Kyle Ralph, the fifth head coach in New Palestine football history, pending school board approval, met his players for the first time as a group Wednesday morning in the NPHS auditorium. He spoke of winning a state title, players being positive role models and doing things “the right way.” Ralph, who will teach social studies at the high school, certainly knows of what he speaks. One of the highest rated offensive linemen in the nation coming out of high school in Cincinnati, Ralph went on to an all-ACC career at the University of North Carolina. And, by all accounts, Ralph’s character is just as impressive as his past playing ability. It was Ralph’s passion for teaching and molding student-athletes into good citizens — not just good football players — that led the New Palestine administration to select Ralph, 28, as the new leader of the Dragons’ football program. Ralph sat down with the Daily Reporter Wednesday morning after his meeting with players to discuss his vision for the team.
Q: You’re an Ohio native, and went to college in North Carolina. But your wife, Ashley, is from New Palestine and her family still resides here. Is that how you landed in southern Hancock County?
A: It was kind of what got my interest peaked in the job. We come back here a lot, and when coach (Tim) Able left before last year, I called up here about the position. We talked about how coach (Charlie) Hill was going to become the interim; they were going to open the job up later. So I very respectfully put everything on hold, but as soon as the job became open again, I went for it.
It was just an opportunity I couldn’t pass up. To put my wife back here near family, and to be at a school that’s academically and athletically strong as this one is ... to me, it’s a perfect fit. It’s a great place to raise a family, and for my wife to be able to come back home near her family, it’s a good opportunity. I just can’t say enough good things about it.