CARTHAGE — Jason Coffman will take over the head coaching duties for Carthage football this coming season. He replaces Sam Millich who ended his 19-year run as head coach following the end of last season.
Coffman is no stranger to the program, he coached beside Millich for all 19 years and played football at Carthage when his father, Terry Coffman, coached the team.
“I’m very excited, it’s certainly a big challenge and I’m looking forward to it,” Jason Coffman said.
Carthage athletic director, Jason Brown, said Coffman was the clear choice to take over the program.
"Yea, he's been our assistant coach for a number of years and we're very comfortable with him taking over the program," Brown said.
Being around the football program for so long has shaped who Coffman is as a coach.
“I grew up with my father being the head coach and Sam being his assistant and Sam kind of went with it from there,” Coffman said. “He kind of carried the torch and kept the tradition alive and they did things very similar. I have a different temperament than Sam at times. He’s an excitable coach and sometimes I can be a little bit more laid back and sometimes I’m a little bit more excitable than he was so it will probably be a little different for the kids but hopefully in a positive way.”
This isn’t the first time Coffman has taken over for a longtime coach. Back in March, he took over for Kirk Ventiquattro as coach of the Carthage boys lacrosse team. Ventiquattro had coached Comets for 30 seasons before ending his career in 2018.
Coffman expects coaching football to bring its own new challenges.
“Obviously they’re two completely different sports and lacrosse was something that I was always better at, when I graduated football I went on to play lacrosse, but nothing is like Friday night,” Coffman said. “I’m so excited for that. Our first game this year is on a Saturday so I have to wait to weeks but the Friday nights are just something else, I can’t wait.
“The lacrosse you play two or three games a week, where as football you get four days to prepare for a team. As soon as the game ends on Friday night, you take one day off and that Sunday you start preparing for the next team.”
Terry Coffman’s football legacy has lived on in his children. Jason Coffman’s brother Josh Coffman has served as the head football coach at Lowville for the past nine seasons.
Brown's excited to see Jason Coffman follow in his father's footsteps.
"It was his father than Kirk Ventiquattro took over for a few years and then Sam Millich has a long stint as our head coach, we've had a pretty steady head coach for the last 30 years," Brown said. "It's been a long tenure for those guys who have been in the program and Jason takes over and he's going to make it his own."
The Comets open their season on Saturday, Sept. 7 versus Maine-Endwell in the Carrier Dome in Syracuse. They finished last year with a record of 7-3 and a trip to Carrier Dome for the Section 3 Class A championship. However, in that game they fell to Indian River, 33-21.
Training camp is set to begin state wide on Monday, Aug. 19. Prior to that date though, Coffman said that the weight room at the school has been open for players to keep in shape.