Dan Day the new football boss at Seton Hill University

Courtesy photo A rock outside of Warren High School is spray-painted with the message “Thank U Coach Day” to former Warren football coach Dan Day. Day accepted the head football coaching job at Seton Hill University.

VINCENT — Dan Day is moving on.

In case you hadn’t heard, the former Warren High head football coach has been hired to lead the Seton Hill University gridiron team next season.

It’s a great opportunity for the 31-year-old Day, who was a team captain and star lineman on the Seton Hill gridiron program’s inaugural team in 2005. After graduating, he was also an assistant coach for a couple of years at his alma mater.

Day will be succeeding Isaac Collins, who guided the Griffins to a 1-10 campaign last fall and was 13-53 in six seasons at the helm.

SHU is an NCAA Division II school and a member of the Pennsylvania State Athlete Conference (PSAC).

A native of Petersburg, Ohio (near Youngstown), Day is no stranger to rebuilding a football team. At Warren, the Warriors were winless at 0-10 the year before he was hired, and had not enjoyed a winning season since 2009.

“I don’t know what the history was or why there wasn’t success,” said Day when introduced to Warrior Nation last January. “But I do know that coaches at every level make a mistake of football…you get into and enjoy the x’s and o’s portion, and you enjoy coaching on the field. And obviously, that’s a huge piece of it. But, I’ve always believed so much more in culture. That’s what I want to create here, a culture. That takes time, but I see the basketball program and other sports programs here have success. That tells me that it’s not your athletes or the people and personnel in the building, but that it’s a culture issue. And, I’ve always felt as a coach, that’s one of my strengths, identifying and creating culture.”

When the season kicked off in earnest at the end of last August, Warren dropped its first five games. But then, on Saturday Sept. 29, the Warriors erased a two-touchdown halftime deficit and halted a 20-game slide, dating back to 2016, with a 20-14 come-from-behind triumph over visiting Crooksville High.

“It’s all them,” said Day after the win. “I mean, all these guys needed to do was to play as hard as they could. And in the first half we didn’t do that at all, but in the second half, they did and gave a great effort.”

Warren also gave a great effort on Friday Oct. 19 Senior Night when it defeated the Alexander Spartans, 33-21. It was the Warriors’ first Senior Night win since 2012.

“It’s hard honestly to put into words this moment being so emotional,” said Day after the victory. “Anyone that hasn’t watched us play, you can easily just look at the paper and see we were 1-7, that’s old Warren. I can assure you this isn’t old Warren. The way that these seniors have laid the foundation for the future. What we looked to do this year was change culture. For them to battle the way they have all year and to come out and put an exclamation point on their last game here as seniors and win this game in a controlling fashion. Unbelievable and I’m so proud of what they did.”

The Warriors finished the season 2-8.

Warren will now be seeking its 22nd head football coach in the program’s 59-year history. Whoever the new boss is is expected to have a nice nucleus of returning players to work with in Brandon Simoniette, Kurt Taylor, John Shoup, and Evan Gandee to name but a few,

As for Day, it’s pretty much back to square one with the Seton Hill U football squad. Last year, the Griffins gave up nearly 500 yards and 44 points a game.

Here’s wishing the former Warrior football coach and his family (wife Danielle and three children Daniel Jr., Ellianna, and Lauralyn) good fortune in the New Year.

Ron Johnston is a Marietta Times sports writer, and can be reached at rjohnston@mariettatimes.com

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