LIMA — Scott Palte is back as a head coach.
The 1994 Columbus Grove graduate was named head football coach at Lima Central Catholic on Monday.
The position had been open most of the winter after Jerry Cooper stepped down after nine seasons to take the head football coaching job at Seymour (Tenn.) High School. Cooper compiled a record at LCC of 87-21, including going 8-3 last year.
Palte was the head coach at Columbus Grove for seven years from 2005 to 2011 and compiled a record of 46-27. He was an assistant at Columbus Grove from 1997 to 1999, then he was the defensive coordinator at Grove from 2000 to 2004.
In 2003, he helped the Bulldogs win the state championship under Cooper.
He resigned from Columbus Grove after the 2001 season. Palte was a part-time assistant at Ada under Mike Fell in 2012. Last season he was the defensive coordinator at LCC under Cooper.
“I’m very excited to get this opportunity,” Palte said. “It makes it a much easier transition by getting to be here last year and meet all the kids and the community and the staff here at LCC. I can’t wait to get started. … I’m very excited to be a head coach again and get back at it.”
LCC athletic director Ron Williams said Palte will be on the LCC staff as a tutor and intervention specialist.
Palte played for Fell at Columbus Grove. He played one season at Baldwin-Wallace, where he suffered a broken arm. From there, he went to Ohio Northern, where he graduated in 1999.
Palte then coached under Fell and then Cooper at Columbus Grove.
Fell is using a wide-open offense now at Lima Senior, and Cooper preferred to pound away on the ground. Palte plans to take a little from both coaches in his philosophical approach to his offense.
“We’re going to use all the things I’ve been around, with spreading people out,” Palte said. “I’ve had some great coaches to get influence from, with Mike and Jerry Cooper and my uncle (Rex Lingruen), who is the head coach at Liberty Center, who has had great success. We’re going to make the opposition defend the entire length of the field. We’re going to stretch them out and be open, and we’re going to put our athletes in space and make plays, however we get there, whether it’s from a spread offense or a jet offense. We’re still evaluating our personnel and exactly what we want to do, but we’re going to have the ability to run and throw the football.”
Defensively, Palte said, “We’ll probably build off our 4-3.”
Among the things he learned from Fell, Palte said, “He’s very good at motivation and being positive and making kids believe that they are better than they may actually be. I’ve always said he’s great at taking the average kid and making him good and making the good kid great. He excels at making sure the guys are in the right spot and feeds them a lot of positive energy and they make plays.”
As for the 2014 schedule, there will be a few changes. Bluffton, London and Marion Pleasant are off, while Dayton Meadowdale, Bryan and Edgerton are on.
The T-Birds will open with Bath, followed by Delphos St. John’s.
With LCC being an independent, Williams added, “It’s (the schedule) still most of the Northwest Conference teams, but this is the final year of the contract with the Northwest Conference.”
Palte learned last year as an assistant what it was like to coach players not playing for a conference title.
“With the success we’ve had here over the last nine years, we’re trying to get better each week, win games and get into the playoffs,” Palte said. “I think that’s the motivation. You’re playing to get into the playoffs, then eventually a state championship.”