For the first time in its 20-year history, the Olentangy Liberty football program will be seeking a new head coach.
Steve Hale, who went 154-76 at the helm, is stepping down. He led the Patriots to Division I regional championships in 2016, 2017 and 2018. His teams also nabbed regional runner-up honors two of the last three seasons, including last year’s squad, which started 0-3 before closing 8-3 down the stretch.
“Steve has done an extraordinary job as a teacher and head football coach at Liberty for the past 20 years,” OLHS Athletic Director Darin Meeker said. “The positive impact he has had, first and foremost on countless student-athletes and secondly high school football in the state of Ohio, has been incredible.
“He is a man of extremely high character and we were blessed to have him leading our football program since the doors opened. We wish him and his family all the best in retirement.”
The program-defining wins were plentiful, but they aren’t what Hale will remember most. It’s the people.
“I’m just so grateful to be able to work in a school district with such great people in place,” he said. “These kids are my heroes — great kids with great families — and they’re truly just a pleasure to be around.”
Hale said he plans to step down from both coaching and teaching at the end of the school year, but will be looking into a few other opportunities with ties in changing lives. For now, though, he’s just happy for whoever lands the gig next.
“I just think it’s somebody else’s turn to see what kind of pleasure and honor it is to coach at Olentangy Liberty,” Hale said, “and I’m excited for whoever that may be.”