By Dean Russin
The Daily Star
---- — Adam Hoover’s future does not include the Oneonta High football program, and vice-versa.
Hoover, 32, said Thursday he will not coach the 2013 varsity football season at OHS, which went 24-36 during his seven years as head coach.
“I have a daughter who was born last summer and I’d really like to be able to spend more time with her and my wife,” Valleyview Elementary teacher Hoover said of 7-month-old Ava and his wife, Amanda. “At this stage of my life, really right now with just teaching, the quality time I get to spend with them is weekends. When you’re coaching football, there’s scouting one day, meetings another day ... I just wouldn’t be able to put in the time that’s necessary to put into a program.”
OHS athletic director Joe Hughes confirmed that Hoover, whose program went 2-7 last season, made the call to step down.
“He and I talked about what we expected from a head coach toward his coaching staff, toward his players and what kind of head coach is needed here. It takes a lot of time and energy,” Hughes said. “He came to the conclusion that he can’t give the time and energy that he should.
“Every year, we meet with all the coaches and we talk about the direction of our programs,” Hughes continued. “We talk about trying to improve and trying to get better. He decided he wasn’t the guy anymore and that the program needed new leadership.”
Hoover, who lives in Walton with his family, said he’ll continue to teach fifth- and sixth-graders at Valleyview Elementary in Oneonta. Beyond that, Hoover said, he’s not sure what his future holds.
“I’m happy teaching at Valleyview and I love the kids I work with,” said Hoover, who recently because certified to work in administration. “I kind of wanted to be an athletic director at first, but the more I got into it, the more I can see myself as a principal. I’m happy teaching in Oneonta, but at the same time, I have my ear open.”
Hoover also said he may return to the Walton football program at some point to assist his father, Jim, as he did before taking over for John Nealis at OHS. Nealis was relieved from his football coaching duties in January of 2006 but kept his position as the Jackets wrestling coach.
Jim Hoover said he’d welcome his son back.
“I’ll take anybody who’s willing to help out,” said Jim Hoover, who will enter his 38th season at Walton this fall with a Section Four record of 293 victories. “To have him back with me, that would be an honor.
“Adam gives 100 percent to whatever he does - teaching, coaching, whatever,” Jim Hoover continued. “I’ll support Adam in whatever he does. He’s a great young man and I couldn’t be more proud of him.”
The son of the late Dick Hoover, who won 165 games in a 27-year coaching career, Jim Hoover said Thursday that he may be stepping down in the not-so-distant future, too.
“I think about (retiring) every year,” said Jim Hoover, whose Warriors went 4-5 last season. “At times this (past) year, I thought this was definitely going to be my last year. ... As of right now, I’m still in for another year.”
The possibility of Adam Hoover replacing his father at Walton has not been discussed, Jim Hoover said.
“It’s not really in the back of my mind,” Adam Hoover said. “I don’t see that in my future, but you never say never.”
Hughes said OHS will attempt to fill the head coach vacancy internally but may have to open a public search. He added the position pays roughly $5,000-6,000 annually.
“There are some good, quality football coaches and people in Oneonta,” said Hughes, whose football staff includes junior varsity coach Dennis Carr and former Unatego head coach John Mushtare, who is a varsity assistant at OHS. “Today was the first time anybody found out (about Hoover’s departure). There might be more than one guy who feels he could do a good job as head coach. It’s a little premature to think who it might be.”
Hughes said the next coach will have numbers in his favor this fall.
“Last year we had a small returning class, so it was sort of like a perfect storm, so to speak,” Hughes said. “We had low numbers, but I think that day is over. I think our numbers will be fine next year at all three levels (modified, JV and varsity). We should be back to normal numbers.”