BATH TOWNSHIP — Bill Garland is a Bath guy.
He went to school there, played football there and has been an assistant coach there for 28 years.
In fact, it’s hard to go to a Bath sporting event and not see Garland, as he’s also the basketball facility manager and is the postseason softball tournament manager.
On Monday, Garland was named as Bath’s head football coach. It will be his first head football job after being an assistant coach for 30 years.
“This is a dream come true,” Garland said. “This is my dream job.”
Garland takes over for Chris Miller, who resigned recently to take the assistant principal/athletic director jobs at Ontario High School. Miller compiled a record of 16-24 in four years at Bath. The Wildcats finished 5-5 last year.
Garland is a 1982 Bath graduate, who played football for coach Gary DeLuca.
Garland started his coaching career with five years coaching the Bath junior high. He then coached on the Bath varsity for one season. He then coached under Jeff Mauk at Leipsic for two years.
Garland then returned to Bath and has coached on the Wildcats’ varsity squad the last 22 years. Most of that time has been spent coaching the Bath offensive line.
“The offensive line is my bag,” he said. “That’s my passion.”
Over the years, he’s coached under Bath coaches DeLuca, Jerry Cooper, Jim Ehresman, Todd Clark and Miller. That’s given him a vast array of football knowledge over the last 30 years.
“Gary DeLuca gave me my first opportunity,” Garland said. “He was well organized and had a great work ethic. Ehresman and Clark knew all the X’s and O’s on defense. Jerry Cooper was one of the biggest influences for me. He had a passion for the game of football. Coach Miller set offensive records this year, plus coach Miller’s discipline is top notch.”
Graduated Bath quarterback Doug Sanders threw for 2,000 yards and ran for 1,000 last year using the read-option offense. Garland said he will keep the same offense.
“I plan on the offense staying the same,” Garland said. “But we have to replace Doug and we lose four starters up front.”
Garland said the key will be improving the defense, which gave up 34 points-per-game last season.
“You can’t give up 34 points a game and expect to win,” he said.
Garland will continue to be Bath’s study hall monitor. He’ll also continue as the facility manager and run the softball tournaments.
But now, he’ll add head football coach to his resume.
“I always wanted to be a head coach,” Garland said. “It’s always been an ambition of mine. … I know we’ll work hard. If we do that, we’ll be OK.”
Garland’s only regret is that his father won’t be around this fall.
“My dad passed away two weeks ago. He would have been the happiest guy in the world,” Garland said.