John Curtis Daily Union Sports Editor
Shelbyville Daily Union
---- — Shelbyville High School landed another Hall of Fame football coach to try to get back to the playoffs, Mark Ramsey.
What does Coach Ramsey say we will see on the football field next fall?
“We will compete on every play,” Coach Ramsey said. “We talk about winning plays. Then winning the next one and winning the next one after that. If 11 guys win plays, you got a chance. We have to compete from the snap to the whistle on every play and not get down on ourselves. We will be ready to play Week 1. We’ll get better Week 2 and better Week 3.”
Coach Ramsey is originally from Moweaqua and lettered in football and baseball at Millikin University. He coached at Oblong for four years as the head baseball coach and assisting in football and basketball.
In 1983, Ramsey went to Moweaqua and was the head football coach for nine years. Moweaqua and Assumption consolidated into Central A&M and Ramsey coached another 21 years as head coach, 30 years total. His record was 239-93 with a state championship, four state runner-ups and 24 playoff appearances in 30 years.
According to Ramsey his football philosophy hasn’t changed much over his career.
“To be successful you gotta run the football and stop the run,” Ramsey said. “Those are the two points of emphasis.”
The Rams will run a wing gun, similar to what Tolono and others run.
“There is so much you can do off of that and you can throw,” Ramsey said. “We will throw, but not 30 or 40 times. We’ll throw 15-16, maybe 20-25. It depends on what the defense gives us. We want to control the line of scrimmage, get 1st downs and stop 1st downs. We will run five or six basic plays. The rest depends on the personnel. We will attack the perimeter, inside, and throw. It’s based off how well we run the ball.”
What was appealing to Ramsey to come to Shelbyville and coach, after he retired from full-time teaching?
“More than anything, there are good kids here,” Ramsey said. “There are coachable kids here. They are willing to work. That’s what you look for. If they are fun to work with and they give you everything they got, that’s what makes it enjoyable. I like the kids. They are smart athletes, willing to put it on the line. These kids won’t lay down.”
Ramsey will still live in Moweaqua, as his wife works in Decatur. However, he will be in the school building this fall, doing some part-time teaching. After retiring from full-time teaching, Ramsey was looking at a new career. He was contacted by Shelbyville to coach football.
“This was a way to do what I like to do, coach,” Ramsey said. “This has been my lifestyle for 34 years.”
Ramsey’s coaching staff includes some familiar and some new faces. Ramsey will be the offensive coordinator. Bill Duckett and Greg Harkins will coach freshmen as well as be position coaches on the varsity. Brad Hilbert wioll be back to coach the line and be a co-defensive coordinator with Paul Workman, who will be a secondary coach.
Mike Allen will be an offensive line coach. He was an assistant for seven years under Ramsey at Central A&M. Allen played offensive guard at Washington University in St. Louis. Brent Weakly will be the inside linebacker and running back coach, as well as be the JV coach.
Summer Training Schedule
Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays: Weights
Saturday, June 22: 7 on 7 at Arcola, 10 a.m.
Thursday, July 11: 7 on 7 at Pana
Saturday, July 13: 7 on 7 at Central A&M
Wednesday, Thursday, July 24-25: Camp
Friday, July 26: 7 on 7 at Clinton
Monday-Wednesday, July 29-31: Camp
Wednesday, August 14: 1st Day of Practice