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Schumacher takes over Rockets, Ohio in OVAC game

April 24, 2012
Weirton Daily Times

BOWERSTON - History will be made in the 65th-annual Rudy Mumley Ohio Valley Athletic Conference All-Star Charity Football Classic.

For the first time, the head coach of one of the teams will be making his overall head coaching debut.

Monroe Central graduate Eric Schumacher, who is currently the Rockets' athletic diretor, was hired Thursday at the Conotton Valley school board meeting to take over the reins of the Rockets' program from Mike Bigler, who resigned due to a conflict with a new job.

Along with taking over the Rockets' program, which is about to have its fifth coach in as many years, Schumacher will also serve as the Ohio head coach for the game, which is slated for July 29 at Wheeling Island Stadium.

OVAC Executive Secretary Tom Rataiczak believes this is the first time a coach had accepted the position, chosen his team and then relinquished the post.

"When Coach Bigler submitted his letter of resignation, he informed our principal, Mr. (Ryan) Caldwell, that he wouldn't be able to coach the OVAC game also," Schumacher said.

Caldwell immediately approached Schumacher, who had served as the defensive coordinator with the Rockets and spent six years as an assistant at Coshocton before moving to Bowerstown this year.

"When Mr. Caldwell talked to me about the job, he also talked to me about doing the OVAC game," Schumacher said. "He told me it would be something for me to build on and a great way to get Conotton Valley's name out there. I consider it an honor and privlege to coach in such a wonderful event."

Schumacher, who will turn 27 on the Tuesday (July 24) of all-star week, played football for one season under Jay Circosta, but knee injuries derailed his prep career. He was a standout baseball player for the Seminoles and eventually played four seasons at OU-Zanesville where he earned his degree in middle childhood education with a specialty in math and science.

Since he was one of Bigler's top aides, Schumacher had a hand in the selection of Ohio players, who will make their way to Bethany College for training camp on July 22.

"I'm definitely not out of the loop in terms of our roster," Schumacher said. "I've attended all of the meetings with Mike, so I know what's going on. I really don't think it will be that big of a difference with me stepping into the job."

Along with his duties as A.D., math teacher and now football coach, Schumacher is working vigorously to assemble a coaching staff for the OVAC game and his Rockets' squad.

He's got OVAC commitments from Meadowbrook head coach Jesse Wells and Dover graduate Matt Reese, who played at Mount Union with Wells.

"I'm still trying to find a couple of more coaches to sprinkle in," Schumacher said.

"When Mike and I originally did the coaching roster, we had several Conotton Valley people, who we thought would be able to do it, but we've since found out they won't be able to."

Though Conotton Valley is in just its first school year as a full-fledged OVAC member, Schumacher has grown up around the OVAC game and realizes how seriously winning and losing is taken between the two states.

"It's one of those events you grow up watching and always dream to be a part of," Schumacher said. "Being a part of it as a head coach is a thrill for me and one I didn't forsee coming. But, I am certainly going to do my part to make it enjoyable for our players and coaches."

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