MIDDLEBURY — Two smaller trades made a larger third move fit just right.
With Tom Wogomon’s head football coaching switch from Wawasee to Northridge, he’s merely swapping one shade of green for another and he’s trading a 35-minute trip home from practice for one about seven minutes long.
It’s all worth it, he said.
Wogomon told his Wawasee football family that it was time to think more about his family at home — in Middlebury.
“It’s a credit to those Wawasee kids ... they understood. They weren’t happy I don’t think, but when you present it as being a family situation?” Wogomon said Tuesday, Feb. 19, after his hiring was approved by the Middlebury school board.
“We’ve always talked that your faith is going to be first, your family, your football,” Wogomon said. “If I’m going to preach to them that family comes before football ... for the past 19 years, it’s been either a 50-minute ride home from East Noble or a 35-minute ride from Wawasee. That’s a big deal.”
A very big deal.
Wogomon, a Goshen High graduate, has resided in Middlebury through coaching stints at East Noble and Wawasee, he has two children — Hannah, a freshman, and Emma, a fifth-grader — in Middlebury schools and he’s been married 20 years to a Northridge graduate, Maria (Yoder) Wogomon. The Wogomon’s also have a son, Josh, who is a freshman at Ball State University.
For at least the next school year, Wogomon will continue to teach at Wawasee, though he’ll coach at Northridge. He’ll meet the Raider players at 7 a.m. Wednesday morning.
It’s sure to be a superior high after getting through an emotional moment with his now former Warrior players on Tuesday.
“I just got done saying, at 8 o’clock, telling a group of kids that are really special to me I wasn’t going to be their football coach,” Wogomon said. “I’m so excited to get started here, yet on the other side, I’ve got to respect where Wawasee is right now because that’s a school that gave me my first head coaching position.”
Wogomon replaces Jonathan Kirkton, who resigned following the 2012 season.
At Wawasee, Wogomon logged a 26-36 record, but 20 of those victories came in the last three seasons. The Warriors were 7-5 in 2012 and advanced to the Class 4A sectional final last fall, losing to Concord.
In 2012, the Raiders went winless in the regular season before they beat Angola in a 4A sectional opener. They were credited with a forfeit win from South Bend Adams, so their record officially was 2-9.
Northridge has just one on-field win in the last two seasons and only four winning seasons since 1977.
Kirkton was 22-81 from 2003-12, Frank Amato was 11-51 from 1997-2002, Dennis Sienicki 37-50 from 1988-96, John Weaver 13-42 from 1982-87, Ray Reid 26-33 from 1976-81, Bob Cornell 17-2 from 1974-75 and Ron Lintz 7-23 from 1971-73.
“These seniors are going to have to take ownership. It is their final season,” Wogomon said. “And it’s about what we do in the weight room. I know down south (at Wawasee) there are kids getting strong ... now is the time to catch up.”