PERRY TOWNSHIP — Daniel Baker served as the defensive coordinator in Perry’s historical season last year and will get the opportunity to keep the Commodores’ winning ways going as the head coach after the Perry Board of Education approved his hiring Tuesday.
Baker, a Lakota East High School graduate, said he is excited about taking on the challenge and due to his familiarity with the players, expects it to be a smooth transition. Baker, 26, replaces Luke Tavianio who took the head football coaching job at Delphos Jefferson. Last year, the Commodores finished 6-4 in the regular season, second in the Northwest Central Conference with a 6-1 mark and made the playoffs last year.
This marks the third head coach in three years for Perry.
“The kids at this school here made me want to be the head coach,” said Baker, who has served as an assistant at Bath and Shawnee prior to coming to Perry. “There are some great kids here and I want to be around them as much as possible. They made football fun and exciting with the great amount of energy they have so it was a no-brainer.”
Baker added that he thinks the team can build on last year’s success and adapt some new things and will begin the process of acclimating himself to being the head coach.
“I think it something we can build on and helping them climb the peak each day and take one step at a time and get to their individual peak each day,” Baker said.
Baker said his philosophy on coaching is “loving the kids and working them real hard,” and added if the players work hard and reach their individual peaks on the field, in the community and in the classroom, that wins and losses will take care of themselves.
Because it is his first head coaching job, Baker said he did seek some advice from some of his peers and some of the members of the Bluffton University coaching staff whom he has worked with in the past.
“I have reached out to a couple of different guys that are head coaches or coordinators or things along those lines, so I have a strong support system where I reached out for tips and tricks that they have done,” Baker said.
Since Baker was the defensive coordinator last year, he does not expect too many changes on that side of the ball and he expects to switch the offense up a little but added that he wants the same mindset and attitude that made Perry an offensive force last year.
Baker added that he still has to wait to see who is coming back to play football and what personnel he will have to work with once two-a-days begin.
New girls hoops coach
Baker was not the only athletic hire at Perry. John Berens, who has been at Bath for three decades, will take over the Perry girls basketball program. Berens replaces Ted Patton who resigned due to health reasons.
Similar to the football program, Berens is the fourth girls basketball coach in four years.
“I have been at Bath off and on for the about 30 years doing all kinds of things over there,” Berens said. “I worked a couple years with Greg Mauk on his staff. I was his freshman coach and the last four years I was the boys freshman coach. I’ve done everything over there, tennis, cross country, you name it.”
Last season Perry went 0-21 and in the last five years Perry has gone 12-95.
Berens admits that he is still learning Perry’s players and personnel but said it appears they have some experience coming back.
“They have always had a solid program in years past and we want to get back to that level of being competitive and I think we can get that done,” Berens. “My philosophy basically is play hard and compete. That is the first thing I want to instill. Secondly, it is going to depend on what kind kids I have as far as what I like to do.”
Berens added that he would like to run, press a little more and get up and down the court.
Reach Jose Nogueras at 567-242-0468.