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Place, whose contract was approved at Monday's school

By Don DregerRecord-Courier assistant sports edit Published: June 27, 2000 12:00 AM

Place, whose contract was approved at Monday's school board meeting, replaces Cyle Feldman, who took Ravenna to its first playoff appearance a year ago and is now an assistant coach at Warren Harding.

Ravenna, coming off a 9-2 season, has a fine nucleus of players returning. Senior quarterback Damien Fortson had a fine season and should be one of the premier players in the Western Reserve Conference this fall. So the cupboard isn't bare for the Ravens new coach.

"Ohio has great opportunities for success and Ravenna is one of them," said Place, who was picked from a list of over 30 candidates. "The facilities are top-notch and very impressive. Many colleges don't have this kind of stadium."

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Place comes to Ravenna from Western Carolina University (Division I-AA in N.C.) where he was an assistant coach in charge of linebackers and an academic liaison. He also coached at Eureka College (Ill.) and Hartwick College (N.Y.). After graduating from Washington and Lee University (Va.), Place went on to receive his masters in counseling at State University of New York. His first head coaching job was at Greene High School in Greene, N.Y., where he complied a 21-12 record and had two teams highly ranked in the state.

As a player, he was the defensive MVP at Washington and Lee his senior season (1989).

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Place plans to move here as soon as possible with his wife Jennifer, who has a Ph.D in psychology and is a counselor at Western Carolina.

"I've been told there have been some very gifted athletes in Ravenna," said Place. "The assistant coaches I've met seem very competent. I can't wait to get settled and get involved in summer conditioning."

Place is a very serious young man who is concerned about the individual first and the athlete second.

"Coach Feldman set a high standard," said Place. "We want to maintain and perhaps go to the next level.

"My expectations of student-athletes is that they demand the best of themselves in all they do, not only in football but in the classroom. We want decent human beings. It will be stressed every day.

"My advice is to get after it, get it done and have no regrets. We all look back on our high school days and we want pleasant memories. We can't go back.

"Coaches are teachers and it is our responsibility to not only teach football, but how to be successful as students. I'm not a screamer but there is a time and place to motivate someone with a loud voice. I want a complete understanding by all the kids.

"Life is about decisions. As a coach we want kids to make positive decisions and ultimately the more good decisions that are made the better chances for success. It is more important off the field. I can control the habitat on the field, but off the field kids need to do the right things. They represent their school and families. It is so important to be a good citizen. I want them to remember themselves with pride."

As far as football is concerned, Place is holding back on the systems he will implement.

"We (coaches) will evaluate the personnel and make our decisions as a group," said Place. "I have learned a lot in the last few years and can't wait to apply that knowledge. I know we will do well."

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