New Evergreen football coach Evan Karchner is fulfilling his goal of being a head coach, and he hopes to turn around the Vikings’ program in the process.
Karchner, 28, is a 2012 graduate of Maumee High School where he was a two-time All-Ohio linebacker. He then went on to play in college at Bowling Green State University and graduated from there with a bachelor’s degree in integrated mathematics and a master’s in education.
In coaching he has served on staffs at both the high school and college level. He was a part of staffs at Wake Forest University, BGSU, and Youngstown State in college. Karchner also had a stint as an assistant coach down in Texas at the high school level, and most recently spent the last two seasons as defensive coordinator at Eastwood.
He always knew he wanted to coach, and the best way to do that was through teaching. Therefore, he made his intentions known from the outset.
“I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do or what I wanted to teach, but I knew I wanted to coach. Usually the easiest route there is to teach,” Karchner said. “I was one of those guys that showed up at the first day of education classes, they’re like ‘hey why do you want to teach?’ I said ‘I want to coach.’ And you know, everybody rolled their eyes and people say that’s not a great answer. But I always said why not? We want teachers to be involved in extracurricular activities and involved in things outside of the classroom and create that relationship. I always looked at that as a positive thing.”
He no doubt made a strong impression on the administration at Evergreen, as the same day he interviewed he received a call from former athletic director Derrick Stoup offering him the job.
“I was quite surprised to get a call back that soon,” admitted Karchner. “He’s like, ‘I met with all the guys I’d interviewed and you were head and shoulders above everybody else.’ Obviously it’s a compliment. I was very excited, but I obviously took a few days to think about it.”
To help make his decision, Karchner further discussed the position with Stoup, attended an Evergreen basketball game to get a feel for the fan support, and re-visited the campus for another look at the facilities. Which included another tour of the modifications to the athletic wing at the high school.
He describes the athletic facilities at Evergreen as being some of the “best around.”
“It’s really nice,” the new coach said. “That just shows that hey the community believes in sports and how important sports are. And they want to be good. Whether it’s football, soccer, cross country, they want to be good at sports. And they’re desperately trying to find people who also want to improve the culture around there. So I was excited because I saw the potential at Evergreen and what it could become with the right guidance.”
Since taking over the program in January, Karchner has had ample time to get familiar with his team. He likes the character of the kids he will be coaching.
“Evergreen has a lot of untapped potential,” said Karchner on what was appealing about the job. “Especially with the facilities; the kids they have. They do have athletes. I’m just talking boys sports, right. Obviously I’m fixated on boys sports. I went to a basketball game, I went to a baseball game…they compete. They have some really athletic kids. To be honest, when I met the kids that play football and the kids that I got to come out to raise numbers, they want to be good. You go some places where kids, hey maybe it’s not that important to them. Or, the kids don’t always have the best attitudes. Since the moment I stepped on campus (at Evergreen), these kids have been very easy to work with.”
Support from both the community and the administration made it even more attractive. Everyone is on the same page in their desire to get the program headed in the right direction.
One of those people who wants the best for the program is Evergreen Superintendent Eric Smola, who thinks they got a good one in Karchner.
“Coach Karchner’s passion for kids and building a competitive program was obvious to us throughout the process,” said Smola. “His commitment to player development, knowledge of the game and competitive spirit was what we were looking for in our next coach.”
Having spent a number of years as an assistant coach at multiple levels, Karchner feels he is ready to take on the task of being a head coach.
“I kind of wanted that responsibility and to push myself. Because, you know, I’m trying to also prove something to myself,” he said on why now was the right time for his first head coaching gig. “Part of being in this profession, especially college wise, people always say hey ‘you’re always chasing the next thing.’ But I’ve always looked at myself as I never really wanted to make myself comfortable. Once I got comfortable somewhere I felt like I wasn’t growing anymore. Right now I don’t have any kids so I kind of wanted to make that leap and push myself and see if I could do something special — a little bit for myself, profesionally, and then to be able to do something special for Evergreen.”
Karchner always wants to make an impact wherever he’s at. In his interview he did not promise championships, he just wants to have a positive influence.
“I just said hey guys I’m not gonna promise you guys I’m gonna win championships, or make the playoffs, or win this many games. Like I know that’s what you guys want. I’m not gonna promise that. Do I want it to happen, yes. Do I want to win games, yes. Do I want to win championships, of course. That’s all fun. But I said the one thing I promise is I’m gonna make this place better than how I found it. The day I leave I want you guys to say hey he made this place better,” said Karchner.
He aims to fulfill that promise not only to those who hired him, but everyone invested in the program.
“Coach Karchner’s energy and enthusiasm to build a winning program, in addition to his focus on developing all areas of the student athlete, made him a great fit as our next head football coach,” said Smola.
Karchner looks to create a tough and hard-nosed football team. One that controls what they can control.
“You can’t always control if you are the most athletic team. I’ve learned that (in) college or high school. You can’t always control if someone is better than you. But you can control how hard you play. And then how physical you play,” said Karchner.
His belief is that how hard you play reflects the type of culture you have as a team.
“We want to be able to run the football, control the line of scrimmage, and we want to be able to stop the run. We’re gonna pride ourselves on that first, and then all the other stuff comes second,” he said.
The work has already begun for Karchner and his staff as teams in Ohio were allowed to begin the five-day acclimatization period on Monday. Official practices begin on Monday, Aug. 1, and the Vikings’ first scrimmage is Aug. 5 at home versus Northwood.
Evergreen travels to North Baltimore to begin the season Friday, Aug. 19.
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010.