’t think that way. We’re going 10-0, we think so. We’re not going to settle for something average for Hamilton, and Kids are embracing it. They want to spin it and make a name for themselves. ento