Marshalltown High School was looking for a football coach who understood the history of the Bobcat program. Someone whose plan best suited the Bobcats moving forward. And someone who had a vision to make the program even stronger than it already is.
That man is Aaron Shipley.
Shipley, who served as the Bobcat defensive line coach the past three seasons under former coach Dave Holdiman, was offered the position over the weekend and accepted the responsibility of leading the MHS gridders shortly there after.
"It is hard to put into words what this means to me and my family," said Shipley, who graduated from West Marshall High School in 2005. "It's an honor and I am really excited."
Shipley's acceptance of the position ends a long coaching search that drew interest from other internal candidates as well as some instate and out-of-state football coaches.
MHS Principal Aiddy Phomvisay said the three finalists included Shipley, an out-of-state candidate from Texas and an instate candidate who eventually removed himself from consideration after taking a job elsewhere.
"Coach Shipley is the perfect balance between experience as well as youth and energy," Phomvisay said. "He has a tremendous plan and his vision is to make the program even stronger than it already is."
Shipley replaces Holdiman, who guided the Bobcats to a 57-44 record in 10 seasons at the helm. Holdiman's now former defensive line coach said that the Bobcats won't look much different under his direction.
"We won't change much at all offensively," said Shipley, who played collegiately at William Penn and also served as an assistant coach at Oskaloosa. "I would like to have an even quicker tempo and push the envelope even more. Defensively, we will stay with the 4-3 and just work on shoring things up on that side of the ball."
Formal approval of Shipley's appointment to head football coach will be on the May 20 Board of Education agenda. Phomvisay though said Shipley has already hit the ground running.
"He will have a strong ability to recruit players to the program and has worked so hard already," Phomvisay said. "We are in a lot of transition and numbers are down, but we know his vision will help turn that trend around.
"There is no magic bullet to doing that, otherwise, someone who would have already done it," Shipley said. "There has to be a systemic approach to the process. And we can actively recruit kids to play for the Bobcats."
See Wednesday's T-R for more information on the Bobcats' new football coach.