Scott Valentine resigns as Madison Rams football coach after one season
MADISON TOWNSHIP — Scott Valentine has resigned as head football coach of the Madison Rams.
The resignation is scheduled to be accepted at the January board meeting. According to an addendum made to the January Madison School Board agenda, Valentine resigned for personal reasons.
The announcement comes a couple of weeks after Ashland High School announced the resignation of football coach Sean Seder. Valentine was the head coach at Ashland before Seder and the opportunity to try and go back home was a main motivator for Valentine's decision.
"My thought process was I did a lot of thinking about the opening at Ashland, which really caught me by surprise," Valentine said. "I truly thought he (Seder) would be there for a long time. So, it caught me off guard. There was a lot of consideration on whether I would apply or not and I made the decision to apply and when I did that, I talked with (Madison Athletic Director) Doug (Rickert) and I felt that if it got out there that I applied and try to come back if I do not get it, it probably wouldn't be a great situation."
Valentine notified the Madison administration on Tuesday about his decision to resign and asked it be made effective immediately so Madison could begin the search for its next head coach as soon as possible.
"Initially, they were going to have to wait for the board meeting a the end of the month to accept it and I didn't want to make them wait," Valentine said. "There were a lot of different circumstances that came into play with my thought process and the things going on with myself and my family. It all played into that."
Valentine accepted an offer to become the varsity football coach of the Madison Rams on Dec. 24 of 2022. In his one season at the helm, the Rams went 1-9 with their lone win coming in Week 8 in a 35-0 win over Mount Vernon.
Valentine is best known as the coach that revitalized the Ashland Arrows football program as he is still the all-time wins leader with 130 victories. He helped the Arrows to seven league championships and 10 playoff appearances.
In 26 years of coaching, Valentine compiled a 168-114 record.
After the 2018 season, Valentine stepped away as head coach of the Arrows to watch his sons play college football before getting back into coaching last season. He was the wide receivers coach at Ashland University while away from high school football.
Madison will now go on another search for its next head football coach, which will be its third coach in three years.
Valentine firmly believes the Rams have the pieces in place to turn the program around and knows whoever steps in has the opportunity to be successful right away.
"Those kids were great," Valentine said. "They worked hard and saw a lot of positive things in the offseason and were working very hard to get themselves ready. I really believe they are set up to make growth and have a successful season in place. They have great leaders in place and a great work ethic. Whoever steps in and gets that job has a great group of kids coming back."
The Rams have not posted a winning season since 2014 when they went 7-4 and earned a playoff berth. Since the 2015 season, the Rams are a combined 10-67 and have just five wins since 2016. They have had three winless seasons in the last six years.
Rickert now goes on the hunt for the next football coach at Madison.
"We are going to move on," Rickert said. "We have tough kids, we have a tough community and tough parents. We will find someone who is willing to be here and wants to be here and we will rally behind that guy."
Finding that candidate will be priority No. 1 for the athletic department and it isn't something that will happen overnight. Rickert vows to be patient with the process and make sure the next hire is someone who fits every category he and the rest of the Madison administration are looking for in a head coach.
"What we are going to do is our due diligence," Rickert said. "We are going to do the absolute best we can. Everyone wants to know tomorrow who the new football coach will be and that is how society is. It will be posted internally, but it will also be posted that we want someone with head coach experience and that eliminates some people you usually have internally. We will post it and look at the candidates we get from the outside. We are looking for someone who wants to be here with good morals, good character and a great football coach.
"We are looking for someone with a good track record, who has done well and who wants to build this program. Everything happens for a reason and there is someone out there who is willing to come to Madison, wants to stay at Madison and who wants to make this thing work."
The next coach will be the Rams' third in three years after Dave Stupka was replaced by Valentine in 2022. It isn't exactly an ideal situation to bring in a different head coach for the third straight season, but Rickert wants to get it right for the kids of Madison.
"I just feel really bad for our kids right now," Rickert said. "Our kids gave everything they had to Scott Valentine. They worked and worked and worked and thought they had a guy who believed in them. The kids are hurt right now. Some of them are going to have three head coaches in three years and we never wanted that at Madison. No one wants that for their kids. I feel hurt for the kids right now. We have to keep those guys on the right page and the ones who really want to play football and show what they are made of continue to stay out. The next coach that comes in here will have to do the same. He will have to make sure the kids stay out and does whatever he can do to make sure he is here, wants to be here and that he is Madison."
He also hopes this situation is a learning lesson for the athletes at Madison. Rickert also hopes this could be a moment for the Rams and the community to build up the kids.
"I hope our kids rally around this, unite and play football because they love football and they love Madison," Rickert said. "I want them to show everyone that they can win football games and they can play hard and play to the whistle. That is what our kids did this year as they did everything they were asked to do and they are hurt right now. We will bounce back. We are Madison.
"These are times that our true character is tested. Our kids are kids of character and they continued to fight all these years through two coaches to give Madison and its football program all they had. Now, we are asking them to do it again and even though it will be tough, we will pick ourselves up and show our true character."
This article originally appeared on Mansfield News Journal: Madison Rams football coach Scott Valentine resigns