by Lauren Redfern
March 21, the underclass students of Bellbrook High School had the pleasure of listening to Coach Jim Place for 40 min. In these 40 min, Place, a high school football coach, told four stories about previous players and the lessons the audience can take from his presentation.
Coach Place has coached football for almost 50 years. Nine schools, 7 head coaching jobs, and multiple wins later, Place is a hall of fame coach. His players say that it’s not his win/loss record that makes playing for him so special. “He truly is a coach that cares about the whole person. Coach wants us to be great men, not just great players,” says Ponitz Junior Reece Reeves. Coach Place started to receive national recognition when he was the head coach at Stebbins High School (’82-’84) . Brent White, a player of Place’s, was awarded the National Defensive Player Award. That was the beginning of his hall of fame career.
Place moved onto the Cincinnati area where he took a Head Coach position at Middletown High School. Coach place recorded 48 victories in a five year time span, along with leading the team to the state playoffs three out of the five years. But, the most impressive stat from people on the outside looking in is the number of football scholarship athletes that went to the next level from Middletown High School. 59 student athletes went to college with some type of scholarship to play football. To be a college football player, talent is not the only requirement. The athlete must have grades that meet the NCAA Eligibility.
Place’s next move was to a place he called “vacation.” He took the head coaching job at Chaminade Julienne. In 2002, the Eagles won the DII State Championship. Place coached the team to the playoffs eight times in fifteen years, including seven straight trips to the postseason. The state of Ohio knew where Chaminade Julienne was and that is all because of one coach. Place had 53 athletes play at the next level with a scholarship in hand, and also in 1995 the senior class had over one million dollars in athletic scholarship money. Place also had a player received the Harold E. Meyer Sportsmanship award presented by OHSAA seven years straight.
Beside Place’s accomplishments on the football field at CJ, Place also started the drug and alcohol free “Winners Club.” The club had over 300 members and was recognized as the best prevention group in Montgomery County. Coach Place decided after his 15 years at Chaminade Julienne it was time to move on. Place was named Cincinnati Hamilton’s head football coach. Place might have not had great football success at Hamilton, but as the director of Character Education for the School, he placed the school as the state’s Best for Character in 2009, and was awarded the honor of being a top 15 character school in the nation.
During Place’s presentation to Bellbrook students, Coach Place stressed the importance of life other than sports. This accomplishment truly shows that sports are not always everything. After only being at Hamilton High School three years, he took a new job at Cincinnati Withrow where he would compile a 22-9 record over a three year period. He also lead the school to three straight conference titles.
After his Cincinnati coaching venture, most thought Place was done. But, he finds himself in the Dayton Public School District at Ponitz High School. Coach Place has an overall record of 245-169-2. 25 playoff games, over 140 Scholarship players and 14 NFL players. He is best known for taking over programs that need rebuilding. Place has been awarded Coach of the Year honors 14 times and was inducted into the Ohio High School Coaches Hall of Fame in 2012. Place when interviewed in by the Dayton Daily News reporter, Tom Archdeacon, and asked what his greatest achievement was he answered with, “Family.” He and his wife Joanie have 3 children and 5 grandchildren.