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John Nemec retires at Kent Roosevelt, accepts spot on University of Akron football staff

By Michael Beaven Published: May 5, 2014

Coach John Nemec announced he is retiring as the Kent Roosevelt football coach Monday morning to his players.

Nemec, who has been at Roosevelt for 38 years, has been the school’s head football coach for 29 years. He was also an assistant football coach for six years under Ed Becker and athletic director for three years at Roosevelt.

“I love Roosevelt as a school and I love our community, and I leave with a heavy heart,” Nemec said. “I have been fortunate being a head coach for 33 years. I love going to work. My vocation has been my hobby and not many people can say that.

“At the same time, I also know that my career was winding down. It was time. My wife [Mary] and I have talked a lot about retiring. An opportunity came up with coach [Terry] Bowden at the University of Akron and that forced my decision.”

Nemec, 68, will be the Director of Player of Personnel on Bowden’s staff.

“I have been worried about getting out of education and not having something to go to,” Nemec said. “The opportunity at Akron gives me something to look forward to doing.

“We haven’t finalized the situation, the roles yet. I do know I will be working with a lot of the football players and doing some high school relations work. I am very excited. I have met with the staff down there. I think they are a great group and they are moving in the right direction. This will be a nice opportunity.”

Nemec posted an overall record of 231 wins, 113 losses and three ties in 33 seasons as a head coach. He coached Wapakoneta for four seasons and went 29-10-1. He coached Roosevelt for 29 seasons and compiled a record of 202-103-2.

The Rough Riders went 9-2 this past season and won the Portage Trail Conference Metro Division championship and played in the Division II playoffs.

Nemec guided Roosevelt to eight Metropolitan titles, one Western Reserve Conference title and four PTC Metro titles. His teams in 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 played in the Division II playoffs. The 2011 team defeated Warren Howland in the first round at the University of Akron and then lost to Walsh Jesuit in the next round. The 2012 team beat Ellet in the first round at Kent State University and then lost to Aurora in the next round.

Nemec served as the Roosevelt football coach for 23 seasons during his first stint. He was an assistant to Becker for six seasons and then was coach the past six seasons.

Nemec retired from teaching social studies 12 years ago following a 33-year run.

“Coach Nemec will be missed by the Roosevelt football program for his knowledge of the game, his preparation and his tenacity on the sidelines on Friday night,” Kent Roosevelt Athletic Director Mark Pfaff said. “However, John will be missed even more as a person in the hallways of RHS and for what he does off of the field for the kids of the community Kent. John Nemec is truly a class individual.”

Nemec graduated from Gateway High School in Munroeville, Pa. in 1964 and the University of Toledo in 1969. He played quarterback and defensive back at both schools. He spent three years in the U.S. Army, serving as an assistant football coach at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 1969, 1970 and 1971.

Nemec helped three teams to 10-0 records, two as a head coach (Wapakoneta in 1975, Roosevelt in 1990) and one as an assistant (Roosevelt in 2006). He also coached six 9-1 teams and six 8-2 teams at Roosevelt. Becker led the 2006 team, which lost to Chardon in the first round of the Division II playoffs.

“I met with the team earlier today and it was emotional,” Nemec said. “I have been fortunate to coach a lot of great kids. Those kids won a lot of games for me, however what I am most thankful is the relationship I have with my former players.”

Pfaff said the search for a new head football coach will begin immediately. All interested candidates are asked to send a letter of interest and a resume to Pfaff electronically at ke_mpfaff@kentschools.net no later than Sunday, May 11, 2014.

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