SIDNEY — After 12 years leading Sidney’s football program, Adam Doenges announced Monday he is resigning.
Doenges, who led the resurrection the program after a troubled period a decade ago, said he’s grown too fatigued to give the time and effort he feels is necessary.
“Everyone who has done the job of being a head coach, whether it’s football or not, knows how much time and energy it requires,” Doenges said. “I just feel I’ve gotten to the point where I’m out of that required energy to run a program the way it’s supposed to be run. It’s just time for me to move on.
“… I have other things I’ve gotten interested in. Football has always been important to me, but it’s not what defines me. Those other things I’m interested in, I want to give them a shot. Now is a good time for me to move on.”
Doenges, who has worked at Sidney since 2005, will continue to teach in the district and serve as the girls track coach.
Doenges informed players of his decision shortly after noon on Monday and released a resignation letter thanking the Sidney community for supporting the program during his tenure.
“I guess I could have just easily said in the letter ‘I’m resigning because I’m tired,’ but I wanted to make it known what a great situation (Sidney) is,” Doenges said. “… It’s as much a letter to say how it’s a great job for someone to take. There’s a lot great stuff here.
“I wanted to put that out there for (potential candidates) to know Sidney’s a good spot. I know (athletic director) Mitch (Hoying) will search high and low for the right person to continue the program. It’s a great job, and I hope good candidates apply for it.”
Sidney has won at least five games five times in the last eight years and has won at least four games seven of those eight seasons; its worst record in that time was a 3-7 campaign in 2019 in which it lost four games by eight points or less.
The program has a plethora of underclassmen set to return. In addition, Doenges said the support of two booster groups, the athletic department and the community at large is outstanding.
“Usually that’s a central gripe among coaches, no community support or issues with the administration,” Doenges said. “I’ve never had that gripe. Most guys have issues just trying to get one booster group, and we have two. That’s a pretty unique situation.
“The amount of support and the amount of things (the booster groups) do and hours they work, it’s awesome. I’ve always had a good relationship sitting down with them, talking about the needs of the program and what needs purchased. It makes things a lot easier.”
Doenges coached the program’s freshman team for two years after starting in the district in 2005, then served as a varsity assistant and defensive coordinator before taking over as the program’s head coach in 2011.
He is the second longest-serving coach in program history and also has the second most wins of any coach; he finishes with a career record of 53-71.
Doenges, a St. Marys alumnus, took over a program in dire straits in 2011.
The squad finished 0-10 in 2010, just as the school district was continuing to deal with funding shortfalls. Pay-to-play fees had soared, and layoffs resulted in former coach Dan Cairns having his teaching position eliminated and being forced to leave the district to find employment.
The turmoil led to many students transferring to neighboring schools or moving from the city entirely.
Sidney finished 0-10 in Doenges’ first year. The squad surrendered 531 points that season and scored 106.
“We knew it was going to be an uphill battle,” Doenges said. “We had a $450 pay-to-play then, and our numbers hurt. The booster groups did everything they could, but that kind of wiped out any bank account the booster groups had. It was pretty draining, not just on the football program. That was a tough time for the school district.
“It was a tough time, those first few years. But I learned quite a bit. At the end of the day, we still had great kids and great families. We were able to make it work.”
Levies were passed to help the school district’s financial situation, and Doenges worked to rehabilitate the football program.
Sidney broke a 20-game losing streak by beating rival St. Marys 10-7 in overtime in Week 1 of 2012. The squad finished 4-6 that year and in 2013, then 2-8 in 2014.
“I knew it wasn’t going to be a quick fix,” Doenges said. “As far as trying to get kids to play and not letting them leave our district, I knew I had to work from the bottom up. I went to a lot of youth events. Not just youth football, but youth basketball, youth wrestling, youth baseball, being out at Custenborder and watching those games down there of 9- and 10-year-olds. Making myself noticed, talking to kids and building trust with them.
“I think it worked a little bit. That’s when I first saw some of our bigger players, when they were in third or fourth grade. Whether it was Isaiah Bowser wrestling or Andre Gordon or Devan Rogers playing basketball or countless other kids playing baseball. Just getting them to know me. That’s the way I knew it, growing up in St. Marys and seeing the coaches around.
“… That’s always been an important part to me. But I’ve gotten to the point where some stuff like that, I’ve just run out of the energy to do those kind of things.”
The program enjoyed a turnaround starting in 2015.
With Bowser, Gordon and Rogers (all of whom are still playing sports collegiately for Division I universities) and a host of other players who increased the program numbers back into the 80s, Sidney finished 6-4 in 2015, its first winning season since 2003.
The squad was hurt by injuries and finished 4-6 in 2016, but the program had one of its best seasons in 2017. The Yellow Jackets finished 10-2 overall and advanced to the playoffs for the second time in program history.
Sidney didn’t suffer a dramatic drop off after big graduation losses in 2017. The squad won at least five games in each 2018, 2020 and 2021; it finished 3-7 in a 2019 campaign in which it suffered four losses by eight points or less.
The team won the Miami Valley League Valley Division title in 2021, which was the program’s first league title in 50 years.
The Yellow Jackets finished this season 4-7; the squad pulled even at 4-4 after beating Fairborn on Oct. 7 but lost its last three games.
“I’m going to remember a lot,” Doenges said. “… It’s easy to point out (2017), but I come back a lot to the 0-10 season, that first year. When you’re 28-years-old — not that I thought I knew it all, I certainly did not, but you really don’t know what it’s like until you take the job.
“No matter how many times other head coaches will tell you that, you don’t realize it. That first year, knowing we weren’t going to be very good, having the fear some days that there weren’t going to be any kids there to go out and practice. But they always showed up. No matter how bad the losses we had, they always showed up. I think about that 0-10 season quite a bit, just as far as those kids showing up and giving everything they had.
“… Then the following year, beating St. Marys on a field goal to break the 0-20 streak, that was pretty neat to do against my alma mater.”
Doenges said he looks forward to continuing to teach and coach track in the district.
“I’m excited about track,” Doenges said. “I’ve been doing that for the last couple of years. It’s definitely a different speed then what football is. I enjoy it.
“I still enjoy coaching, just don’t have the required amount of energy to run a football program. Not planning on going anywhere else; happy with Sidney. Just time to move on (from football).”