RITTMAN — An opportunity to return home was simply too much Trent Shaffer to turn down.
A 1994 graduate of West Holmes High School and a member of the first two football teams to make the state playoffs in 1992 and 1993, it was time to go home. Shaffer stepped down as Rittman’s head football coach earlier this week after four years in charge of the program.
His next step looks to be heading back to Millersburg to be an assistant at his alma mater.
“I was moving forward and plugging along,” said Shaffer. “But this was an opportunity to do something that was the right move for me and my family and it was the time to do it.”
Taking the reigns of the Rittman program in 2018, Shaffer’s teams went 10-27, including a 2-7 mark in 2021.
“I really enjoyed the opportunity that I’ve had to lead the football program,” said Shaffer. “The time I spent there was fantastic and I will miss the kids a ton.”
Rittman athletic director Joe Staley had nothing but praise for Shaffer.
“Trent was a very hard worker, put in a lot of time and he definitely left his mark here,” said Staley. “Our record might not have reflected it, but we had some very good defenses and he was in charge of our defense.”
Even bigger than the gridiron was Shaffer’s dream of turning the Rittman athletic program into something bigger. It started with the weight room, where he worked hard to put it together and create workout plans for athletes of all sports that improved them in their sport.
“I started working with every athletic program in the school,” said Shaffer. “Many of the athletes in different sports were trained by me in the weight room. It became really special and I enjoyed that aspect of it.”
Staley saw the number of Indians athletes that had weight trained with Shaffer from various sports. Many of whom saw positive improvements in their sport and continued to work out consistently and with dedication.
“Our weight room went under a huge transformation under Trent and he did a fantastic job with it,” he said. “I appreciate all he has done here and we will miss having him here as a football coach, but also for the person he is.”
Ultimately, the allure of home and a vision that he didn’t see coming to fruition led Shaffer to make the tough call.
“I had visions for all Rittman athletics and how we could change the athletic program around,” he said. “I just didn’t feel as though as my vision was the same as theirs, or the resources needed to do that, weren’t there.
“I felt like I was one man trying to move a mountain and I kind of wore myself out.”
With some time to step back and reflect on this past season and his past four years, Shaffer simply knew it was time and chance was too good to pass up. So on Monday afternoon, he submitted his letter of resignation.
Now he is headed home, to a place where he played under the guidance of the legendary Bob Maltarich. From a journey that has taken him from coaching at both the college and high school levels, Shaffer is extremely excited to join the coaching staff of Knights coach Zach Gardner this fall, where he will again proudly don the red, white and blue colors of his alma mater.
“The opportunity came, conversations started and that’s how I ended up there,” said Shaffer. “I am excited about joining Zach’s staff next fall and for this opportunity to coach where it all started for me.
“I wish Rittman all the best as they have a talented group of kids coming through, who are known for working hard. They latch on to people they trust and it’s a good opportunity as all the right pieces are put together overall.”
This article originally appeared on The Daily Record: Football: Shaffer steps down as Rittman’s head coach