Brock Netter, Staff Writer
Southern Ohio Sports Authority is presented by OhioHealth.
OAK HILL — Life sometimes has a funny way of giving you second chances.
No so long ago, Tyler Kratzenberg applied for the head football coaching position at Oak Hill, but he wasn’t selected to fill the role.
That led him to making the decision to take a season off and simply reset. Had that decision played out, it would have marked the first time in a long time that he wasn’t going to be on the sidelines.
But, life doesn’t always go as you plan.
In late May, he received a phone call informing him that the football position was open once again. He didn’t take a second thought before accepting the position on the spot.
“I’m a firm believer that everything happens for a reason and as you gets older, time continues on and nothing is promised,” Kratzenberg said. “I remember playing games against Oak Hill when I was a player at Ironton, and the one thing I know is that Oak Hill is a proud football town. You simple can’t teach blue collar toughness and a working mentality in a smaller community, and that’s a big part of what drew me here.
“I’m not going to try and make up for lost time because it’ll be so much information with almost no time to let everything sink in. We’re all going to be on the same page, from expectations inside and outside the classroom to conducting yourself properly in the weight room, to executing assignments on the field. We have tough kids and we’re going to be physical. That’s what Oak Hill football is about.”
Although this will be Kratzenberg’s first head coaching gig, he doesn’t come without coaching experience.
He was an assistant coach in Kentucky at Dixie Heights — a 6A school, which translates to being a Division I school in Ohio — spent time at Amanda-Clearcreek and Rock Hill, and was the offensive coordinator years ago at Heath High School.
During his time at Heath, he helped the team shatter almost every offensive single-season school record.
He now brings a bit of that flavor to Jackson County.
“I may only be 29 years old, but I’ve been very fortunate to learn from some great coaches over the years, starting in high school playing for [former Ironton coach] Bob Lutz,” Kratzenberg said. “There’s a lot of things I’ve learned and put in my toolbox. That Heath group was filled with great kids who wanted to do something special, and I know these [Oak Hill players] want to [do the same]. We’re going to do some different things that haven’t been done before at Oak Hill from what I’ve seen. It’s all trial and error. That physicality will be there, but we’ll learn and keep improving. I’m excited for these guys.”
Though he has a much later start than usual for any football coach in the surrounding area, he’s wasted no time getting to work as the Oaks prepare for the season.
While it’s unknown what the team will look like this fall, Kratzenberg did make a few things abundantly clear to his guys.
“We’re going to be in shape, fundamental and well-disciplined. Anything less than that is unacceptable,” Kratzenberg said. “These guys are a very close-knit group and it’ll be a lot easier for me to hone in on what their strengths and weaknesses are since we’ll have about 40 guys or so on the team. Having that personal time with each group and getting to see how they are allows me to adjust to the system. We’ll play to their strengths and once opening night comes, we’ll be ready.”
Oak Hill begins the season on Aug. 19 at home against Wellston.