(SALEM) - The Salem School Board will be asked to confirm RJ Hartsfield as the Salem Lions' new varsity football head coach when the board convenes for its regular monthly meeting Monday.
Chad Fleetwood of the Leader Democrat reports that Superintendent Dr. Lynn Reed said in an email Wednesday afternoon that Hartsfield will be recommended for the coaching position as well as a PE teaching position.
She also said Hank Weedin, long-time varsity boys basketball coach, will be recommended as the new athletic director.
The positions had been filled by Myron Moriarty, who recently resigned to accept a position at Bloomington South High School.
Rumors began circulating regarding the new football coach soon after the committee wrapped up its final round of interviews Monday evening.
Altogether, 25-30 applications were submitted for the job. An interview committee, comprised by SHS Principal Derek Smith, Bradie Shrum Lower Elementary Principal Jim Ralston and Weedin, was charged with the task of narrowing the field down to four potential candidates to be interviewed by the board.
Board member Jason Pepmeier said all four proved to be strong candidates. "It wasn't an easy process since all four people that we interviewed were very well-qualified and had all done a great job in their current positions," he said, adding that three of the candidates were Salem graduates with strong ties to the football program.
Board member and Salem Football Alumni Association co-founder Mark Abbott said a reception is planned for the new coach immediately following next Monday's meeting. He agreed that deciding between four high-quality candidates was a difficult process.
"We were fortunate enough to have four really good candidates, which made it a tough decision. I think we probably would've been OK had we gone with any of the four - but we ultimately had to choose who we felt was the best one for the job," he explained. "The board wanted someone that was energetic and showed a lot of excitement and enthusiasm for the program, so with three of the four having ties to Salem and to the program it made it a tough job."
Hartsfield, a 2004 SHS graduate, was a prolific running back for the Lions during his record-breaking high school career. He went on to enjoy similar success at Franklin College, where he was a team captain and a four-year member of the Grizzlies football program. Since graduating from FC in 2008, Hartsfield has served as an elemenatry school teacher and assistant coach at Paoli. He has been on Paoli's football staff for five seasons, serving as the Rams' offensive coordinator and strength and conditioning coach in recent years.
Monday's school board meeting is at 6:30 p.m. in the high school presentation room. A reception for Hartsfield and Weedin will follow in the cafeteria.
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