It was a banner year for the Lebanon Warriors in 2009 as the team finished 8-2 and laid claim to another GWOC South title. It was bitter sweet though as they just missed out a playoff appearance.
Many of last year's top contributors graduated, leaving head coach Shawn Lamb with plenty of question marks. The coaching veteran appears to be up for the challenge.
We caught up with the Warriors' head man to talk about his program and what lies ahead for the 2010 season, his ninth year at the school.
Q: What does it mean to you being the head coach at Lebanon?
A: Personally, it's a dream come true. Such a rich tradition at Lebanon and looking back at past coaches, each were successful. The expectations are high. We are defending champs and we feel good. It is a pressure position, but most want that; it's been a great five years with more to come!
Q: How would you rate the progress made in the last five years as head coach?
A: Definitely we are exceeding expectations. In five years we've had a 32-18 record and two league championships. We're building from the ground up. Participation continues to build for a stronger program; 400 kids in the youth program. We have great coaches at all levels. Each year we want to get closer to the big boys in Cincinnati.
Q: With a young team this season who do you expect will step up and who should we be looking for?
A: On the defensive side we return a couple; Alex White (senior) and Chris Benton (senior) both linebackers. We call them "head hunters"- they love contact and love to play football. Offensively, all league Nick Stotts (senior), all league receiver Brody Wolf (senior) and Aaron Abbot (junior).
Q: You graduated a great quarterback. After the 7-on-7 workouts do you have a better idea of who will be starting this season?
A: That's yet to be determined. We have found out each participant in 7-on-7 have starting qualities. We will find a quarterback to carry on the tradition. One of our guys will step up and assume the role.
Q: Last season you finished 8-2, do you attribute that success to experience and what will it take to repeat and finish strong?
A: We definitely think our senior class was extremely talented. Had some definite leaders, which comes to success. Our motto is "out work and out play." We want to be aggressive and prove to people we continue to bring talent through the ranks.
Q: Lebanon led the GWOC in receiving and finished fourth in rushing. It is evident that you had a strong offense; how are you able to execute both receiving and rushing so effectively?
A: We were actually number one in total offense in the GWOC. Our philosophy is to put the best player in the best position to be successful. A lot is attributed to the O-line; they work in all areas and don't focus on just one. We try to do both run and pass; if we can do both it causes a lot of problems for defenses. This season we will focus on what this group does well.
Q: When did you know you wanted to be head coach of a football program?
A: When I was eight years old. That was the first year I played football. I loved the game and wanted to be in a leadership position. I was a quarterback through middle school and high school. At an early age it became my goal and now it is a dream come true.
Q: Who has been your biggest influence in coaching?
A: It may sound cliché to say my parents, but they put me in a position here. As for coaching two guys John Aregood (head coach at Franklin High School) and Dave Brausch (former head coach at Lebanon). I was able to take part of both of their philosophies.