Daily Reporter staff reports

After spending the 2016-17 school year as an independent, Eastern Hancock athletics has found a new home in the Mid-Eastern Conference.

The Royals were formally accepted into the MEC on Wednesday, as announced through the Eastern Hancock athletics department’s social media outlets.

Eastern Hancock was welcomed into the conference along with Shenandoah High School. Their memberships are effective beginning with the 2017-18 school year.

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“These additions bring much excitement to the MEC. We believe this union will bring benefits to our schools, student-athletes, and our communities,” acting MEC president, Eric Douglas of Daleville Jr./Sr. High School, communicated in a news release.

Currently, the MEC is comprised of eight schools. The inclusion of Eastern Hancock and Shenandoah will increase the conference to 10 schools, including Monroe Central, Wapahani, Wes-Del, Blue River Valley, Daleville, Randolph Southern, Union (Modoc), and Cowan.

Prior to the 2016-17 school year, Eastern Hancock decided to voluntarily leave the Mid-Indiana Football Conference and the Mid-Hoosier Conference, for all other sports, after being affiliated with the former for six seasons and the latter for four.

In 2009, the football program was unaffiliated for one year after its former league, the White River Athletic Conference, disbanded at the conclusion of the 2008 season.

The WRAC’s dissolution forced the Royals into independent status from 2010 through 2012 in all other sports. The first program to get back into a conference was football in 2010 before basketball and others joined the MHC in 2012-13.

Mt. Vernon to hire new football coach

Pending approval by the Mt. Vernon Community School Board on Feb. 21, Neil Kazmierczak will be named the Marauders’ new varsity football coach, beginning in 2017-18.

Kazmierczak resigned as head coach at Lebanon High School this week after leading the Tigers to an 11-11 record in two seasons. He will serve as a strength and conditioning teacher at Mt. Vernon.

Prior to 2015, Kaz-mierczak was the head coach at Earlham College while also spending time at St. Mary’s College in California, DePauw, Butler and Marian University as a staff member.

Kazmierczak will replace Doug Armstrong, who stepped down in December.

The Marauders never endured a losing season during Armstrong’s tenure, winning the program’s first sectional title since 2006 in only his second campaign in 2012.

The 2012 team went 11-2 and defeated Hoosier Heritage Conference rival Delta 28-13 in the sectional title game. Armstrong compiled a 45-23 record in six seasons at Mt. Vernon and retired with a 97-79 overall record.