COLUMBIANA, Ohio (WYTV) – This week’s Hometown Hero is one of the longest-tenured high school football coaches in the area. Columbiana Coach Bob Spaite takes pride in helping his players do well on the field, in the classroom, and after they graduate.
Spaite is in his 24th year as head football coach at Columbiana High School and since the beginning, he’s worked hard to not only make his players better on the field but to also make them better people.
“Our first two goals for our program — and have been since the first day I took this job and continue to be — graduate with honors and be a positive role model,” Spaite said.
He said if they can get their athletes to understand that it’s about being a student and someone to look up to first, then the program is a success.
“The models we go by are really going to help us with our endeavors in life,” said Frank Rupert, a senior linebacker.
Spaite also knows that winning games is a big part of that success — and his teams have won plenty.
Including playoffs, his record is 150-85 since taking over in 1994.
However, he believes that preparing players for life after high school is what’s most important.
“Nothing can prepare you more for life than the lessons that Coach Spaite taught us,” said former player Eamon Eavers. “He always taught us that life’s never going to be fair to you and it’s going to keep you down on the ground sometimes. You just got to get back up.”
Spaite credits a lot of his success to the effort of his players, the community, and the staff at Columbiana.
“I’ve been very blessed here at Columbiana. I’ve had great principals, I’ve had great superintendents, I’ve had great administrations, great school boards have been hugely supporting,” he said.
Superintendent Don Mook said it’s Spaite’s ability to connect and relate to the kids that sets him apart.
“He’s gone as far as to put his own roof over kids’ heads when they’ve had some hard times. He sacrifices a lot in terms of time, money, family time. He centers on all kids. It’s easy to center on the superstars but he centers on all kids and that’s one of the things that makes him very special.”
Spaite hopes and prays that the young men who go through the football program take home one thing.
“Know what it means to be a good person. A good man, good husband, good father,” he said.
The Clippers finished the regular season at 7-3 and punched their ticket for Week 11. Coach Spaite and the team will travel to Rootstown this Friday night for the first round of the playoffs.