July 23, 2016

Partly sunny

Medina High School football coach Ray Hradek resigns

MEDINA — Medina High School is about to have its fourth different head football coach in four seasons.

Ray Hradek, who led the Bees to a 4-6 overall record and 2-3 mark in the Northeast Ohio Conference Valley Division in 2011, resigned Tuesday.

Ray Hradek gives instruction to several players before Medina’s charity game at Cleveland Browns Stadium. Hradek resigned as Medina’s football coach Tuesday. (GAZETTE PHOTO BY JUDD SMERGLIA)

Hradek, who teaches at Midpark High, cited the difficulty of not being at Medina full time as the reason for his resignation.

“(It was tough) going through the rigors of trying to get everything done at one place, then not really having the time available to connect to the (Medina) kids and community the way I think it should be done,” Hradek said. “To me, connecting and building relationships is vital.”

Asked if Hradek would have been the coach in 2012 had he not resigned, Medina athletic director Jeff Harrison said, “We never reached that point of discussion. He resigned prior to us talking about that.”

Harrison, who took over as AD in 2009-10, is now faced with the task of hiring his third head coach.

Greg Reed, who led the Bees to their first playoff berth in 2006, coached Medina from 2005-09. He resigned in Harrison’s first year on the job.

Harrison then hired Larry Laird, who led the Bees to a 9-3 record and the school’s first playoff victory in 2010. Laird resigned because he did not want to move his children out of the Avon Lake school system, and continuing to coach at Medina would have made it difficult for him to follow their athletic careers with the Shoremen.

Harrison then turned to Hradek, who also lasted only one season.

“I’m looking for someone that can be here more than one year,” Harrison said. “I’m looking for someone to take ownership of the program from top to bottom. I’m looking for someone who has a passion for it and wants to make it a career at Medina High School.”

The Bees are in the extremely competitive six-team NOC Valley Division, which this year sent Mentor, Solon and Twinsburg to the Division I playoffs. The earliest Medina could join the River Division would be for the 2013 football season.

Harrison said the job will be posted internally first. If a suitable coach is not found within the Medina system, candidates from outside will be interviewed. Medina currently has no teaching positions available, but Harrison said that could change during or after the school year.

“That’s ideal,” Harrison said of having a head coach who teaches in the system. “That’s obviously the preferred, but in our financial times, that’s a tall task at this point.”

Asked if there was any chance Laird might be brought back, Harrison said, “His desire is to not move his family. That would mean there would not be any chance of Larry Laird returning.”

Harrison would like to have the new coach in place by the first of the year, but said he wouldn’t rush to fill the opening.

With next year’s seniors slated to play for their fourth different head coach in as many years, Harrison’s primary goal is finding the right person for the job — for 2012 and beyond.

“It’s important,” he said of developing continuity. “It’s what’s right for the kids.”

Contact Rick Noland at (330) 721-4061 or noland@medina-gazette.com.

Rick Noland About Rick Noland

Rick Noland is the Cavs beat writer for The Gazette and the author of "Over Time," a compilation of stories he's written in more than 30 years as a journalist. He can be reached at 330-721-4061 or rnoland@medina-gazette.com. Like him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter.