BETHEL — At 7 a.m. on Dec. 1, Bill Jenike gathered his Bethel-Tate High School football team together before school. Some thought it may have been a disciplinary meeting or an update on off-season conditioning.
Instead, the Tigers coach for the last four years informed them he was resigning his position. Bethel-Tate just finished 6-4 for their first winning season in 15 years and made the Ohio state playoffs for the first time ever.
The issue at hand revolves around a reassignment this school year with Jenike’s day job in the Mariemont School district. He was moved from the high school to Terrace Park Elementary which meant a change in school hours.
As a result, his work day ended after 4, while the Bethel-Tate varsity players were done shortly after 2 p.m. Because of that, practices were held later in the day as opposed to right after school.
“I felt I had to resign because of the time gap,” Jenike said. “My other job just doesn’t allow me to be fair to the program to lead it in the direction I would like to.”
Jenike was 14-26 in his four seasons, but 11-9 over the last two years. He had worked around not being in the building, but this past season the time crunch became too much.
“Where the program is now, to be fair to the kids, I think they need to get the right person in there to go forward and build on it,” Jenike said.
The administration had expressed interest in Jenike staying around, but the job will now go open. When he first interviewed, he was one of three to express to interest. With their recent resurgence, he hopes for an increased number of applicants.
“That job’s in a lot better condition now,” Jenike said. “But, it’s really hard to coach when you’re not in the building. I made up for it by living in the community and going to the kids’ games. I watch (Jeffrey) Botts wrestle and I go to basketball practices because (Coach Tom) Jutze’s a friend of mine. I’m not leaving the community.”
Jenike also stopped assisting Dave Fallis with the Lady Tigers’ basketball team that has featured daughters Tess, Brooke and Julia in recent years. They also were involved in the Cincinnati Angels AAU program which took up a lot of travel time. Youngest daughter, Melissa is on that same basketball path and he plans to see as many of her games as possible.
In addition to the playoff run, Jenike was instrumental in the redesigned weight room at Bethel-Tate to bulk up the Tigers each fall.
“It’s a nice job,” Jenike said. “It should be appealing to more than applied a few years ago.”
Having said all of that, the veteran coach still gets a special feeling around football season and won’t rule out a return to the gridiron in some capacity.
“I don’t know if I can get away from it,” Jenike said. “I’m so used to just going and grinding and chopping the axe. You get that in your blood and you want to be around kids and make a difference. I don’t know. I’m not saying I’m applying anywhere. I just always put the kids at Bethel first.”