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By Colin Harris | Staff Writer
The Garfield Board of Education approved the hiring of Mike Moser as the program's new head football coach on Thursday night.
Moser replaces Steve Wyllie, who served as the team's coach for eight seasons, compiling a 54-29 career record. Wyllie led the G-Men to a pair of state playoff bids (2005, 2010) and Portage Trail Conference County Division championships in 2005 and 2006, with the latter being shared with Mogadore.
Wyllie will remain an English teacher at Garfield High School, but said that he welcomes a chance to step away from the game.
"I'm not going anywhere else to coach, I'm going to take time away to be a dad, a husband and a teacher," Wyllie said. "After the season ended, I took a month off to really think about things.
"I really didn't think that could put in the time I needed to put in to be successful anymore," Wyllie added. "If I'm questioning whether I want to (coach) anymore, then maybe I didn't want to do it."
A 1990 graduate of Southeast High School and a 1996 Kent State University graduate, Moser has served as an assistant at Garfield for the past 12 seasons, including the last 11 as the defensive coordinator of the G-Men.
Moser said that he is excited to continue building on what he described as a "strong foundation" set by previous head coaches Matt Jordan and Wyllie.
"Steve decided to step away this year, and I thought at that point this was my opportunity and it was time to do it," Moser said. "Hopefully, I can continue to build on what Matt had going and Steve did a nice job continuing."
Wyllie praised his former defensive coordinator, as Moser is now the third former Wyllie assistant to take over a program, joining Nathan Peters (Waterloo) and Jon Culp (Newton Falls).
"I know that Garfield interviewed a few candidates, but it doesn't surprise me that Mike rose to the top," Wyllie said. "He was the best defensive coordinator in the league, hands down, for years and he really has that drive to be successful.
"I'm excited for him and the Garfield community that he never had to leave for a head coaching job," Wyllie added.
An eighth grade social studies teacher in the Garfield School District, Moser said he does not plan much in the way of turnover in the staff as a number of assistants, including line coach Jim Pfleger, linebackers coach Chris Taylor and running backs coach Mike Paes are all expected to return.
"There will be some changes (from Wyllie's system), but we're hoping that a lot of the guys who have been here will be coming back," Moser said. "We've all been here a long time, and we have a certain way of doing things."
That "way of doing things" is something that Moser said he is proud to continue at Garfield.
"We're definitely proud of our tradition here at Garfield, and we have had working, devoted kids," Moser said. "That's what we're going to build on. We're going to go back to work and try to outwork everybody."