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Blaine Powell named head football coach at Sullivan

Photo by B.J. HARGIS: Blaine Powell, left, poses with the Sullivan High School football coaching staff. Powell was named the new head football coach at SHS on Monday afternoon.

The Sullivan High School football team has a new leader.
After 10 years working in various roles as an assistant, including the past five as offensive coordinator, Blaine Powell was approved as the head coach on Monday afternoon.
“The board gave me approval to make the hire in this situation,” said Southwest School Corp. superintendent Chris Stitzle. “We wanted to name a new coach as soon as possible.
“Blaine was one of four that we interviewed. He was clearly the best candidate for the job.”
Powell, a 1991 graduate of Linton High School, said he never had a second thought about trying to replace his boss Trent Olson, who announced his resignation in May.
“There was never any hesitation about applying for the job. I have been out of football at times, but it always has called me back. It has been a very wild day,” said Powell. “I am very excited about this challenge and see where I can take the program.
“I feel good about where we are at right now. Trent left us at a high point of success.”
The Golden Arrows tied the school record for wins last year (10-2) and won the Western Indiana Conference. They advanced to the sectional championship game for the first time in 27 years.
“I like where we are heading,” said Powell, who along with wife Darcy have three children, daughter Bailey, 22; and sons Trey, 18; and Camden, 12. “This is not a total rebuild.
“We do have to hit the ground running. I am really looking forward to continuing what we have started.”
The Golden Arrows only have two starters returning on offense and four on defense, but Powell said the program has a lot of younger kids ready to step up and contribute.
“We are going to have a different look on offense and defense,” said Powell. “There are going to be some changes.
“On offense, we will look a lot like last year, but with a lot of new faces. We will have Jack Conner or Karter Vernelson at quarterback and Dakota Caton back at wide receiver. We will have a lot of kids that will be asked to and can fill in at skill positions.”
On defense, Powell said they will run an even-man front after using a 3-4 look a year ago.
“We have a lot of good defensive prospects,” he said. “They could make us even better than last year.”
Powell, who works at Black Beauty Coal Mine in Farmersburg, was an assistant for three different coaches at Linton High School through the years.
He coached two years of junior high football at Sullivan starting in 2006. The second year he started working for Olson, who set up the summer calendar.
“I am glad to be named coach,” said Powell. “There were a lot of kids that did not want to work out this summer because they were unsure about who the coach was going to be.
“But now everything is different for me. I used to just go along and do my thing. But now, my thing is everything. I will be the one that people come to with questions that I will have to answer.”
Powell said he doesn’t expect any changes with the coaching staff from 2016, that included Matt McLaren, Skip Walker, David Hunt, Mark Stoltz, Mike Williams, Ron Shake, Scott Gambill and Steve  Drake.
“I don’t foresee a lot of changes with the staff. I don’t think that anybody has jumped ship yet,” said a laughing Powell. “That and knowing the players is going to ease my transition into becoming a head coach.
“We issued equipment last week to 46 kids. Our goal is to have at least 50 kids.”
Powell said it will be different not having Trey, who is a preferred walk-on at Indiana State University, on the sidelines.
“I wished he was still here,” Blaine said his son Trey, who broke almost every passing record in his career at SHS. “But it will be something I have not experienced in the past four years.
“It will be different coaching without him.”
Coach Powell said it is going to be a busy summer, working out four days per week and being involved in 7 on 7 and 11 on 11 tournaments and having team camp in late July for three days at Merom.
“It is going to be a pretty busy summer,” said Powell, who also will be coaching with Olson during the Wabash Valley Football Coaches Association All-Star game later this month. “We are going to have many opportunities to get better and get to know one another better too.”
The Arrows will begin official practice on July 31 with a scrimmage against North Central on Aug. 11.
They will begin the season at home on Aug. 18 against North Knox.

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