Clear Fork alumnus Aaron Brokaw getting straight to work as new Colts football coach
BELLVILLE — It didn't take long for Aaron Brokaw to put on his head coaching hat again.
After being board approved as the next Clear Fork football coach late last week, Brokaw took the weekend to adjust to his new reality and, when Monday morning came around, he got right to work.
The 1999 Clear Fork grad strolled the halls of his alma mater Monday morning and made himself available for any and all Colts looking to play football next season. He met with players in every class and listened to what they wanted out of the 2023 season. He talked with the players who will be seniors next year and found out what their goals were as well as what they were looking for in a coach.
Then, later that afternoon, he opened the weight room for any player wishing to get in some extra work. He had a full room as soon as the final bell rang letting classes out for the day.
Brokaw was one of 32 applicants who put in their names for the position after former coach and Clear Fork grad Dave Carroll was non-renewed by the Clear Fork Administration despite leading the Colts to a 10-2 record, the fourth 10-plus win season since 2010, a Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference championship and earning MOAC and Division IV Northwest District Coach of the Year honors.
The eight-person Clear Fork Football Coach Search Committee recommended Brokaw for hire, and less than a week later a special board meeting was held to unanimously approve the hire.
"It has been a very exciting and very humbling experience so far," Brokaw said. "It is one of those things that there is always an appeal to come home if the opportunity is right. I remember the great experience I had playing for my coaches and the impact they had on me. and it was always something I wanted to do if the time was right."
During Brokaw's playing days at Clear Fork under the legendary Dan Sparks, he helped the Colts make the playoffs in 1999, 1997 and 1998. Shortly after that, he began his coaching career with the Colts, running the middle school program before being promoted to coach freshman football.
He then spent time at Lexington from 2005-2011, learning under the likes of Dave Kaple and BJ Payne, before getting his first crack at a head coaching gig at South Central. He was in charge of the Trojans for the 2012 and 2013 seasons when they went 3-17.
Brokaw understands the expectations for the Clear Fork football program, which has won three MOAC championships since joining the league in 2017 and 17 playoff appearances, including four in the last six years. It also helps to have played in the program and understand the passion of high school football in The Valley.
"Clear Fork is a place that has high football expectations," Brokaw said. "The expectations are there and you have to stay true to who you are as a coach and make sure you are doing the right things. I wouldn't say there was any extra pressure because coaching is already a high-pressure situation to begin with."
Brokaw most recently was the offensive coordinator at Fredericktown under Clear Fork alum Will Hartley. He is a history teacher at Fredericktown, but pending board approval will be the financial literacy teacher and weight room coordinator at Clear Fork in the near future.
Brokaw said his time in four different programs will help him as he transitions back into a head coaching role.
"The more places you are at, the more experience you receive, the more you learn that there are different ways of going out and doing things," he said. "I have been extremely blessed to have coached with some of the best people I have in my life. BJ Payne at Lexington really let his assistants coach and I felt like that helped me as a younger guy learn and grow.
"Most recently, coaching with Will Hartley at Fredericktown, he had a lot of faith in me and let me do a lot of things on the offensive side of the ball within our system. He gave me a huge deal of trust and was great to work for. He was another Clear Fork guy, so we grew up on the same ideas and principles."
But first things first. Brokaw couldn't wait to get in the building on Monday to spend some time getting to know his players on both a personal and athletic level. He felt encouraged after his meetings with the Colts and said he cannot wait to get started in the summer.
"It is all about helping the kids and making sure they achieve the goals that they have," Brokaw said. "Hopefully that includes winning football games, but also helping them with things in their lives. A lot of times as a coach you are put into situations you didn't necessarily expect and sometimes kids need you to be hard on them and also a fair and consistent figure in their lives."
This article originally appeared on Mansfield News Journal: Clear Fork grad Aaron Brokaw is new Colts football coach