Received a call from Jim Place on Friday and before he could say anything, I asked him what head football coaching job he was taking. Honestly, I asked him more in fun, but his answer was Cincinnati Withrow. Needless to say, I applauded him.
Place is a tremendous football coach. We talked many years ago at the Bayless/Byars Youth Football Camp. He was the camp organizer for Martin and Keith. At the time he was the head football coach at Dayton Chaminade-Julienne. Knew of him before that, when he was the head coach at Middletown. His last coaching job was at Hamilton.
Relating to kids is his strength. Relating to the inner city kids, is what I personally consider his real strength. At 64, he is accepting the challenge of keeping the football program at Withrow one of the best in the city. But, let me be quick to say, Doc Gamble(former head coach at Withrow) did an excellent job in his two stints at Withrow. Gamble moved on to the UC football program. Place's honesty and understanding comes through just watching him coach. Getting kids to believe in themselves is big. Understanding the struggles that many inner city kids go through is big. Place not only understands, but puts that understanding to work.
Head football coach only. No teaching. No special programs. No supervision. Counseling football players within the program is a given. Helping promote individual college prospects for sure. But no other required duties. Leading the Withrow football program and developing young men will be his fulltime job.
How important is the job? Still living in the Dayton area, he will make the trip down I-75 every day. There are more benefits for Withrow, but that can be mentioned another time.
Jim Place is just one of those "special coaches." Chuck Kyle also comes to mind. They just love to coach. Being in their age bracket, I appreciate everything that they do for kids. For me, personally, although he must be a little crazy, having Jim Place at 7on7's, at clinics, but, most of all, roaming the sidelines, is really exciting. McCallister will be on the sidelines for a Cincinnati Withrow game this fall for sure.