Jason Shaw will not return as head coach of the wrestling team at Tallmadge High School.
Shaw, who spent 27 years as a coach at both Tallmadge High School and Tallmadge Middle School, was not renewed after spending the last 11 years as the Blue Devils head coach.
"We decided to move in a different direction," Tallmadge athletic director Tim Mosher said. "We’re really appreciative of what Coach Shaw did for the program. He’s a nice man. It was just time to go in a different direction to try and grow the program."
Shaw spent 18 years as an assistant coach with the Tallmadge football team. He also spent nine years as a coach for Tallmadge Youth Football.
Shaw has been a science teacher at Coventry High School in Akron for the last 20 years.
"It was time," Shaw said. "I had been with the wrestling program for 25 years. I started in the early 1990s as an assistant.
"It took me by surprise. We’ve been pretty successful in the last five years. It wasn’t my decision."
The Blue Devils’ wrestling team won a Division II sectional title in 2017. Tallmadge finished 1-4 in the Suburban League American Conference during the winter and had two district qualifiers. One of them was 2020 graduate Jesse Kanatzar, who advanced to the state competition. The state tournament was canceled due to a deadly respiratory tract infection known as the coronavirus.
Shaw has been working toward earning an administrative degree. He hopes to work as an athletic director, principal or assistant principal down the road.
"In some ways, it was kind of a blessing," Shaw said. "I’m doing it online. When I get my degree, it’s very likely that I won’t be able to coach."
Due to the social-distancing requirements throughout the spring, Shaw has not been able to meet with his former pupils in person.
"I’m definitely going to miss working with the kids and working in the Tallmadge community," Shaw said. "It was such a blessing for me. I cherished it.
"Things always seem to work out for a reason. It takes the pressure off in terms of trying to complete the program. I’m excited. I’m not going to say I may never coach again."
Shaw also was appreciative of his former assistants, Gary Kanaga, Gus Forstersas, Dave Blankenship and Dan Amato.
"They are a great group of coaches," Shaw said.
Mosher said the application deadline for the coaching position ended last Friday.
"We have some applicants," he said. "We’re obviously looking to fill the position with a person who not only puts us in the best position now, but also for years to come.
"We’re really ready to grow the program. Our youth, elementary and middle school programs are pretty solid. We want someone who has a vision for our youth before they reach high school."
Reporter Frank Aceto can be reached at 330-541-9444, email@example.com or @Faceto_Gannett.