Seven months ago, it was made official -- Eric Ormond's 12-year climb through the coaching ranks of the Jamesville-DeWitt football program had reached the top.
After Dennis Schahczenski stepped down at the end of the 2008 season, Ormond, the team's defensive coordinator, was tapped to be his successor. It made sense, since Ormond had thorough knowledge of the J-D program.
It all began in 1997, when Ormond was hired to coach the modified Red Rams. Two years later, he went to the JV team, and in 2001 Ormond came to the varsity team, where for eight years he has tutored the defense.
Ormond said he was shocked and surprised by Schahczenski's departure, but delighted to get the chance at the top job. He said his first priority was to get players throughout the program to focus on the gridiron.
"My goals are to create opportunities (for kids) to focus and specialize on football," Ormond said.
Unlike basketball or lacrossse, said Ormond, it's tough to play football year-round, so "you really have to sell the weight room." Since he took over, Ormond has helped increase year-round work with the weights, four days a week.
In addition, J-D's players took numerous trips to seven-on-seven tournaments, both locally (Cicero-North Syracuse and Utica College) and otherwise (two events in Pennsylvania), giving them lots of chances to work on skills -- and bond.
The open question is whether this revamped approach will work with J-D's 42-man roster as it opens with a flourish against Fowler this Sunday in the annual Kickoff Classic in the Carrier Dome.
A spirited battle is going on to succeed long-time quarterback Joe Daddario. Both senior Joe Emmi and junior Davi Sacco are getting looks in practice. Both played in Saturday's scrimmage at Indian River, looking to impress offensive coordinator Kevin Kalfass -- who, like Ormond, played at Solvay High School under its legendary coach, Al Merola.