February 1, 2013
LIMA – The chance to coach at the school he played for has helped Lima Senior attract Mike Fell, one of the most successful coaches in the area the last two decades, to lead its struggling football program.
Fell will be named Lima Senior’s coach at a special Lima City Board of Education meeting this afternoon. The school invited residents to a special board meeting at 3:30 p.m. today in Lima Senior's gymnasium to hire the football coach and athletic director.
The hiring was confirmed to The Lima News by two sources close to Fell. He interviewed only a few days ago and Lima Senior did not hesitate when he expressed interest in the job.
Ada has gone to the playoffs seven years in a row and before that Fell had three Columbus Grove teams which reached the playoffs.
His overall record at Ada, Columbus Grove and Celina is 169-83 in 23 seasons, including a 10-2 season last fall.
Four of his Ada teams won 10 games or more. The Bulldogs’ 2007 team reached the state semifinals, where it was edged 41-38 by Hopewell-Loudon. The 2008, 2009 and 2010 teams got to the regional championship game.
Fell, a 1979 Lima Senior graduate, played quarterback for the Spartans for coach Barry Blackstone. He is an Ohio University graduate.
He began his coaching career as an assistant football coach at Lima Senior when Leonard Rush was the Spartans’ head coach.
Lima Senior has not had a winning season since 2000 and has won only 20 games in the last 12 years.
The Spartans are coming off the worst season in school history when they went 0-10 last fall and play in one of the toughest football leagues in the state, the Three Rivers Athletic Conference.
Brett Lee’s coaching contract was not renewed after Lima Senior won one game in his two seasons as head coach. The last Spartans coach to post a winning season record was Rush in 2000, four years after he led Lima Senior to the Division I state championship.
Since Rush left after the 2000 season, Lima Senior has had five coaches — Matt Kemper for two seasons, Bob Wolfe for one season, Rick Vaughn for three seasons, Darnell Collins for four seasons and Lee.
So, attracting a coach with Fell’s record is an accomplishment beyond what most people might have expected Lima Senior to be able to do.
Lima Senior also will hire an athletic director at today’s meeting to replace the retiring Jim Offenbaker.