SYRACUSE — It was not something planned ahead of time, but Michael Eshbach was contacted through a mutual friend about the opening for a varsity football head coach at Wawasee High School. “It went from there pretty quickly,” he said.
During a special school board meeting Tuesday, May 23, in Syracuse, Eshbach was approved to fill the role of head football coach for the Warriors. He replaces Josh Ekovich, who resigned earlier this year.
Eshbach had been the head football coach and assistant principal for the last nine years at Eastside High School in DeKalb County. Eastside has won three conference titles in a row and finished each of those three seasons ranked in the final state polls. Eshbach is a 1991 graduate of Bedford North Lawrence High School and then a 1996 graduate of Manchester University.
Prior to coaching at Eastside, he had stints as an assistant football coach at New Haven High School and Fort Wayne Bishop Dwenger. He also was the head football coach at Paoli High School in Paoli, Ind. Eshbach also coached a semi pro football team in Auburn and was an administrator for four years for the Indiana Department of Corrections.
He will also be the coordinator of the alternative school program for WHS, effective Aug. 10.
Eshbach said the Wawasee position as football coach was attractive, at least in part, due to the “step up in school size.” Eastside has 360 students in the entire high school, while Wawasee has more than 900. “It was also a good fit for our family,” he added.
Eastside competes in the Northeast Corner Conference, which is competitive, but the Northern Lakes Conference raises the bar even higher for competition. “You better bring your A game in this conference,” he said.
Michael is married to Melissa and they have two children in high school: son Evan and daughter Emily.
Other business was taken care of during the brief meeting Tuesday. The board approved the resignations of Paul Meyer, WHS guidance counselor, effective June 30, and Jared Knipper, Syracuse Elementary instructional coach, effective at the end of the 2016-17 school year.
Sarah O’Connor, WHS guidance counselor, was approved to take a leave of absence from around Oct. 14 through June 8, 2018. Tye Bloomfield was approved to be the work based learning coordinator for WHS effective Aug. 6 and Amber Thomas was approved to be a speech and language pathologist serving students mainly in Syracuse Elementary, effective Aug. 16.
Diana Whitehead was approved to be a WHS Pathways administrative assistant, effective Aug. 2. Kerri Hartman will become the cafeteria manager at North Webster Elementary, effective Aug. 16. And the resignation of Phillip Moore, North Webster Elementary custodian, was approved effective at the end of the 2016-17 school year.
The board also approved out of state or overnight trips for Milford Middle School to the Chicago area, Wawasee Middle School FCA to Upland, Ind., the WHS girls basketball team to Angola and the WHS boys basketball team to Findlay, Ohio.
And contracts for 2017 were approved by the board. James Flecker, director of personnel and legal services, noted it is the middle of the bidding season for construction projects.