Football: New coach Wade Bartholomew ready to build bonds with Olentangy Braves

Former Bloom-Carroll football coach Wade Bartholomew has been hired for the same role at Olentangy, succeeding Mark Solis, who stepped down after nine seasons. Bartholomew led Bloom-Carroll to a 67-25 record in eight seasons and Division IV state semifinal appearances in each of the last two years.
Former Bloom-Carroll football coach Wade Bartholomew has been hired for the same role at Olentangy, succeeding Mark Solis, who stepped down after nine seasons. Bartholomew led Bloom-Carroll to a 67-25 record in eight seasons and Division IV state semifinal appearances in each of the last two years.

New Olentangy football coach Wade Bartholomew is all about building relationships. To him, that’s the key to success on the field.

It’s worked just about everywhere he’s been over his 11 seasons as a coach, as he’s compiled a 77-45 record at Bloom-Carroll, Chillicothe Huntington and Gallipolis Gallia Academy.

“To me, people are people,” Bartholomew said. “That’s a philosophy I live by. We built that internal motivation (at previous stops) by buying into them as a person. To me, that’s the first thing I want to do. I want to get to know (the players) that were on the team last year. I want to know what they want to do (and) what they like to do.”

He spent the last eight seasons at Bloom-Carroll, where he was 67-25 while leading the Bulldogs to Division IV state semifinal appearances in each of the last two years. His teams won the last four MSL-Buckeye Division championships.

“At Bloom-Carroll, it was helping (players) find their passion,” Bartholomew said. “Ingraining yourself into their personal lives and making them feel like people is what we did. The stuff on the field took care of itself because of that. The kids wanted to work hard for us, they wanted to play hard (and) they wanted to get better.

Bartholomew turned around a Huntington program that had lost 37 consecutive games, going 5-5 in his second and last season.

“Going to Huntington, it wasn’t X’s and O’s that turned it around, it was building relationships,” he said. “It was driving kids from one end of the county to the other just to get them home or bringing them food because I know they didn’t have lunch or buying them presents because they didn’t have any.”

Bartholomew won’t have as big of a reclamation project with the Braves, who finished 3-8 overall and 1-4 in the OCC-Cardinal last season, falling to Big Walnut 24-20 in the first round of the Division II, Region 7 playoffs.

The three wins were Olentangy’s fewest since it went 3-7 in 2009. The eight losses were its most since it went 0-10 in 1990.

The Braves, however, reached the playoffs in each of the last eight seasons under Mark Solis, who resigned after guiding Olentangy to a 68-36 record, a Division II state semifinal appearance in 2014 and three league championships in nine years.

“I’m really excited (with Bartholomew),” athletics director Jay Wolfe said. “It was a little bit different than when we hired coach Solis because we hired him in May. We could do some different things. ... We could have a committee. We interviewed more (candidates) this time. Our pool was deeper and it was really hard to get to the final four and even harder to get to the final two.”

Olentangy had about three dozen applicants and interviewed nine candidates, according to Wolfe.

Freshman wide receiver Jackson Wiley was one of six players on the committee.

“(Bartholomew) seemed like he really cared the most,” Wiley said. “Not just about the job, but about the kids. He’ll build good relationship with all of us ... like a friend and a coach at the same time.”

Wiley emerged in the second half of the season and ended up second on the team with 440 yards receiving and two touchdowns. He did it on 20 receptions, giving him a team-best 22.0 yards per catch.

Other key players eligible to return include sophomores Will Beinecke (LB), Ethan Grunkemeyer (QB) and Angelo McCullum (DL) and junior Ethan Rindlaub (WR/DB).

“I feel like we’re going to be really good next year,” Wiley said. “I think we have a lot of potential with our young guys and our upperclassmen.”

mrich@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekRich

This article originally appeared on ThisWeek: Football: Olentangy hires former Bloom-Carroll coach Bartholomew

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