By John Bombatch
XENIA — After eight years of coaching the Xenia High School Buccaneers football team, Bob DeLong is stepping down.
In an emailed statement, DeLong said:
”It has been my honor and privilege to be a part of the 118 year history of Xenia Football. I have been blessed to get to do a job I love for 30 seasons. In the case of Xenia, I have not been able to get all of our efforts and resources moving in one direction so that we could have the kind of success that Xenia deserves. Ultimate responsibility for this unity of effort falls on the head coach. I have accepted this responsibility for 21 years. Because of my inability to get all of our forces moving in one direction, I have decided to resign my position of head football coach. It is my hope that a new direction and new leadership will lead to our whole community getting behind the program so that it can thrive.
“I have a deep affection for the kids and families that I have had the privilege to serve here at Xenia. I am proud of the accomplishments that we have been able to make to the infrastructure of the program with the help of the Doug Adams Trust and other donors. I want to say thanks to those silent supporters who made sure that kids always had what they needed. Xenia businesses have been a great supporter of our efforts and I am thankful for them. The churches in Xenia that fed our kids each week have been such a great blessing to us.
“I appreciate all of the coaches grades 7 thru 12 who worked with the kids and those who helped behind the scenes. I am very grateful to our teaching staff at Xenia High School. My own children have had such great mentors and teachers here and I am so thankful for that. I am so proud to serve with so many of them who go out of their way to make a difference with our kids each day. I will continue my science teaching at Xenia High school for the foreseeable future.”
DeLong stated earlier Tuesday that he did not retire, but that he had been asked to resign. He said he had submitted his resignation to the school board last week.
This past season, Xenia finished with a 3-7 overall record. The team finished second in the inaugural season for the Greater Western Ohio Conference’s American South Division with a 3-1 record. The Bucs’ only loss in the division was to Division III state runner up Trotwood-Madison.
DeLong, 53, had a 33-47 overall record as Xenia’s coach. His divisional record (seven years in the GWOC South and last season in the GWOC American South) was 18-18.
The GWOC South had five teams through 2011, then expanded to six in 2012 through 2015. The current American South division has five teams — Trotwood-Madison, Riverside Stebbins, Fairborn, West Carrollton and Xenia.
In his eight years coaching the team, Xenia never finished worse than fourth in its division.
Asked for a statement, Xenia Schools Superintendent Denny Morrison said “Bob truly loves kids, and does whatever he can to help them be successful.”
Xenia Athletic Director Nathan Kopp said the head coaching position will be posted within the school district, as well as on the Ohio High School Athletic Association’s website (ohsaa.org).
“With the league we play in, and the facilities we have, I suspect that it will be a very attractive job for several candidates,” Kopp said.
Asked whether DeLong had resigned on his own, or if he was asked to resign, Kopp said “He submitted his resignation. I won’t discuss personal matters. I received a letter of resignation from Bob. That’s all I have to say.”