Josh Shattuck resigned as Seymour High School’s head football coach Wednesday morning after Elkhart Central’s school board approved his hire Tuesday night.
Seymour posted the job opening Wednesday afternoon.
Shattuck helped turn the Owls football program around from zero wins in his first year (2013) to 8-4 last fall.
The 2016 campaign was the first winning season for the Owls since 2005.
On top of his work with the high school teams, Shattuck helped create the Seymour Area Youth Football League and worked with the middle school program.
Shattuck, 31, has a 15-29 coaching record in Indiana heading into his job with the Blazers.
Elkhart Central finished 2-8 last season. Levon Johnson stepped down as head coach after seven seasons.
What are you going to miss about this program and what are some of your best memories here?
“It has been a really, really good four years here. It hasn’t really settled in yet, but just the magnitude of some of the things we’ve been through in a short period of time. Those first couple years were difficult, probably even more difficult than I realized when going through it. In terms of being non-competitive, having to scrape and claw. we kind of had to take two steps back to take any steps forward. It has definitely made me a lot better as a coach and our kids better as people because we’ve realized what hard work can do.
“In terms of individual games, there’s a lot of things. To me, the 2015 Brownstown game probably stands out most to me. To be such a quality opponent, with such a great coaching staff and a great head coach over that at Brownstown, I think that stands out. Another game that stands out was New Albany from this past season. That was a really good football team and it was a great game.”
Q: Why was it important for you, coming to the area from the outside, to install a sense of community pride?
A: “The big draw for this job, for me, in 2012 was seeing the area as a gold mine. We knew we had a ton of work to do. We knew we had to change the thought and language of how people talked about sports in general. (Former basketball coach) Kyle Clough and I became great friends, and we discussed a lot — as outsiders — that when we got here it wasn’t cool to be an athlete. That was something we weren’t used to.
I’ve seen a huge transformation, not just because of me, in the way the school and kids view athletics. We are much more competitive in multi sports. We won more basketball games this past year than we had in a while, football record speaks for itself, soccer won the conference championship. I could go on, and on. It’s a great, great place to work and coach. I think whoever comes in and becomes head coach is a really lucky person. Hopefully, the next person that comes in has the same sentiments that I do.”
Q: After having so much success here, why Elkhart Central?
A: “To be honest, it wasn’t a particular school. It just ended up being something I couldn’t refuse. The location is something. Two years and five months ago, it didn’t mean as much to me. Now, I have a little girl at home. Not to get sentimental, but it is difficult. A lot of our friends with kids have grandmas and grandpas here in Seymour. Michelle (Shattuck) and I just don’t have that. We have a great support system, but when it comes to relationships with my mom and dad and Michelle’s mom and dad, they’re six hours away and that’s a barrier. The people up at Elkhart Central reached out to me and when they got really serious it became a little bit about location which put it in play as a possibility. That’s kind of what got the ball rolling.”
Q: I think a lot of people are worried about what happens to the youth programs. Where do they go from here?
A: “I’m one person. Our football program K through 12 isn’t founded by one person. I understand that I’m the figure head of that, and what it resembles, and I did have a large role in the visions set forth — but I didn’t run or operate SAYFL games or middle school games. Is there an influence and direction I gave? Sure. I’m one person in a much larger piece, and I’ve told that to some of our players and coaches. I’m just fortunate to be a small part of something much bigger. I feel like the baseline is here for the next coach to come in. The next coach will make some changes, and that will scare some people. What people will soon realize is that we have great administration here and they will hire a phenomenal head coach who will have great ideas. They wiill do things better, worse and in between since I’ve been head coach. I think it’s a great opportunity for someone and am confident they will hire a quality coach.”
Q: Elkhart Central and Elkhart Memorial are planning on consolidating in the next couple years. How does that work going into your new job?
“There’s a lot of uncertainty there. The questions I had were when is this going to happen and what’s going to happen. I can’t get into too many details, but I’m the coach at Elkhart Central not at Elkhart (Memorial). If and when Elkhart becomes a mega school with 3,500 kids, there will be a plan put in place and things will happen. I will say that nothing has been guaranteed to me, but I feel very confident that we will work diligently to transform the Elkhart Central football program. That’s where 100 percent of my focus is going. It has always served me and the communities well to work that way and let the cards fall.”
Q: Do you plan on coming back to visit Seymour?
A: “The relationships don’t end. The hardest part is talking to the kids. I feel very strongly that we did things the right way. I understand that some people disagree with decisions within the program and on the field. At the end of the day, we didn’t burn bridges. We built great relationships with players, community and the administration. That’s what makes it really hard to walk away from. I know I have it really good here, so I know what I’m walking away from. The things that have been presented to me, and the location, are too much to say no to. In terms of here, It has been an awesome, awesome four years. The program is in great shape.”