Former Blanchester High School football coach Jack O’Rourke will be recommended as the new head football coach in Hillsboro, Supt. Jim Smith said Wednesday.
O’Rourke’s seven-year run at Blanchester ended with his resignation last December. Smith called him a “seasoned coach” and said he will be introduced at a special school board meeting June 15.
When he resigned from Blanchester, the Wilmington News Journal reported that O’Rourke said he felt support from the community and administration would not be enough for him to continue.
“Maybe they do need new blood in here … bring a new perspective,” he said.
A 1976 graduate of Blanchester High School, O’Rourke finished his BHS coaching career with a 28-42 record. He had two winning seasons in seven, a 7-3 mark in 2011 and a 6-4 record in 2012.
After back-to-back 2-8 seasons his first 2 years, O’Rourke won seven and then six games and appeared to have things headed in the right direction.
But the Wildcats followed with seasons of four, four and three wins over his final three years. Injuries hampered the team’s fortunes over those three seasons.
As a player, O’Rourke was one of the best in BHS history. He quarterbacked the Wildcats in the 1970s while his father Jack O’Rourke Sr. was the head coach. Blanchester went 6-3-1, 8-1-1 and 10-0 during O’Rourke’s sophomore, junior and senior years as quarterback. The younger O’Rourke later won 143 games in 30 seasons as a varsity football coach.
O’Rourke will replace Matt Hodge, who announced in April that he would not be returning as coach next season.
“It’s a family decision,” Hodge said. “I have a newborn baby (and two other sons ages 6 and 12). I look at my wife’s schedule and my schedule with football and it’s just not fair to leave them with a babysitter for 10 to 12 hours a day. I have three boys and an amazing wife who supported me all the way and it’s time for me to give back a little there.”
Hodge’s Hillsboro teams were a combined 7-23 in three seasons, but he did not inherit an ideal situation. Hillsboro football had went 2-8, 2-8 and then 0-10 the year before Hodge was hired.
Mark Huber of the Wilmington News Journal and Jeff Gilliland of The Times-Gazette contributed to this story.
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