Echo Asks: Coach Mitch Hewitt


Gianna Zarcone

Hilltoppers Coach Mitch Hewitt

Gianna Zarcone, Staff Writer

The Chardon High School football team is starting off this season with 6 wins. Can we keep this up? In 1994, the Hilltoppers became the first Geauga football team to win a state championship. Last year, the toppers clinched another. Head coach Mitch Hewitt shared his thoughts on this season. 


Q: How do you think this season is going so far?


A: Great start to the season, we’ve had some good wins like Ursuline. I think things can change quickly though with Covid.


Q: Do you think the team is living up to its expectations?


A: Yes, I think they even exceeded some of my expectations. The bar is set very high around here.  Given the fact that some of them are first starters, and haven’t played a lot of Friday night football, I think they played very well.


Q: What aspects of football excite you the most?


A: Well, I love to compete, I hate losing more than I love winning. I love to see kids grow, I’ve done this long enough to see my former players having kids and getting married. There’s also a life-building aspect to coaching.


Q: What do you think makes a good football player?


A: There’s a physical element, [and just] like some things can’t be taught, some gifts are God-given. It’s hard, it’s a work ethic. I think there’s a mental toughness. Sometimes you can have all that but the other team’s just more talented than you


Q: Which team do you think is our biggest competitor right now?


A: Well, I’m terrified of Mayfield (The Hilltoppers beat Mayfield (41-7). Every week is a new challenge, you know every week brings with it new problems. You don’t know what your line-up is going to be from Monday to Tuesday to Wednesday to Thursday to Friday. Injuries can occur tonight, sicknesses can occur this morning.


Q: How long have you been coaching?


A:  Head coach here for 11 years, prior to that, [this is my] 17th year coaching. 


Q: What does a typical day look like for a coach during the season?


A: Long. The easiest way to describe it is that like I work 40 hour work-weeks as a teacher, I have a 30 hour work-week as a coach. I have 4 kids that I have to be responsible for raising. I personally have businesses that I run and invest in. I have a marriage that I like. My days are long; it’s about balancing schedules. I always say this that your days are not about you until you hit the couch. You have 130 students a day, then you get 75 players just that you’re responsible for. It can be overwhelming when you think of it that way, and everyone wants you to win all the time.

Q: What inspired you to get into coaching?

A: I was blessed to be around some great coaches, [and] they inspired me to be like them. My high school football coach, I was just texting yesterday. I was fortunate enough to go to college and be around some great coaches. They were my role models in something I found value in. You’re not gonna get rich in coaching, but there’s an internal value in coaching and raising the kids. Being invited to weddings, then [they’re] texting you a picture of their newborn baby. It doesn’t add money to my bank account but there’s an internal joy I get when I see that stuff


Q: How would you describe your coaching style 


A: Intense. Over the top at times. Demanding, that made me look really mean but it’s because I care. It’s an overwhelming pride, [in] my school, our school, our district and our community. It’s one of the unique things that brings people together, it doesn’t matter, race, religion, income, who you voted for, sports is a unifier.


Q: What do you think is making this season different from some of the other seasons we’ve had?


A: Personality is constantly changing. You’re dealing with adolescents, you know what I mean? Every day something new presents itself. Kids are more distracted now. I don’t know the generations before this were dumber but at least we didn’t film our dumbness as much as your generation does. Society has become lazier


Q: If you were able to add one change to the football jerseys we have, what would you change?


A: I always let the kids decide what they wear, like on Thursdays we vote. I don’t know, I would probably put some sort of logo on it, like a pickaxe. I love the Chardon logo, so I would love to see that.