With his football team fresh off a State Finals appearance and many key players from that unit slated to return in 2014, Eastern Hancock athletic director Aaron Spaulding wanted his next football coach to be capable of keeping the Royals on their upward trajectory.
Spaulding found that match in Jim O’Hara.
O’Hara, who played or coached in six state title games at Cathedral, was unanimously approved by the EH school board Monday as the Royals’ next coach.
The 1977 Cathedral graduate takes over for Pat Echeverria, who went 23-14 during three seasons in Charlottesville before departing for Zionsville earlier this month.
Eastern Hancock went 14-1 this fall, capturing Mid-Indiana Football Conference, sectional, regional and semistate championships before falling 20-10 in the Class A State Finals to Tri-Central.
Since leaving Cathedral after the 2007 season because of health concerns, O’Hara got involved in the sporting goods and chemical industries while also running the Scheib O’Hara Scheib Football Camp with Lance and Dave Scheib. Lance is the head coach at Noblesville; Dave is an assistant with the Millers.
It was during his coaching respite that O’Hara became familiar with Spaulding, EH principal David Pfaff and the Royals who attended his camp.
“I was impressed with the kids and the culture of the school. The kids at Eastern Hancock were some of the hardest workers I’ve had at my camp. I know Pat has done a heck of a job,” said O’Hara, who recently was an assistant at Noblesville (2012) and Anderson (2013). “You want to work for good people. The kids like football. As a coach you want people to have the same passion you do for the sport. They have it. The program is in solid shape. I want to keep the pedal on the metal.”
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