Mark Emans knows Wood County and he knows Lake High School’s football background.
“The Lake (coaching) job always intrigued me – their facilities, the school’s size,” Emans said. “Being an old Wood County guy, I remember Lake always had tough, physical kids when they played in the Northern Lakes League back in the day.”
Emans, 51, who was hired as Lake’s new head football coach on April 20, is a 1980 graduate of Eastwood High School. He is replacing Bob Olwin, who resigned after leading the Flyers to a 4-6 record (3-4 in the Northern Buckeye Conference) in his only season in 2012.
Lake Athletic Director Dave Shaffer said the school had approximately 25 applicants for the job.
“Mark has a strong background in football, playing at the collegiate level and as an NFL draft pick, and he is experienced as a head coach,” Shaffer said. “He is a local guy who has been successful with student-athletes. We look forward to his leadership qualities working with our Flyer football program.”
Emans was an assistant coach under Jerry Rutherford for one season (1985) at Eastwood and coached for four years at Arcadia High School (1986-89). He took over at Wauseon in 1990 and put together a 118-99 record there until he resigned in 2011.
Emans’ Indians won four Northwest Ohio Athletic League championships and made the only three state playoff appearances in school history. The 1993 squad beat Ironton 13-10 to win the Division III state championship and cap a 14-0 season.
Emans said he resigned because, basically, nearly 30 years in coaching was taking its toll.
“I had been doing it for 27 years,” he said. “I was going back to get my masters degree in education and that was time consuming, and it was time for me to take a step back. If you’re not going to put everything into it — football is a year-round job — it’s time to step back. I didn’t want to cheat our kids, so I got out of it.”
Emans, a 6-foot-4, 225-pound linebacker, played at Bowling Green State University for four years under coach Denny Stoltz, and he was named a team captain his senior year in 1983. He was a 12th-round draft pick by the Green Bay Packers in 1984.
“I made it to the last cut,” Emans said. “I played in a couple of preseason games. I played against the Cowboys in Cowboys Stadium. We played the Bears the year before they won the Super Bowl.
“That spring, before they had the (NFL) combines, all sorts of different scouts came and visited (BGSU). The Jets were there for one weekend, and the Houston Oilers were in for a weekend to watch me run. I got an agent. I thought I might have gotten drafted a little earlier. It was a nice experience for me, a kid from Lucky, Ohio, getting that opportunity. A lot of times all you ask for is an opportunity.”
Emans will teach physical education at Lake. He said he is excited to get back into coaching after taking a year off.
“That year, I needed to get away and get out of it,” he said. “This last year, I was looking to get back into it as an assistant. When (Lake) became available — just the facilities, the kids…their baseball program is outstanding. I’ve been a jayvee baseball coach at Wauseon for over 20 years and we’ve always played Lake. I’m looking forward to the opportunity to lead their football program and take the success from baseball and basketball and see if we can put some of that success in the football program.”
Emans has three sons, all of whom played for him at Wauseon. Aaron, 25, is a football coach in Naples, Fla.; twins Alex and Andy are 23.