TC football coach resigns

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By Larry Goffinet

TELL CITY - John Elliott has resigned as Tell City's football coach after three years at the helm.

Elliott, 51, said Sunday the reason he is resigning is "a long story. It's a complicated decision. It's just probably time. I still live over here (in Evansville) and drive (to Tell City) every day. We'd probably taken the program as far as we could under the current conditions."

Besides the long drive, he said he "didn't feel the commitment was there from the administration to take the football program to the next level.

"They had chances to hire some (teachers as assistant) coaches last spring and didn't. And I've been asking for a practice field and didn't get it. The one we had has been overrun by moles."

Tell City Athletics Director Maurice Harpenau agreed the practice field "has been in bad shape for a long time," but said he is working to get that rectified.

He said it's a time-consuming project "because it's in a flood plain. You can't just do whatever you want to it--you have to get permits. We are working on trying to get the drainage restored, but it's been a real challenge."

Ron Etienne, superintendent of the Tell City-Troy Township School Corp., said the school corporation does not have any other land available to build a new practice field.

Etienne said Monday the school corporation has not set a timetable for hiring Elliott's replacement.

Asked if he expected a new coach to be hired from the present staff or outside it, he said, "We are anticipating a teacher opening or two (next spring), so if that happens we'll open it up."

Elliott compiled a 13-18 record with the Marksmen, including a 6-4 mark in 2006, the team's only winning record in the last six years.

That 2006 team was dominated by a strong junior class, so expectations were high for an even better season this year. But the Marksmen lost some close games this year, including two in overtime.

Still Elliott said, "I think the program is in a lot better shape than when we took it over."

Asked if he planned to coach again, Elliott said, "Sure, if the right opportunity comes about."

He was an assistant coach at Castle for four years before coming to Tell City. He had also been an assistant at North Posey, Hamilton Southeast, Reitz and the University of Evansville and head coach at South Decatur and Franklin Community.

He was teaching at Stanley Hall Enrichment Center, an alternative high school in Evansville, when he was hired at Tell City. He kept teaching there because Tell City had no teacher openings then.