The “itch to coach” started for John Allen Stewart when he was playing football at Firestone High School.
Assistant coaching positions with Buchtel and Chippewa followed during his adult years, and now he is continuing to scratch that itch as head football coach at North.
Stewart, who is 39, graduated from Firestone in 1994. He played running back and defensive back for the Falcons after attending Buchtel for two years.
He has always loved football and is appreciative for the chance to coach the Vikings.
“I think this is an awesome opportunity,” Stewart said. “I have an opportunity with my coaches to change these boys lives. We can give them that sense of accomplishment.
“North has not won seven games in one season since 1983. I can guarantee that will change this year. There is not one football banner in the gym, not one. That is going to change. That makes us work that much harder and study film that much longer. We are building a family atmosphere, a brotherhood. We plan on winning games.”
Stewart, who turns 40 on Dec. 24, works security in the Akron Public Schools, among other jobs.
“Our principal Rachel Tecca and I were looking for a coach who is good with kids and is a disciplinarian,” North Athletic Director Carrie Stewart said. “We are looking for him to continue what Mike Laktash was doing with kids. Discipline is important and we think coach Stewart is a good addition to our football staff.
“Coach Stewart is a business owner in North Hill [with a barber shop and real estate properties]. He is invested in the community, and he is not using this as a stepping stone type of job. He has established study tables that are voluntary, and the kids are showing up and the study tables are full.”
Stewart did not coach the past three seasons. He previously was an assistant for three years at Buchtel and one year at Chippewa. His experience includes being the assistant Offensive Coordinator at Buchtel and assistant Defensive Coordinator at Chippewa. He also was the quarterbacks and wide receivers coach at Buchtel under coach Ricky Powers.
“We are pretty excited to see what coach Stewart can do with the program,” Carrie Stewart said. “I am very confident in him running our football program.”
John Allen Stewart’s brother, Quentin Stewart, a 1996 Central-Hower graduate, will serve as North’s defensive coordinator.
“John is a young, energetic coach,” said Joe Howard, the Akron Public Schools program manager of Interscholastic Athletics. “He has ties to North High School. He worked there as a security guard, and knows the kids. He is excited to make an impact with the kids and the parents.”