It had been a rainy day in Grove, but the rain didn't dampen Ron Culwell's spirits.


On Tuesday, Mar. 8, the Grove Public School Board met to discuss many things. Among them was the hiring of a head football coach.


Over thirty applicants had applied for the job. Only one applicant was internal, Culwell.


"At this time we will discuss the motion to employ or not to employ a head high school football coach... On an extra duty contract for the 16-17 school year," said Chairman Clara Mills.


Superintendent Sandy Coaly recommended Coach Ron Culwell. After a brief pause, the motion and second came, followed by five happy 'aye's.


Culwell, thirty-four year coaching veteran, has been coaching at Grove High School for nine years. During the fall he is the assistant coach for the football team and during the spring he is the throwing coach for the track and field team.


"[Culwell's] number one asset, in my opinion, is that he loves the kids and the kids like him. He'll will work hard with them," said Coaly. "He knows his Xs and Os. Everyone needs to get behind him and support him."


Athletic Director Richard Bassett is also pleased with the hire.


"He's a good hire. He's got thirty-four years of experience. He's proven that he can win," said Bassett.


Prior to working in Grove Public Schools, Culwell had coached in both Oklahoma and Kansas.


"He's gone into several schools in his career that have not been very good and has turned programs around to when he left they were successful. I've had the pleasure to work with him for the past eight years or so," said Bassett.


Bassett believes that Culwell has what it takes to get the Ridgerunner football program into a winning pattern.


"He's very motivated, very passionate, very good with the kids and a sharp football coach as far as Xs and Os," said Bassett.


Culwell's expectations for the upcoming football season are high, but realistic.


"I expect us to play as hard as we can. We're going to work hard and put a great product out on the field," said Culwell.


As for plans for the coming season, Culwell has already determined a course of action.


"We've got great plans. We're going to go all summer, we will practice all summer and just try to build some character and try to build a winning team," said Culwell.


The 2016 Ridgerunner football team is in good hands.


"No matter what offense or defense we run, I've got that in mind, but it doesn't really matter at this point. We need to roll up our sleeves and go to work," said Culwell.



This story has been updated with quotes from Athletic Director Sandy Coaly and Athletic Director Richard Bassett.