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By Will Nations
Tony Stanford is not unfamiliar with constructing a championship-caliber team.
Coming to West Point, a town that owns eight state football titles between its two high school football programs, Stanford said he feels right at home and is excited to continue Oak Hill Academyâ€™s recent gridiron success this season.
â€śI think coming to the town of West Point brings a lot of football tradition and expectations,â€ť Stanford said. â€śWPHS has always had a great tradition. OHA, having won a state championship before, gives them clout. The program is in an upswing, and I am hoping to carry the program to that next level. Maybe we can win another state championship or a couple.â€ť
Stanford accepted OHA footballâ€™s head coaching position Monday night, according to OHA Athletic Director Marion Bratton. Stanford replaces Daniel Merchant, who vacated the position in June. Bratton said Stanford was a veteran coach and he looked forward to working with him this upcoming school year.
Stanford said he had various opportunities to take jobs as an assistant coach but wanted to remain a head coach. That reasoning led Stanford to put his name into the OHA job opening.
â€śThis job here came open and I had multiple friends call and tell me about it. So I looked into it,â€ť Stanford said. â€śI saw Oak Hill had been on the upswing the past couple of years, and the athletes looked really competitive. I am looking forward to working with the athletes and hitting the ground running.â€ť
Stanford has 38 years of experience as a football coach with 19 seasons as a head coach. Stanfordâ€™s most successful coaching year came in his inaugural season as head coach at Louisville High School. The 1995 Louisville Wildcats brought home the MHSAA Class-4A state title. Stanford said hard work and a willingness to press for success made that team special.
â€ś1995 was a big year for me in my coaching career,â€ť Stanford said. â€śWe were lucky enough to win the state championship that year. I always wanted the Louisville job, and it fell to me to lead the team that year and the next seven years. Every program I have been to since wants to work hard. We have had to put in the time to get done what we want to do. That is what happened at Louisville.â€ť
Stanfordâ€™s most recent stint was a four-year stop with Columbus High School, compiling a 22-23 overall record. Stanford led the Falcons to the programâ€™s first playoff berth in seven seasons during the 2012 campaign. Stanford said he resigned from the post with intentions to retire but chose to continue coaching in December.
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