The Chester board of education recently approved the hiring of Billy Belton as its next varsity head football coach.
Belton, a longtime assistant, takes over for Jeremy Blechle, who was the head coach for two seasons. Blechle stepped down from the position.
“There is a great tradtition in Chester,” Belton said. “From coach (Dennis) Roth winning the first playoff game, and coach (Bryan) Lee going 9-0 and then going to the Elite Eight to coach (Jeremy) Blechle making the playoffs his first year. We have great kids. I’m looking forward to the opportunity and the challenge.”
The Yellow Jackets finished 4-5 this past season and missed out on the playoffs. But there are high expectations in Chester these days.
“There is definitely a lot of hometown pride, and I love this opportunity,” Belton said. “We went 4-5 last year, but we were so close. We easily could have had two more wins and been 6-3. But we have a solid foundation, and that’s from the good coaches we’ve had. We’re not going to change very much. We’re still going live in the weight room and be one of the teams that hits the hardest regardless of the score of the game.”
Turnover in a coaching staff is never easy to deal with, but Belton believe this should be a fairly smooth transition.
“We’re losing Jeremy, and he and I ran the defense for the last eight years,” Belton said. “The last two years I was the co-offensive coordinator. So we worked together for 10 years. Losing him as a coach is a big loss. We’re going to keep the majority of our coaching staff, and that is very helpful.”
Belton is excited about being in charge of the entire program.
“I coached three years of college football and played four years at Blackburn,” Belton said. “I’ve been around and seen what good and great head coaches do. I really want the opportunity to help these kids get better. I feel like with my knowledge and my experience I can help them and continue the tradition here.”
Belton went to the playoffs as a player under Roth, and getting the chance to be this program’s head coach is a big deal to him.
“I’m very proud and honored to have this job because it’s a dream job for me,” Belton said. “I love the town of Chester. I want to help our kids become good football players, but mostly great people.”