Out with the old, in with the new?
You could make such a case for Tallmadge High School when it comes to some of its athletic teams this fall.
The Blue Devils will be introducing two new head coaches.
Of course, calling one of them a newbie would be a bit of a misnomer.
The Tallmadge football team will be led by Mike Hay, a 1998 Tallmadge graduate and former star running back who has been on the Blue Devils’ coaching staff since 2001.
Hay has been around since Tallmadge had its greatest seasons in school history back in the mid-2000s, but it will be his first gig as the team’s commander in chief.
He’ll have his work cut out for him. The Blue Devils, who finished 5-5 last fall, lost most of their key people on both sides of the ball due to graduation.
Nonetheless, I have a sneaky suspicion Tallmadge will be just fine with its new but very familiar chief of staff.
The Tallmadge volleyball team also has a new leader.
Jim Maloof joins the Blue Devils after spending the previous two years at Strasburg.
Let’s just say he’s not looking at a lengthy rebuilding process.
Tallmadge finished 19-6 in 2018 and reached a Division II district final for the second consecutive year. By the way, the Blue Devils lost just one senior to graduation.
She wasn’t too shabby, though. Alex Perrin had been quite a formidable terminator in the middle for the past four years.
The Tallmadge boys soccer team bid farewell to some of its most accomplished offensive players in recent memory.
Twin brothers Justin and Jason Betts and the Betts’ “third” brother, Nick Hussing, all 2019 graduates, racked up quite a few goals and assists during their amazing careers with the Blue Devils, who finished with an 8-7-1 record last year.
The Tallmadge girls cross country team had a pair of juniors become two-time state qualifiers last fall.
Rising seniors Kenna Loveless and Ravyn Edge reached Hebron for the second consecutive year.
Let’s just say those two young ladies haven’t rested on their laurels. Loveless and Edge recently qualified for the Division II state track and field meet in their respective events.
The Tallmadge boys cross country team finished just a bit shy of advancing to the Division II state competition last season.
Perhaps 2019 will be the Blue Devils’ year.
Several of Tallmadge’s top runners were underclassmen, who led the team to a 10th-place finish at a regional meet.
Remember when the Tallmadge girls golf team put up scores that started with the number “6?”
The Blue Devils finished 7-6 last year after spending what seemed like an eternity of losing seasons.
And Tallmadge is now putting up 18-hole scores that begin with the number “4.” Yes, the Blue Devils have made major strides and nearly had a state qualifier in 2018.
Rising senior Lizzie Bickar, who picked up the game not long ago, advanced to Division I district play. Not bad considering she played for a considerably smaller Division I squad than most of her opponents.
The Tallmadge boys golf team also featured a player who is looking to get an invitation to Columbus this fall.
Rising junior Darin Hudak hopes to take the final step after reaching district play for the second consecutive year.
The Tallmadge girls soccer team is itching to get back on track after suffering a losing season in 2018.
Of course, considering the Blue Devils finished 7-9-1 despite losing two extremely talented scorers, including an All-Ohio forward, was no small feat.
As for the Tallmadge girls tennis team, the only direction the Blue Devils can go is up. Tallmadge won just one match last season.
If the Blue Devils need some inspiration, they can look no further than their male counterparts, who doubled their win total with eight victories during the spring.
Best wishes to all of the athletes as they prepare for the upcoming fall season.
Some of them will be competing at a brand new facility.
Say goodbye to Thomas Rossiaky Stadium as Tallmadge’s football and soccer squads will play at a new stadium that is behind the high school.
Rumor has it the new digs will be absolutely scintillating.
With a brand new stadium, a pair of new coaches and plenty of new faces, I would argue that the late Nina Simone sang it best when it comes to the 2019-20 school year.
“It’s a new dawn; it’s a new day; it’s a new life …”
And yes, “I’m feeling good” about the Blue Devils’ future.
Reporter Frank Aceto can be reached at 330-541-9444, email@example.com or @FrankAceto_RPC.