Aker hired as Cloverdale coach

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

CLOVERDALE -- To little fanfare Monday, the Cloverdale Community School Corp. hired its new varsity football coach for the 2007-08 campaign.

The board voted unanimously Monday to hire Nathan Aker to replace Jamie Steffy, who announced his resignation from the position earlier this year.

Board Vice President Pamelia Hepfer made the motion to hire the middle school physical education teacher as varsity football coach with board member David Brinkman making the second.

Aker worked under Steffy as an assistant coach last year, when the Clovers finished the season at 3-8.

Aker graduated from South Putnam High School in 2001 and played collegiately at Franklin College. In addition to serving as an assistant at Cloverdale, he was a volunteer assistant coach at South Putnam under Mark Wildman and served as a student assistant coach at Franklin.

On Tuesday, Aker cited having a chance to coach close to home and working with the current crop of players at Cloverdale were reasons to take the position.

"Just being here last year and seeing the kind of kids we have," Aker said were reasons for wanting the position.

He stressed the Clovers will have to partake in more vigorous workouts in order to compete with the surrounding schools.

"Everybody is doing it," he said. "We need to do it as well."

Cloverdale High School Principal Sonny Stoltz told the BannerGraphic Aker came highly recommended after playing in Wildman's program at South Putnam.

"His personality and drive for perfection (were reasons for the hiring)," Stoltz said. "We really felt like he fit and he was what we were looking for."

Stoltz said the school had more than 30 candidates that applied for the position. He said the committee directed to recommend a coach to the school board narrowed those applicants down to seven and interviewed five.

"We felt like we found a quality candidate," Stoltz said. "We had some great candidates, a lot of quality candidates. But he's got a lot of support.

"This happened pretty quick," Stoltz added.

Aker replaces Steffy, who announced his resignation in January. Steffy coached Cloverdale for nine years, compiling a 34-61 record. Steffy served as an assistant coach under Mike Parks before taking the head coaching position.

The Clovers have not had a winning record since finishing 7-3 in 1996.

CCSC Supt. Carrie Milner said she was pleased to have Aker come aboard.

"He's really going to be enthusiastic," Milner said.

While at Franklin, Aker was a defensive and offensive lineman. While playing for the Eagles, he was named Team Co-Captain in 2001 and also made the 2001 All-Putnam County Team. In addition, he was named to the Indiana Football Coaches Association All-State Team in 2001.

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