AKRON – Following Friday night’s 55-13 loss to North Miami, Tippecanoe Valley head football coach Darin Holsopple didn’t have much to offer on his team’s performance. At a loss for reasons why his team lost the way it did, Holsopple mentioned, “We’ve got to take a long, hard look at what we’re doing and try to figure out what’s working and what’s not. We’ve got to make some changes. I don’t know what those will be, but we’ve got to make some changes and become more competitive. I told the guys I love them and I’m with them, but we’ve got to change some stuff.”
A bit of foreshadowing at the time, Holsopple made a change Monday morning, resigning from his head coaching position citing health reasons related to stress.
Holsopple, who took over the Vikings program in 2015, was given the difficult task of weathering the storm of both a team that had struggled on the field, but also having to take over for long-time coach Scott Bibler. Last October, the Valley program was put into the national spotlight after Bibler, Charlie Smith, Scott Smith and Tony Elliott passed away after a plane crash. The role Holsopple inherited with a grieving community was a tough one.
“There wasn’t a person in this community that wasn’t touched by that accident,” Holsopple said before this season. “Bibs knew everyone, and everyone knew him. That awful day in October affected everyone.”
Holsopple also was managing a logistical change of environments, commuting daily to Akron from New Paris where his family had just built a new home. A longtime coach for Fairfield’s track and football programs, Holsopple couldn’t pass up the chance at taking a head coaching position when the Valley job came open in 2015.
But the distance, and high demand of being a football head coach had taken its toll. Holsopple made the announcement Monday morning and added a long, loving post to his Facebook page to his wife, Darcy, giving the human side a public view.
“I enjoyed my time as the Vikings coach,” Holsopple said Tuesday morning. “I will treasure the relationships that I was able to build with the players. Football is a game that I love and I will miss being in the trenches with the boys, but this was a decision that needed to be made.”
Holsopple was 3-10 with the Vikings, 0-3 this season after Friday’s Homecoming game.
Taking over in the interim are assistant coaches Jeff Shriver and Aaron Norris, who will become co-head coaches. Shriver guided the Valley program from 2006-13, stepping down from the head coaching position after the 2013 season to spend more time with his own family. Shriver was 47-34 as head coach.
“We found out about 20 minutes before practice Monday,” said Shriver in a phone interview Tuesday morning. “We had to hit the ground running. With Aaron coaching here for 23 years and me now in my 25th year, we just love the program. We love the family. We love Tippecanoe Valley football.
“But we were in a situation where we had to make some changes, and some of those were with the staff. We’ll look at what our staff knows and shift things around to put the best team on the field on Friday nights that we can. This is a mentally tough team, but they haven’t been good at the mental side of the game lately.
“Our kids are resilient. They have been through a lot but are excited to move forward.”